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Day: June 27, 2014

No more Honey at MHS

John Honey
John Honey (File photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

With 30 years experience as a teacher and administrator, there’s not a whole lot that keeps John Honey up at night when it comes to the day-to-day operations of a high school.

That’s changed in recent weeks knowing he’s to become the planning principal for Salem-Keizer’s new Career Technical Education School.

“It’s rejuvenating a bit. I love and enjoy the community and students at McNary, but there’s not a whole lot that’s surprising. I don’t lie awake and wonder what will happen tomorrow here, but with this new opportunity, I’m already lying awake at night coming up with questions we haven’t asked yet,” Honey said.

The CTE school will be tasked to work with local industry representatives to graduate students prepared for high-demand, high-wage jobs.

Honey was reassigned from North Salem High School to McNary in 2010 and will continue as McNary’s principal through the first semester of the 2014-15 school year when his replacement will take the reins. He’ll continue working from an office at McNary on the CTE planning at least through the end of the school year.

“Our assistant principal Sue Smith retired this year, so the plan is to replace her with an associate principal who will move into my office when I transition out. Then, the district will hire a new assistant principal,” Honey said.

The plan is to make the new hire for an associate principal as soon as possible.

Honey will remain a leader in the effort to install a new turf field at MHS, but the change pushes up the window.

“We were planning on trying to have everything ready to go in April, but I’m hoping we can move that up to February. I think it’s within reason to have all of our funding and large in-kind donations squared away. That will mean it’s just a matter of small issues after that,” he said.

One of the biggest additions to McNary in Honey’s time with the Celtics was an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training program that will enter its third year this fall.

“Last year, we started working toward JROTC students earning dual credit in that program and I hope that continues,” Honey said.

If all goes according to plan, it means students enrolled in JROTC electives might be able to earn a small amount of additional credit in other subjects like science, social studies or physical education while part of the JROTC program.

Honey also hopes to see students, faculty and staff doing their part to return the favors done by members of the community at large.

“When I got here, I felt like McNary did a great job of accepting help from the community, but I’d like see McNary reach out to the community more, and not just with an open hand,” he said.

He cited numerous ways in which students have volunteered in community efforts from eradicating weeds in local parks to assisting during the Iris Festival.

“The one thing I hope people don’t think is that I’m walking away from McNary due to frustration. The one thing I haven’t done in my career is open a new school. Getting the opportunity to try something new at the end of a career is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Honey said.

Volcanoes in third after see-saw week

Volcano Andrew Leenhouts fires off a pitch in the early going of a game with Everett Monday, June 23. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Volcano Andrew Leenhouts fires off a pitch in the early going of a game with Everett Monday, June 23. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

June 18: Volcanoes 8, Hillsboro 6

Salem-Keizer overcame a 5-2 Hillsboro lead to spoil the Hops’ home opener and even its record at 3-3.

Trailing by three runs after four innings, the Volcanoes scored three runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.

After a rough pitching start by Drew Leenhouts, Cameron McVey struck out seven in 3-2/3 innings, and Eury Sanchez pitched two innings to get his second win. Ian Gardeck had his first save. John Pedrotty was the losing pitcher in relief.

The Volcanoes got their fifth-inning runs on two singles, a double, a stolen base and an error.

Travious Relaford and Geno Escalante drove in two hits each for the Volcanoes, and Leo Rojas and Shilo McCall had two hits apiece.

June 19: Hillsboro 4, Volcanoes 3

This was close all the way, with Hillsboro starter Ryan Doran striking out seven in his 5-2/3 innings and getting the win.

Salem-Keizer never led except for scoring the first run of the game before the Hops batted. Tyler Hollick doubled and scored on a single by Relaford.

Volcanoes starter Jose Reyes was the losing pitcher, with Kirk Singer and Armando Paniagua pitching scoreless innings in relief.

June 20: Hillsboro 2, Volcanoes 1

The Hops’ Elvin Soto singled Justin Gonzalez home in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Hillsboro the rubber game of the series.

Salem-Keizer’s only run came on a fourth-inning home run by Johneshwy Fargas, the first of his professional career and one of his three hits. No Hillsboro player had that many, but Hillsboro outhit the Volcanoes 9-8.

Jake McCasland was the losing pitcher in relief, and Dustin Loggins was the winner, also in relief.

June 21: Volcanoes 3, Everett 2

Craig Massoni delivered his third walk-off hit of the season, a bases-loaded single that scored Johneshwy Fargas to break a 2-2 tie.

The AquaSox led 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Fernando Pujadas singled with the bases loaded to drive in Ryan Jones. Everett kept the 2-1 lead until the Volcano ninth.

Jones led off the Salem-Keizer ninth by reaching first base on an error. Pujadas tripled to score him for the second time. An error put Fargas on first, Geno Escalante was hit by a pitch, and Christian Arroyo reached first on a force out at third. Massoni’s single followed.

Four Volcano pitchers totaled 15 strikeouts, with Ian Gardeck the winner in relief. Everett reliever Kody Kerski took the loss.

June 22: Everett 6, 

Volcanoes 2

A seventh-inning two-out error by Craig Massoni led to three of the AquaSox’s runs.

The game was scoreless until the sixth inning, when Salem-Keizer scored the first run. A double by Fernando Pujadas drove in Ryan Jones, who had singled.

Volcanoes starter Jason Forjet pitched five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. In fact, Volcano pitchers totaled 10 strikeouts to Everett’s five. Each club had 10 hits and two errors.

All six AquaSox runs came in the seventh. Everett had two walks, a stolen base and two extra-base hits, including a two-run homer by Wilton Martinez. In the ninth, the Volcanoes put up their usual fight. Johneshwy Fargas walked, moved up on a wild pitch and then a walk, and scored on a balk.

Ricardo Pereira was the winning pitcher in relief.  Kirk Singer was the loser, also in relief.

June 23: Volcanoes 7, 

Everett 1

Will Callaway and Drew Leenhouts led the Volcanoes to their biggest win of the season so far.

Leenhouts, the starting and winning pitcher, allowed no runs and struck out six in his six innings.  Callaway went 4 for 4, driving in three runs and scoring two.

The big Salem-Keizer inning was the four-run fifth. Relaford, Ryan Jones and Craig Massoni loaded the bases with singles. Callaway doubled, driving home Relaford and Jones. A sacrifice fly by Leonardo Fuentes scored Massoni. Fernando Pujadas singled Callaway home.

Everett starter Jeffeson Medina was the losing pitcher.

Last lap for Keizer pool

The pool at Palma Ciea Swim Club has seen better days. The pool, which turned 50 years old this year, is currently closed and for sale. (Submitted)
The pool at Palma Ciea Swim Club has seen better days. The pool, which turned 50 years old this year, is currently closed and for sale. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Like the Ford Mustang, the Palma Ciea Swim Club in Keizer has turned 50 years old this year.

But whereas the Mustang is having an extended anniversary celebration, that’s not the case with the Keizer pool.

The Palma Ciea Swim Club is closed and is currently for sale.

Beth Thorndike, president of the pool at 900 Chemawa Road North, took over the pool three years ago but put it on the market last month.

“The pool does not support itself financially,” Thorndike said. “There are not enough members and we didn’t get enough the last two years. It was being run poorly when I stepped in. They were losing money. The finances of the pool aren’t good and we weren’t able to generate the business.”

Thorndike said anyone could take swimming lessons at the pool, with members getting discounts.

“It was significantly less expensive than the Courthouse (Athletic Club in Salem),” she said. “Our instructors were every bit as good. Swim lessons paid for themselves. We made money on swim lessons last year. We also had a swim team, which has always paid for itself.”

The problem, according to Thorndike, was not enough financial support outside of those two entities.

“There was a core of about 20 to 25 people who stayed with the pool,” she said. “The year I came on (2011), the finances had been so poorly run that they had members abandon. It can have up to 95 members. It was at that level for years. You have to maintain things and put money back into the pool, like resurfacing the pool.”

Lois Boase’s parents were charter members No. 25 and Boase herself was involved with pool leadership for 30 years, including being a board member from 2003 to 2013.

“I don’t want to overplay this, but it’s like a death,” Boase said of the pool’s closing. “Not the death of a person, but of a way of life. I have really fun memories from there. I learned to swim there. My brother was there most of the time as well. When Palma Ciea Villa started, it was its own little community. Everyone that was at the pool we went to school with. They were our neighbors. It was one big happy family.”

Boase said charter memberships were $250, plus dues of $36 a month during the season. That was big money 50 years ago.

“It was a big economic investment,” said Boase, whose time in leadership included being the board secretary for eight years. “The founders were trying to start it up. They walked from house to house. They talked to everyone about the opportunity for this neighborhood pool for their children. By golly, they pulled it off. I still have those slips of paper they showed us.”

Boase said she stayed involved with the pool for three decades for a reason.

“It was a respect for the sacrifice that my parents made for me to have that experience and to make sure that it continued so more and more children from generation after generation could experience what I got to experience,” she said.

Thorndike’s history with the pool isn’t as deep, but her connection was instantaneous – once she actually saw the pool.

“It’s a wonderful pool,” she said. “When you walk to the inside, it looks wonderful. That’s what brought me to it. I saw it and joined that day for swimming lessons. It was beautiful and clean. I hadn’t known much about the pool, but I saw a flier about it. I pulled up and saw the arboretum. I said if the pool looks like the outside, I’m leaving. But the instructors were ready to go and the pool was gorgeous, just gorgeous.”

Thorndike said she became president because she had ideas and plans, something board members at the time didn’t have.

“People weren’t excited about that by the time I came on,” she said. “Because of the problems, members were mad and they left. The current board members have worked their butts off. We were meeting every other week trying to get it going.”

Alas, Thorndike said the efforts were for naught.

“I was trying to get them to see it can’t continue,” she said. “My recommendation was we can’t open the pool again.”

Boase said all options for keeping the pool open were examined.

“If we could not sustain an adequate membership level given everything we did – and we did everything, like we brought in a small business consultant, put up beautiful signs, went door to door – if someone else can do it, God bless them. I’ll sign up,” she said.

The Palma Ciea Swim Club is listed by John L. Scott Realty, with an asking price of $74,900. Dana Burk is the realtor and can be reached at 503-409-5861. The property covers .45 acres, or 19,602 square feet. Photos on the John L. Scott site show some maintenance needs to be done, especially in regards to the removal of weeds.

Thorndike said she had been approached by a couple of people about the pool, including one who wanted to keep it as a community pool with lessons.

“I don’t know who will buy the pool,” she said. “Our thinking was the likelihood of someone buying it and keeping as a pool are pretty slim. I asked the city if they would like to take it over as a city pool. They don’t have the money. Some members will join other pools and some will probably just stop (swimming). With the costs to open the pool and the chemical, it was just prohibitively expensive.

“I would love to see it stay as a community pool,” Thorndike added. “That would be wonderful.”

Hung jury in murder trial

Judge Tom Hart declares a mistrial Wednesday morning in the Phillip Johnson murder case, due to a hung jury. Prosecutors will retry their case against Victor David Smith in September. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Judge Tom Hart declares a mistrial Wednesday morning in the Phillip Johnson murder case, due to a hung jury. Prosecutors will retry their case against Victor David Smith in September. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The split wasn’t ending.

After more than three days of jury deliberation, no verdict was reached in the trial of Victor David Smith.

Smith was charged with murdering Keizer’s Phillip Johnson with a firearm in 2004.

The trial opened on June 17, with the final witnesses taking the stand the morning of Thursday, June 19. Closing arguments were given June 20, after which the 12-member jury began deliberations.

After not reaching a verdict last Friday afternoon, the jurors resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. Monday. With no progress reported, the schedule repeated on Tuesday.

By the end of the day Tuesday, still no verdict had been reached. After more deliberations Wednesday morning, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Tom Hart called all parties back to his courtroom shortly before 11 a.m.

“They have remained split,” Hart said. “This is after 21 hours and five minutes of deliberations. They deliberated longer than it took to try the case.”

Once Hart brought the jury back in, he mentioned the foreman had given him a note Tuesday afternoon about being split. A note with the same message led to his announcement Wednesday morning.

“You’re telling me you are irreparably split?” Hart asked, getting an affirmative response. “Then I’m  going to declare a mistrial. The suspect stays in custody. The next trial is set for Sept. 10.”

Hart informed media speaking with jurors would not be allowed to “preserve the integrity” of the matter. Prosecutor Paige Clarkson declined to comment, as did Johnson’s family, which sat in the second row during the entire trial.

Johnson was shot multiple times outside his Keizer apartment the night of July 1, 2004. Smith was arraigned last year on the single murder charge.

Smith was a prime suspect early in the case. At the time of the murder, he lived in Salem with Imani Williams, Johnson’s former girlfriend and a key figure in the saga. Much of the prosecution’s case was based on Smith being upset Williams still had strong feelings for Johnson.

The deliberations followed lengthy closing arguments for both sides. Clarkson from the Marion County District Attorney’s office opened by once again showing “The Defendant’s Prophecy,” a letter Smith had written to Williams. The letter had also led the prosecution’s opening arguments three days earlier.

“This defendant had a problem and the problem had a name: Phillip Johnson,” Clarkson said. “Phillip Johnson was the one thing that stood between him and what he loved. Phillip Johnson deserves justice. But to this defendant, Phillip Johnson was only a problem that needed to be solved. It was a problem that needed to be solved with murder.”

Clarkson pointed to evidence as showing Smith’s motive and being at the location.

“There is a lot of evidence in this case that tells you Phillip Johnson was murdered by this defendant,” she said. “We have a timeline of events of July 1, 2004. It tells you this defendant was on the way to murder Phillip Johnson. That is objective information that is completely unbiased.”

In particular, Clarkson pointed to multiple cell phone calls shortly after the murder.

“Imani Williams is calling this defendant at almost the exact time Phillip Johnson is killed,” Clarkson said. “There’s no reason for her to call (Smith) if he’s sitting next to her. She’s calling him because he’s not there…You can infer where he was. He was out shooting Phillip Johnson. He was out solving his problem.”

Olcott Thompson, Smith’s attorney, countered that the prosecution’s case left too many holes and created more than enough reasonable doubt. For example, he pointed to different details told by Sara Fandrei and Steven Chrisco, the two the prosecution stated drove Smith to Johnson’s apartment complex.

“Everyone sees the same event differently,” Thompson said. “Her story is slightly different than Mr. Chrisco’s, no question. How consistent are the stories? The problem is, the big stuff in (both) stories don’t match other things.”

Thompson said several suspects – including Chrisco, who has been in and out of prison on various charges the past 15 years – were too quickly dismissed by investigators with the Keizer Police Department.

“The state has to prove things,” Thompson said. “They’re saying, ‘Trust us; we’re the government.’ You need to make sure you get your decision right. It’s OK to let someone who is guilty go free if the state didn’t prove its case.”

On Tuesday, Thompson expanded upon that thought.

“The American system of justice is based on the state has to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “Part of what’s built into that is a belief that it is better to let a guilty person go than to convict an innocent person. Ultimately, O.J. Simpson is the best example. Probably a lot of people thought he killed his ex-wife. But did they prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in the trial? The jury said no. Just because you believe something is not the same as the state proving it.”

Thompson said the jury being out so long didn’t necessarily play out in favor of his client.

“At this point, no,” he said. “Generally, and all generalizations are false including this one, if they come back quick it’s a state verdict. If they take longer, wherever the break point is, it’s a defense verdict. At some point, we don’t know.”

Thompson noted he’s past the point of being surprised.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” he said. “Jurors never surprise me. I’ve given up being surprised. They work at it and they get it right usually, 99 percent of the time. Sometimes it takes forever. At this point, if I start getting surprised by jurors, I’m in trouble.”

At long last, finish Chemawa

It is time for the city of Keizer to get tough with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) regarding the completiton of the Chemawa Road project that is, yet again, on hold due to utilities.

The discovery of unknown utility infrastructure is the cause of the lastest work stoppage. The neighbors and users of Chemawa Road deserve better.

ODOT, in charge of the $3.5 million project, had to stop work earlier this year after unknown utilities were discovered. The project can not proceed until those are relocated. Until that happens Chemawa Road proves to be an obstacle course for pedestrians and bicyclists and an eyesore for the homeowners affected by the deep trenches and gravel driveway entrances.

It is hard to fathom how a state agency and its contractors can be stymied by utility wires and pipes. The private sector is implored to call 8-1-1 before their dig on their property. A call to that number lets a property owner know where existing utility wires and pipes are located so they are not disturbed or damaged if they want to dig. How could the contractors not follow this simple task?

The city is at the mercy of the contractor and the companies that need to relocate their hardware. The  city’s public works department should not accept this state of affairs and demand that ODOT to complete the project, which was slated to be completed next month. The original completion date was 2012.

Regardless of which agency is the lead contractor, Keizer citizens will turn to its city government for answers and a resolution to this long-time construction project. If the delay goes on too much longer the project runs the risk of continuing into the new school year; how nice it would be to start the 2014 school year in September with a traffic light at Chemawa Road and Delight Street.

The city needs to have a better answer than it’s an ODOT project; the project is in our city and we expect our city government to be a squeaky wheel and do what it can to see the project is finished. The residents, pedestrians and bicyclists deserve nothing less.

  -—LAZ

What’s your kid doing this summer?

It’s a summer lament that’s been heard for decades from kids: “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”  If those are words heard in Keizer households, there are activities for our young ones to do this season.

Parents want to be sure their children are safe and active during the times when they are not in school or with the family. Costs and assessibility can certainly determine what a kid can do in the summer months. Fortunately there are a number of free activities available.

It doesn’t cost anything for kids to head to Chalmers Jones Park at the Keizer Civic Center to play in the splash fountain on days when it hits 75 degrees. There is no organized supervision at the fountain so parents need to be sure their kids are accompanied by a responsible guardian.

For kids who enjoy wheeled fun, the Carlson Skate Park, also at Chalmers Jones Park, is a good place to try bike and skateboard manuevers. Biking is also a big draw at Keizer Rapids Park where cyclists can hit the trails and the BMX trails.

For the little ones (age 3 to 7), the Keizer Community Library is offering Story Time each Thursday morning through Aug. 14.  The library is a good boredom-buster as well for the older kids.

The Boys and Girls Club again will host Wild Wild Rec in July and August with a set schedule at several city parks.

Even without Wild Wild Rec Keizer’s 18 parks are perfect for kids to play to their heart’s content with their fun limited by their imaginations. Most Keizer households are within walking distance of one of the parks.

Although summer is the time for kids to forget about school and homework, we think developing a series of camps to be staged at our school buildings is a good way to stave off idleness. Camps would be two- or three-day courses that teach about things kids are interested in: the stars, drawing comics, making videos, producing music—whatever kids like.

There would be no homework, no studying, no tests or quizzes, just fun things to learn. Experts in our community would be asked to donate time to conduct the camps. The curricula should be designed as low cost as possible so the camps could be extremely low- or no-cost to kids and their families.

The school buildings that sit empty in summer would be ideal locations for these camps. By summer of 2015 a community group can take on the challenge and design a series of camps to offer a wide variety of topics yet leave a very light footprint on the school building.

Such summer camps would add a dynamic element to the choices already available to Keizer kids, whether free or not.

  —LAZ

U.S. can’t solve Shia-Sunni conflict

Long ago and far away, Muhammad, Islam’s founder and author of the Koran, passed away.  That year was 632 A.D.  Two factions formed almost immediately.  “One who follows the traditions of the Prophet” was the Sunni mantra; they wanted Muhammad’s closest friend and advisor to succeed him.  The Shia or “people of the household of the Prophet,” sought a Muhammad family member to take his place. Thus the battles for supremacy began and have been waged between Sunni and Shia ever since while both want to realize conversion to Islam by everyone on earth.

The dispute between the sects is a religious war that has been underway for centuries. We got involved after Sept. 11 for reasons sold to us by the George W. Bush administration that were neither accurate nor true.

Those keeping track know we spent about 11 years in Iraq after a preemptive invasion. We suffered fatalities among our fighting men and women close to 5,000 in number with tens of thousands more suffering lasting and debilitating mental and physical wounds.  We also significantly deepened our national debt and drained our national treasury, resulting there in an estimated 100,000 collateral deaths. Then we were kicked out by the new Shia government, leaving the place to the Shia in charge to rule in place of Saddam Hussein and the Sunni Baath Party.

Now the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an off-shoot of al-Qaeda from Syria’s civil war, are in Iraq and determined to establish strictly conservative Muslim rule by Sharia law not unlike the Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan.  It’s said the ISIS was kicked out of al-Qaeda by that terrorist group’s regulars because they practice brutally cruel means, summarily executing anyone not kowtowing to their absolute authority.

In the immediate past weeks, Iraqi security forces have “crumbled in disarray” before the ISIS attacks in Iraq.  The ISIS already had changed the course of the Syrian war: its ten-month siege of the Syrian Menagh airbase near Aleppo last year enabled ISIS to achieve what other opposition forces could not accomplish.

It was reported last year that ISIS was recognized as the most powerful single military rebel force in the entire region.Its tactical successes have been displayed by its capacity to plan and execute highly complex operations and successfully utilize social media to recruit suicide bombers and other fanatics.  They are known to have access to nearly unlimited financial resources, too, through their seizure of Syrian oil and gas fields and have captured and taken over the Iraqi oil and gas fields.

U.S. neo-cons are determined to try to return us to Iraq with American military forces similar in number to those from past years.  These folks want American families to once again sacrifice their offspring to take sides in an irresolvable religious war from which there never has been a total victory of one side and from which history leads us to be convinced that there never will be.

Many congressional leaders are frustrated with President Obama because he has not found a swift resolution to the conflict between the Sunnis and Shias that began in the seventh century A.D. and has raged on with death and destruction by its fanatics, ISIS trying to prevail this time around.  It would seem that overwrought chants from the hill in D.C. are that even though Sunnis and Shias have been at one another’s throats for almost 1,500 years, President Obama has had ample time after six years in office to fix things between the relentlessly-warring factions.

U.S. involvement with a military force sufficient to help what amounts to defeating one sect over the other means the majority Sunnis throughout the Middle East and the world will heap more blame on us and plot our ruin. President Obama apparently believes it’s possible to bring Sunni, Shia and Kurd together in a viable democracy even though it did not happen when they had the chance to make it work. Then, too, there’s the “mission creep” syndrome where we first send, a few hundred “advisers,” predictably followed by thousands more.  Meanwhile, the people of the United States (three out of every four are against more warring overseas) get ignored.

It would seem most wise and relevantly preventive for us to keep our military at home this time and prepare for the inevitable by way of more al-Qaeda-inspired efforts to attack us, this time by the notoriously violent ISIS.  Remember: these folks want the whole world, not just Iraq and Syria. When we know enough to keep ourselves safe maybe we can help others overseas but until then its mindless to try to stop age-old determined religious zealots halfway around the world when we don’t hunker down to better help ourselves.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

Keep it legal, keep it safe on the 4th

The Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), Oregon fire service, Keep Oregon Green, natural resource agencies, Oregon fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts encourage Oregonians to keep itl legal and keep it safe when using fireworks. The 2014 Oregon fireworks sales season opened this week and runs through Sunday, July 6. The OSFM and their partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal in Oregon, where they are permitted, and the important steps to take for fireworks safety.

“People often forget that legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands,” says interim State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “And, regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. For example, fireworks are prohibited on all Oregon beaches, in parks, and campgrounds.”

July 4th holiday forest visitors are advised to leave all fireworks at home. The use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forestland, and most other public lands. “Fireworks compound the threat to already dry forests,” states Keep Oregon Green President Kristin Babbs. “Enjoy fireworks where they belong: on the pavement- away from houses, vehicles, and flammable vegetation.”

Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of fireworks that fly, explode, or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman Candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon.

Over the past five years, from 2009 through 2013, there were 905 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon resulting in one death, 150 civilian injuries, and more than $4.4 million in property damage.

Under Oregon law, officials may seize illegal fireworks and fine offenders up to $500 per violation. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

“All Oregonians share the responsibility to use only legal fireworks and use them carefully,” adds Walker. And we encourage you to be aware and considerate of neighbors and their pets, before deciding on when and where you choose to light fireworks.”

The OSFM encourages everyone to use the four B’s of safe fireworks use:

•  Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.

•  Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks.

•  Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.

•  Be aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

(Courtesy of Oregon State Fire Marshal)