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Day: April 21, 2014

Prep work for any Big Toy site

File photo
File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Regardless of where The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park ends up going, the site will need work done before the community build.

The play structure is set to be built Sept. 17 to 21, but prep work will need to be done prior to that.

The question which has come up, including at the most recent Community Build Task Force meeting, is just when that prep work would need to be started.

For months, Site 1 – or Area B, or the tree site – between the amphitheater and the boat ramp has been identified as the location. Since late January, however, a site in the orchards along Chemawa Road and Walsh Way has been championed by Mayor Lore Christopher.

In order for the site along Chemawa to be used, trees would have to be taken down. Then again, Site 1 would have to be leveled in order to be used.

“There has been a lot of discussion about resiting the play structure,” Carol Doerfler said at this month’s CBTF meeting. “My question is, what is your drop dead date for having to be on it?”

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the project, had a quick answer for when prep work would have to be started.

“July 1,” Caillier said. “If we’re moving trees, we have to be on it by July 1.”

Caillier touched on the topic again later in the meeting.

“I’m not all that concerned where the toy is going to be,” he said. “I’m more concerned about can we get there by July 1? We’re going to have to bring dirt in wherever we are. Area B will have to have fill as well.”

While a motion made by the Keizer Planning Commission last week (see related story, page 1) would seem to greatly impact the use of an orchard site, Caillier pointed to work that has to be done anywhere, with assistance from a crew assembled by Clint Holland.

“In talking with Clint and others, we came up with having to be on (Site 1) no later than August 1,” Caillier said. “That is the last day to get there. It would be nice to get on the site earlier. At either site you would have to have fill to make it grade, especially up above (by Chemawa). With the other site, as you go further south there is a slope. On the north end, there is a dike there. You can’t make it any steeper. We will need fill on the south end. We would take it down to an appropriate grade. We can do that in 30 days, based on Clint’s crew.”

Caillier said the orchard site would take an additional month of time to get ready.

“Using the orchard site requires the removal of trees, more soil to be brought in and compaction, more than the big tree site,” he said. “With that one, you still need to bring in dirt.”

At the orchard site, Caillier noted it’s more than just clearing enough space for the structure.

“You don’t just take trees out for the shape of the toy,” he said. “You also have to go 20 feet out around the edge. No matter what ground cover we choose, we don’t want a bunch of leaves falling into it.”

Taking out the trees could be done with either bulldozers or a machine with a hydraulic thumb, which Caillier said would be like a larger version of pulling a weed out of a garden.

“Using the machine is the least intrusive,” Caillier said. “With any tree removal, you try to get as much biomass out of the ground as possible.”

In essence, Caillier believes Holland and Co. will be ready once given the green light to move forward.

“We are prepared for either contingency,” Caillier said. “We have, in some detail, talked about either site and how we’d do it. We can get going on it either way, but I’d rather do it leisurely.”

“Stone Cold” by C.J. Box

Stone-Cold

“Stone Cold” by C.J. Box

c.2014, Putnam
$26.95 / $31.00 Canada
371 pages

BOOK REVIEW
by TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER

Sometimes, you just can’t fit in.

You stick out like a sore thumb, totally unable to melt into the crowd. You feel like you have a neon sign across your shoulders; one that says “I’M NEW!”

Yeah, you’re self-conscious then but, if you’re Game Warden Joe Pickett, you get used to it. And yet, as in the new book “Stone Cold” by C.J. Box, standing out could get a man killed.

Anyone who’d seen Nate Romanowski on that nearly-moonless night would’ve instantly known he was a pro.

Romanowski had studied the Scoggins compound, he knew how to get inside, and he knew Henry Scoggins was a jerk, that nobody would really miss him. Nate knew where all the security weaknesses and surveillance cameras were – except one. So when Joe Pickett was shown trail-cam video weeks later and he spotted his friend Nate dragging something, he knew that trouble was mountain-high.

For some time, the Feds had been nosing around northeastern Wyoming, where folks kept mostly to themselves. In that atmosphere of solitude lived a certain Wolfgang Templeton, a man who owned half the county and most of the people in it, and whose name repeatedly rose during investigations of high-profile disappearances, including that of Scoggins. Was it just coincidence?

With a ruse of “helping” Medicine Wheel County Game Warden Jim Latta with a project, Pickett headed for the corner of the state, noting the beautiful land and the poverty of its people. Pickett had promised his wife that he’d avoid danger, but keeping safe wouldn’t be easy when there were so many questions.

Why, for instance, did Latta seem afraid of the county’s judge? Why did he look the other way while a couple of Templeton employees poached wild game at will?  Who was the cold-eyed dandy on Templeton’s ranch? And why did everybody seem to know where Pickett was going, even before he got there?

Perhaps most vexing of all was the question of Pickett’s friend Nate, and Nate’s covert activities. It pained Pickett to imagine how Nate was involved – although not as much as it would hurt if he kept snooping…

Reading parts of “Stone Cold” is somewhat like going on a scenic vacation that takes a bad turn – in a good way.

Author C.J. Box lets his main character, Joe Pickett, savor the land, and it’s gorgeous. We’re treated to descriptive images of colorful mountains and harsh beauty, where even scrub takes on a relaxing aura and invites us to linger just a bit. It’s easy, therefore, to be lulled into forgetting exactly what you’ve got in your hands.

But then Box brings us abruptly back to his novel, in which few can be trusted and everything seems off. We’re soothed, then we’re hit with an uppercut of thriller that makes us reel – and makes us want more.

This novel is part of a series but can definitely be read by itself, so if you’re in need of a hot mystery, get this. You won’t be sorry because, for you, “Stone Cold” fits.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Another possible new site for Big Toy

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The number of possible sites for The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park has grown again.

The latest was presented by Keizer City Councilor Jim Taylor to a small group last Wednesday, April 9.

It was mentioned last week at the council meeting there were six possible sites for the community build play structure, which will be built Sept. 17 to 21. The Site 1 location north of the boat ramp and southeast of the amphitheater – also referred to as Area B, or the tree site – has been the top choice most of the time, but in January Mayor Lore Christopher championed the idea of a site in the orchards along Chemawa Road, at the front of the park along Walsh Way.

The site Taylor proposed last week would still be in the orchards, but more into the park. Taylor showed the new site to Christopher, Clint Holland, Brandon Smith, Richard Walsh and David Louden.

“We were just looking around, trying to find something everyone likes,” Taylor said. “I don’t think we ever will. This is right across from the Charge house. Parking is across from the dog park. There will be a new parking lot, but not a new road. It’s in a corner. It’s not going to mess up the rest of the orchard. It would be right in the middle of the park, so it can be accessed from everywhere.

“It’s bigger, so you can make (the toy) as big as you want,” he added. “You’re not constricted by size, plus you can put parking in there. It’s closer to everything in there now. It’s real pretty. You’re going to be able to see it pretty good. You’re going to come into the park and will see it right off.”

Taylor emphasized he came up with the idea for the site.

“I was just trying to come up with an alternative,” he said. “If we have just the tree spot, then we’re not giving people an option. Now at least you have a choice. I just felt there weren’t many people liking the Chemawa Road site. I walked around and looked and decided this is a next best option. We just want to give people options. If it was up to me, I would put it there.”

Taylor anticipates having a community forum to discuss locations.

“What we want to do, we will have a big community forum and everyone will decide what they like,” Taylor said. “I don’t know when that will be, probably late May. We won’t put it where people don’t want it. I think we’ll know in this big community meeting. We’ll know what the majority wants and that’s where it will go.”

Fellow councilor Marlene Quinn, chair of the Community Build Task Force, agreed there will likely be a May community forum, but didn’t have an exact date yet.

“There’s no timeline yet, but stay tuned for that,” Quinn said. “I’ll have a timeline for you shortly, I promise. I don’t want it to look like we’re doing this and we told Jim to do this, because that’s not the case. This is a community project. The community needs to weigh in on every aspect of this project. The location, master plan, everything.”

Quinn emphasized Taylor came up with the idea for the site himself.

“It’s not the task force’s suggestion,” Quinn said. “It has not been approved by anybody. Have some people looked at it? Yes. Have I? No, because I think right now the process needs to be vetted in the community via the master plan.”

Holland said the site is being looked at as a compromise.

“I’m not in favor of a compromise,” Holland said. “I’m in favor of putting the toy in the best place. A lot of people are.”

Holland noted pros and cons as compared to the site along Chemawa Road.

“You lose the visibility, but you still have problems with pollens,” Holland said. “It’s more in the middle of the orchards, so there’s maybe even more dust. It’s more into that park, so water is a little closer. You may be able to bring in electricity up from the amphitheater.

“My philosophy is forget the politics,” he added. “Where is the best place to build the toy? In my mind, it is still in Area B. I truly believe that. My mind is still open and I will look at this other site. But at this moment I haven’t changed my mind.”

Walsh noted there is plenty of land around the orchards to consider for placement of the Big Toy.

“The entire 28 acres is being looked at for the new toy,” Walsh said. “We are considering what possibilities might be practical in those 28 acres.”

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the project, worries ongoing battle over sites is creating problems.

“At some point we have to fish or cut bait,” Caillier said. “We’re getting there sooner rather than later. Having a site and then not having a site, like we have here, detracts from the momentum of the project. As coordinator, that is what concerns me. I think that is a distraction in this project. A good plan executed with high levels of energy and determination is better than a perfect plan that is not timely.”