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Day: July 22, 2014

Respecting their authority

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Usually a board responding to the Keizer City Council lets councilors have the final say.

That is the case with the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

Usually.

There is now an exception: the Parks Board’s new matching grant program.

Last week, by a unanimous 5-0 vote (councilors Cathy Clark and Marlene Quinn were absent), Parks Board members were given the authority to make final decisions on which projects to fund with the matching grant program.

Under the new program, which started this month, the Parks Board partners with community members to double the funds for a project. Groups, organizations or individuals submit applications for their projects and indicate what they are willing to put into the project, both in terms of materials and labor. Parks Board members will go through the applications and choose the top ones, matching funding requests.

Most projects will likely be small, since the Parks Board only has $14,000 this year, a cut of $6,000 from recent years.

“The way the Parks Board would like it to work is the Parks Board would make the final determination on final projects,” city attorney Shannon Johnson told councilors. “It is a little unusual. Usually an advisory board will advise. You can leave it that way and say it’s a recommendation to council or staff. The individual amounts, we suspect, will be small. We don’t anticipate one project for $14,000. But you can handle it any way you want to.”

Councilor Dennis Koho was the first to express support.

“Generally speaking, I prefer tight controls for council,” Koho said. “But in this case, the budget committee approved it. It’s only $14,000. I’m perfectly comfortable with laying this at the Parks Board level.”

Councilor Jim Taylor also liked the idea.

“I agree,” said Taylor, who hopes to join the Parks Board once his time on council is done at the end of the year. “This came from the Parks Board. They will be careful with it. Anything they do will be with blessing from staff.”

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, pointed out things could always be changed later.

“As this program goes into the future, if it grows, it will be more into a traditional role,” Lawyer said. “For the next two to four years, it’s a good approach.”

In other business July 7:

• Councilors unanimously approved a motion to increase the maximum liability for art exhibitions at Keizer Civic Center to $50,000 with a premium of roughly $500 a year. The maximum liability per piece is $3,000.

Colored Pencil in Keizer is the current display, with 48 pieces of artwork by members of the Colored Pencil Society of America District Chapter 201. The display runs through Sept. 26.

“With colored pencil drawings, there was originally confusion on how many would fit,” Johnson said. “They were originally talking about 109, with a value of more than $60,000.”

Mayor Lore Christopher noted the need for liability coverage.

“If we want to get that type of quality art, the executive director (of Chapter 201) said you won’t get anyone without liability coverage,” she said. “We never had security cameras in both halls. Marlene has helped with a lot of events here and came up with that idea. That was a smart idea. We will have security cameras, one down one hall and one down the other.”

• Council president Joe Egli may not be running for another term on council, but he is currently involved in a new political position in the Keizer Homegrown Theater production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

“I thought I was going to be out of politics,” Egli said with a grin. “Come to find out, I’ll play the part of a senator in Julius Caesar. My role is to take Julius to talk to my friends in the senate. Um, it does not end very well.”

Boss recalls Knupp

Robert Knupp
Robert Knupp

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

As days turned to weeks, Robert Allen Knupp’s co-workers held out hope.

After the 54-year-old Keizerite was reported missing on June 8, his co-workers at Garten Services Inc. in Salem kept looking for him.

“His co-workers have been great,” Garten CEO Tim Rocak said. “People really rallied to try to find Robert, passed out fliers, reached out to his family. Employees started search teams.”

Sadly, those efforts were for naught. On July 9, it was reported the body of Knupp had been found. The Oregon State Patrol sent out a news release with the information and is investigating the death, with assistance from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Keizer Police Department and the Marion County District Attorney’s office.

Knupp’s body was spotted shortly after 9:15 a.m. on July 9, with the Marion County Medical Examiner and the OSP Forensic Services Division also responding to assist with the recovery of the body.

“A report was received that a deceased body was found in a field near Talbot in rural southwest Marion County,” the OSP release stated. “Marion County Sheriff’s Office and OSP responded to the scene and confirmed the report.”

The news was a blow at Garten, where Knupp had worked for 17 years and was a custodial supervisor, providing training to individuals with disabilities.

“You can only imagine,” Rocak said of how worried co-workers had been getting. “There were a lot of conversations about whether people knew anything. Obviously we are really sad right now.”

Knupp had been reported missing to the OSP on June 8. His 1993 Geo Metro had been found around midnight on June 7 at the Santiam Rest Area along Interstate 5 south of Salem. He was last seen in Albany earlier that day.

Rocak has fond memories of Knupp.

“He was a long-term employee who cared a great deal about his job,” Rocak said. “He always seemed to be the most polite, most kind, thinking of other people type of individual you would ever run into. He checked in with me and told me he appreciated the job I was doing. To think he would take the time to do that shows what a thoughtful guy he was.”

Rocak recalled being with Knupp when a contract was being handed off.

“Robert was very particular about his work,” Rocak said. “He used to oversee a contract with Corvallis Public Works. I went to an inspection with him, since Robert was passing it to another employee. They were nervous. They knew with Robert everything was well taken care of. Robert wanted things to be the way customers wanted. They really appreciated it. I just remember being there, to pass the reins along and to ease the customer in the situation. I remember the customer not wanting to be eased in the situation. He wanted Robert to stay.”

An autopsy is pending by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the manner and cause of death.