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Month: September 2014

Celts slay Dragons 9-0

Celt Jonathan Carranza beats a Crescent Valley player to the ball in a game Tuesday, Sept. 23. McNary trailed for much of the game, but tied it up 3-3 in the final 10 minutes. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Jonathan Carranza beats a Crescent Valley player to the ball in a game Tuesday, Sept. 23. McNary trailed for much of the game, but tied it up 3-3 in the final 10 minutes. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

In the one game it had last week, the McNary High School boys varsity soccer team dominated Dallas High School in a 9-0 win.

“We were able to switch the ball nicely and maintain possession for most of the game, which really helped,” said Jose Daniel Caballero.

The Celtics had only one gap in scoring that lasted more than 15 minutes, and set the tone for the game in the first 60 seconds.

McNary took a 1-0 lead in the first minute on a goal by Garon Stanley off an assist by Mario Garcia-Garibay. Caballero netted the next in the fourth minute off another assist by Garcia-Garibay. The final two goals of the first half were by Garcia-Garibay and Isaiah Santana on penalty kicks in the 15th and 39th minutes, respectively.

“We were talking really well and we had a lot of communication. It helped us take a lot of shots where we just didn’t quite get the goal,” said Garcia-Garibay.

Caballero scored the first two goals of the second half on assists by Paulo Reyes, Bryan Keo netted one on an assist by Garcia-Garibay, Stanley got his second goal of the game with another assist by Reyes, and Michael Reyes scored on an assist by Jorge Garcia in the 72nd minute for the 9-0 final.

The Celts stayed on the attack for most of the game and the Dragons didn’t record a single shot on goal. McNary had 12 shots that sailed wide of their mark.

“Working on finishing those shots is what we need to do now,” said Garcia-Garibay.

The Celtics had been slated for a second game with LaSalle High School Thursday, Sept. 18, but a lack of officials forced a cancellation. Missing that game has caused the team to slip in state rankings, but Caballero said that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“We’re trying to put the rankings aside and focus on playing our game. We can still pick up our intensity and passion,” he said.

Much of the team was anticipating a contest with Crescent Valley High School Tuesday, Sept. 23. With a traditionally powerful program, the Raiders entered the game ranked 13th in the OSAA 5A classification.

“They are going to be a tough rival, but if we communicate and stay together as a team we should do all right,” said Garcia-Garibay. “The rankings are helping us stay positive and building confidence. We still argue, but I think we’re growing up as a team and that’s the best thing for us.”

McNary trailed the Raiders 3-1 for much of the game, but two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game ended the contest in a stalemate.

Marijuana location on hold

480x270-marijuana-leaf

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Plans for a medical marijuana grower are on hold while Keizer City Councilors continue to go through their process.

For the past several months, councilors have been discussing potential restrictions and rules concerning such facilities. The issue is expected to be brought up again at the next council meeting on Oct. 6.

In the spring, a moratorium on such facilities was established until May 2015, though councilors can move that date forward if they feel sufficient rules are in place.

“Medical marijuana today is not permitted in Keizer,” senior planner Sam Litke said this week.

Litke said the city has received one request so far for a medical marijuana dispensary, on River Road.

“Council adopted the permit process,” Litke said. “It would have to be in commercial or industrial zones. Where they were allowed was identified. State law allows it there. The request on River Road was on land currently zoned for retail.”

Last week, Gordon Hagglund applied for a permit to establish a use as a marijuana grower. The site address is 3585 Cherry Avenue NE.

Hagglund said he applied on behalf of someone who wants to use Hagglund’s building at Cherry and Cade Street.

“It’s a new business park,” Hagglund said. “I own the building. It’s all in limbo right now with the medical marijuana issue. We’re not sure what is happening right now. The people leasing from me are in limbo. It fits the zone for drug products and agricultural zone.”

Hagglund noted he is a bit disappointed with the delay.

“The city is throwing up a bit of a roadblock,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a surprise. It seems better to get ahead of it instead of being reactive. It’s coming, but you’d think they’d be more proactive than reactive.”

Nate Brown, the director of Community Development for Keizer who has been among the key people working on the city’s medical marijuana policies, confirmed the delay.

“The Hagglund permit is on hold until we get the zoning figured out,” Brown said.

New plan for Area C?

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

A new plan could be in the works for Keizer Station Area C.

During the Sept. 15 Keizer City Council meeting, Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, told councilors a group was coming Tuesday, Sept. 23, for a pre-application conference “to revise the plan of the Area C master plan.”

Brown preferred the amendment come directly to council for several reasons, such as councilors having the background and familiarity with the issues, the decisions including the ones in response to Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) remands having already been developed after “lengthy and arduous” work, the past decisions and conditions largely remaining intact, the applicant being under an “extremely tight timeline,” and the council being the final decision body in master plan applications.

Plans for Area C – at Chemawa Road NE and Lockhaven Drive NE – were last submitted back in September 2012, with a main retail space of 77,000 square feet, 11 apartment buildings and a medical office building of 53,000 square feet.

That was an amendment to an earlier plan calling for an 116,000 square foot building, believed to be a Walmart.

The 2012 plan was submitted by controversial developer Chuck Sides, who acknowledged the revised plan was “cleaned up” to mitigate land use planning concerns.

“Obviously the economy has taken a hit, and there’s not the demand for the amount of retail space that once was,” Sides said at the time.

Sam Litke, senior planner for Keizer, said since that submission two years ago Sides had sold some of the property to Larry Eppling, who in turn sold the land to the group that met with city officials on Tuesday. Trees on the property were also taken down since the last plan was submitted.

“This is a different group than before,” Litke said. “This is the first plan (for that site) in two years.”

Following the Tuesday meeting, Litke said he was unable to share any information.

“Our pre-app process allows for the applicant to either allow us to disclose any information or for it to remain confidential,” Litke said. “The applicant requested that it remain confidential at this time so I have to honor that request.”

In his report to councilors last week, Brown noted rules regarding Area C remain the same.

“It is anticipated that the conditions of approval will remain intact, with the very same conditions governing the development of the site as have been established,” he said. “Our code does not make provision for an amendment to approved Keizer Station Master Plan approvals. Staff is strongly urging council to hear this amendment request directly.”

Brown said the plan is to have the issue come to council in November.

A meeting on the topic, which has long been a hot button issue, would include a public hearing.

“When we went through the process with Area C, the root canal, any changes now you say won’t be significant,” councilor Jim Taylor said. “Are there any changes you feel we might not be comfortable with?”

“Do you expect me to look in my crystal ball?” Brown replied. “There will undoubtedly be some concerns expressed, along the lines of the ones from all along.”

Meanwhile, there is still no update for plans at Area B, in particular the gravel lot at the corner of the corner of Lockhaven and McLeod Lane. In April 2011, the administrative director of Salem Radiology announced plans to build.

“Our plan is to develop a medical office building out there,” R.A. Neitzel told the Keizertimes at the time. “(Salem Radiology) has been looking for the right property for several years. We’re quite pleased about the location and the opportunity to be part of the Keizer community.”

However, those plans never moved forward.

“There’s still nothing for Area B,” Litke said this week.

City not paying for Big Toy

0516-NEWS-KEIZER-big-toy-LOGO

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

As was explained during the budget process, the City of Keizer is not paying for the Big Toy play structure project.

The problem is, wording in the approved 2014-15 fiscal year budget muddles the issue.

Early on, Keizer City Councilors approved using $100,000 in seed or plant money to get the project going. That money, from park System Development Charge (SDC) funds, is to pay for expenditures such as the $32,000 to project consultant Leathers and Associates.

Councilors also approved $150,000 in matching funds if a $150,000 grant had been secured earlier this year from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department through its Local Government Grant program. The project did not get funding through that grant, so the $150,000 in matching money is off the table.

Under the Park Improvement Fund heading in the budget, capital outlay is listed as $150,000 for grant expenditures (the aforementioned grant had the OPRD application been successful) and $300,000 for improvements, which includes the initial $100,000. A note at the bottom of the page includes this note: “Capital outlay expenditures are for the ‘Big Toy’ project at Keizer Rapids Park.”

On another page, there are again big numbers associated with the Park Improvement Fund and this note: “The 2014-15 ending fund balance is $265,000 less than the beginning fund balance. Available fund balance is being used for the Keizer Rapids Park ‘Big Toy’ which is a one-time capital expenditure.”

On the capital expenditures page of the budget, non-routine capital outlay includes $450,000 in the Park Improvement Fund for the Big Toy structure. That figure includes the $150,000 in grant matching funds.

Taking the wording at face value, it would seem to imply the city is putting in $300,000 in SDC funds to pay for the project.

That’s not exactly the case.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said the intent behind the funding is to fill in any necessary gaps down the road.

“The reason we put that in there was it’s the proper thing to do to make sure the project gets completed,” Lawyer said. “Using that funding is the worst case scenario. That would be used if everything else – grants, fundraising, etc. – fell apart. It was done to make sure the project gets completed, no matter what.

“The fundraising effort is unknown,” Lawyer added. “It’s not anticipated the city will be spending that $300,000. That was the cleanest way to do it. I brought it up (during the budget process), because I wanted to be clear why it was there.”

Mayor Lore Christopher said last week the wording will be revised to make it clear the city will kick in the funding only if not enough money is raised through fundraising and grants, which she knows was the intent during discussion.

“But that’s not the way it is written,” she acknowledged. “The intent is correct. We said we would move forward and cover anything left. What it says (in the budget) is we would fund it. It’s the nuance in the wording that will prevent us from getting grants. Will have to change the way it’s put in the budget.”

Christopher is worried organizations could read the budget and figure the project doesn’t need funding since the city is putting in $300,000.

“That’s the issue,” she said. “If you’re going to an organization that gives grants, it’s highly competitive. The concern is because of our error, it can prevent the city from getting additional grants. It’s a guarantee that the city would spend up to $300,000 to help complete the project. Granting sources don’t want to give to projects that won’t be completed, so the city guaranteed the project.”

Hence the cleaning up.

“We’ll clarify that up to $300,000 is not set aside, but up to $300,000 is available to ensure the project is completed,” she said.

Lawyer said that was indeed the intent.

“The $300,000 is to ensure the project could be completed if there were no grants or fundraising done,” he said.

Gridders prep for redemption with McKay

Devon Dunagan reaches back for a pass in the West Albany end zone under double coverage. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)
Devon Dunagan reaches back for a pass in the West Albany end zone under double coverage. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

If there’s one lesson Isaac Parker, head coach of the McNary High School varsity football team, wants the Celts to take away from a crushing 28-27 loss last week, it’s this: 20-0 is no time to get comfortable.

“We were in a position where we could have easily won that game by a large margin, but the loss will hopefully instill a sense of urgency to get better right now,” Parker said.

The varsity football team will attempt to get back on track after losing to West Albany High School last week, the second loss for the team in as many weeks. The Celtics (1-1 in conference, 1-2 overall) host McKay High School (0-3 in conference, overall) Friday, Sept. 26. Kickoff time is 7 p.m.

McKay dropped a game to North Salem High School last week 20-14. The Royal Scots’ quarterback Matthew Ritchie threw for one touchdown and ran another in from the one-yard line. It was the second week in a row Ritchie connected with Tristen Wilson for a touchdown.

On the ground, Scot Orlando Lupian is McKay’s biggest running threat. The senior has 189 yards and a touchdown on 47 carries this season.

“They’re probably going to be a bit slower than some of the other teams we’ve faced, and that means we’ll have to be careful not to overrun them, especially for the defense,” said McNary’s Kolby Barker.

While favored in the contest, the Celts biggest hurdle will be leaving the ghosts of last week’s game in the past. McNary held a 20-0 lead at one point in its game with the Bulldogs and watched it evaporate in the second half en route to a loss in overtime.

“We’ll definitely keep it with us and use it as motivation when we run more sprints,” said Barker.

The Celtics’ biggest offensive play of the night was a pick-six by senior Kyle Torres who ran the ball back from the McNary one-yard line. On offense, the team combined for less than 250 total yards. Seven penalties set the McNary back 67 yards.

McNary quarterback Drew McHugh completed 11 of 19 for 140 yards and a touchdown against the Bulldogs. McHugh’s back-up, Trent Van Cleave, completed a touchdown pass in overtime.

McNary’s ground game continued to struggle. Running back Brady Sparks eked out 24 yards on 13 carries. McHugh tucked the ball and ran for 33 yards against West Albany.

Torres led receivers with 72 yards on three catches. Senior Devon Dunagan had 49 yards on five catches with a touchdown.

Parker said a back-to-basics approach was planned for practices this week.

“This game is pretty simple. It boils down to blocking and tackling. We have to improve on those two basic fundamentals. Our schemes are fine. We have to become better blockers and tacklers,” Parker said.

KRP design charette Saturday

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

John Morgan has a hunch he knows what the hot topic will be Saturday morning.

From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Keizer Civic Center, Morgan will be leading a design charette to look at what amenities should be added to 28 extra acres at Keizer Rapids Park.

The charette is a continuation of the planning process for the Big Toy project, which originally was going to be built at KRP last week. Instead, the construction has been pushed back to June and a location hasn’t been finalized. The extra time is allowing for the KRP master plan to be updated as 28 additional acres are being annexed in as part of the Urban Growth Boundary.

A final list of additions to the master plan and a location for the Big Toy are expected to be decided by Keizer City Councilors at their Nov. 3 meeting.

Between 30 and 40 people are expected to be on hand Saturday morning, representing various groups and organizations such as neighborhood associations and youth sports leagues.

Morgan, who was Keizer’s first director of Community Development from 1990 to 1998, has been at Keizer Parks and Recreational Board meetings as well as neighborhood association meetings. As such, he has a prediction of what the hot-button topic will be.

“It’s really evident there is split opinion,” Morgan said. “Those in the neighborhood don’t want an indoor (sports) facility, but there are a lot of people who do want an indoor facility. I think that might be the big one.”

At last month’s Parks Board meeting, board members had Morgan write on a white board what amenities should be discussed. Those items were the indoor sports facility, the Big Toy, multi-use outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, an educational facility, toilets, a covered shelter, a drinking fountain and a hard surface sports court.

Morgan said on Monday he isn’t quite sure how he’ll run the charette.

“There are two ways: you can give everyone the floor for a few minutes, or you can walk through the Parks Board tentative list, point by point,” he said. “Probably the former is the better approach. I will probably ask people to respond to the tentative list, to see if it fits or what they would propose to change.”

Morgan hopes to see things run smoothly.

“There will be a lot of people, each representing an interest,” he said. “That becomes part of the challenge as well part of an opportunity. Hopefully we can cross-pollinate. We’ll be using the Parks Board’s tentative list and work from that. That’s there to help move things along.”

One of Morgan’s goals will be to get participants to find shared likes.

“I’ll look for common interests, what will make the park great 10 years from now,” he said. “I’ll see if I can get people off some of the positions they walk in the door with, to what will make this community great in 10 years. There are certain things (in the park) that won’t happen. I’m hoping we find ways to acceptably prioritize what ought to come first. I don’t know yet what that would be. This will be an organic discussion that will evolve as we go along.”

Morgan is well aware there could be disagreements throughout the meeting.

“One important thing is we’re not going to look for a perfect consensus,” Morgan said. “We will try to reach an agreement, but if it ends up being there is a clear disagreement, we won’t end it there. It will be up to the Parks Board to make their recommendation, then it’ll be up to the council. I just hope that when it’s done (on Saturday), everyone is satisfied with the process.”

The timeline for the process, approved in the spring, calls for Parks Board members to hold a public hearing during their Oct. 14 meeting to review the designs coming out of the charette, then make a recommendation to the council. There will be another public hearing during the Nov. 3 council meeting, after which councilors will make a final decision.

Mayor Lore Christopher indicated last week she would like Parks Board members to make a recommendation after the charette, allowing councilors to make their decision in October. The reason for that is Christopher and others looking to raise funds for the Big Toy project would have more time to complete that task, which should be easier if a location is decided.

However, Christopher said this week the longer timeline will still work.

“The sooner we know where it’s going to be, the easier it will be to talk to people about the Big Toy,” Christopher said. “But if we don’t get it until November, that’s fine.”

KHT’s Carnage dares you to laugh despite touchy subject matter

Taylor Pawley and Hannah Patterson share a moment in Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of God of Carnage. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Taylor Pawley and Hannah Patterson share a moment in Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of God of Carnage. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Laughter is not often thought of as an act of courage, but a healthy dose of the latter is needed to enjoy Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s production of God of Carnage.

Courage is needed because there are some outright uncomfortable moments crying out to be laughed at in the story about two couples trying to figure out how to deal with a dust-up between their children, an altercation that left one of the boys missing two teeth. Social niceties are rapidly replaced by more primal and raw emotion as conflict escalates.

The play premiered Thursday, Sept. 25, and continues with shows Sept. 26 and 27 and Oct. 2, 3 and 4 at the Keizer Civic Center. Curtain time is 7 p.m. The play contains adult subject matter and language.Tickets are $12, or $10 for students and seniors.

Director Jesse Whitehead said laying bare the discomfort the couples have with each other is what makes the material such a joy to work from.

“I’ve seen some productions where the company took an almost cartoony take on the script, but it feels more wonderfully uncomfortable the closer it feels to real life. I like that as an audience member, and I hope others do, too,” Whitehead said.

Bringing to life the script, written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton, are three former students of producer Linda Baker – John Shrout, Matt Lawyer and Hannah Patterson – and one newer addition to the troupe, Taylor Pawley.

For each of the principals, finding something to like about their characters was one of the first challenges.

Shrout, who plays Alan, a lawyer unable to disconnect from his cell phone, said the character is the complete opposite of himself.

Pawley, who plays Veronica, took it one step further.

“Veronica is the worst version of myself. Every trait I dislike about who I am is her entire character, and she goes from wanting complete control to absolutely losing it,” Pawley said.

Patterson, the youngest of the cast, said it’s a bit of a head-trip to have to play an older character who is acting like a child.

“But the comedy hits on all levels, so I think everyone will find someone or some piece of themselves to laugh at,” Patterson said.

If the play is starting to sound unlikeable, that isn’t the case. But, it is something of a departure from what KHT has become known for during the past three years.

“We’ve done a lot of KHT shows that are relatively safe and haven’t bridged the gap into serious plays. We’re not here to fake it until we make it. We want to do challenging material that challenges the views of audience members. To be able to bring that to life … it’s uncomfortable in a lot of ways, but we’re trying to do it artistically instead of derogatorily.,” Lawyer said.

“We put on all these airs about who we’re expected to be, but in this play it all just melts away from the characters until they are a pure throbbing wound of anger and sadness,” added Whitehead.

In other words, don’t be afraid to let your guard down and laugh. Loudly. Even if no one else is doing it.

That’s kind of the point of the whole thing.

Killer gets 30 years

Jean Ausborn (left) puts a hand on her sister Carolyn Peters' shoulder after the two spoke during the Sept. 18 sentencing of Victor David Smith. Smith was sentenced to 30 years for the 2004 killing of Phillip Johnson, Ausborn's son and Peters' nephew. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Jean Ausborn (left) puts a hand on her sister Carolyn Peters’ shoulder after the two spoke during the Sept. 18 sentencing of Victor David Smith. Smith was sentenced to 30 years for the 2004 killing of Phillip Johnson, Ausborn’s son and Peters’ nephew. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM – With her son’s killer found guilty, Jean Ausborn had a few things to say.

Two days after Victor David Smith was found guilty by a Marion County Circuit Court jury in the July 2004 murder of Keizer’s Phillip Lynn Johnson, judge Tom Hart sentenced Smith, 38, to a minimum of 30 years in prison on Sept. 18.

While Smith declined to speak, Ausborn, surrounded nearby by family members who sat through the whole trial this month as well as the first one in June, spoke.

“Victor David Smith brutally murdered Phillip Lynn Johnson and took him away from his mother, sister, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins,” Ausborn said after initially thanking those who brought Smith to justice. “He will never meet his grandchildren because of a horrible act of violence committed by Victor David Smith.”

Ausborn then turned to face Smith.

“What a coward you are to shoot Phillip in the back after you stalked him under the cover of darkness,” she said. “And for that despicable act, the worst thing that can happen to you will happen. Victor, you’ve given our family a life sentence of grief and heartache so it is fitting that you get the same life sentence in prison and suffer the same fate of never being free again.

“On the night of July 1, 2004, you showed your total disregard for human life when you murdered Philip in cold blood and left him to die in the arms of his then-pregnant girlfriend and unborn child,” Ausborn added. “Phillip’s beautiful daughter will never be held by her father because you, Victor, decided to end his life. You took him from our family who loved him more than you can imagine.”

Victor David Smith enters the Marion County Circuit Court on Sept. 18 to be sentenced for the 2004 murder of Keizer’s Phillip Johnson. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Victor David Smith enters the Marion County Circuit Court on Sept. 18 to be sentenced for the 2004 murder of Keizer’s Phillip Johnson. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Despite the passage of 10 years, Ausborn noted her son’s memory is still very much alive.

“His memory will live on through his children and grandchildren, which is what he would have wanted,” Ausborn said. “They will be reminded of his love for family and friends, his infectious smile, his great sense of humor and his willingness to help anyone who needed him. We will remind Phillip’s children and grandchildren that a coward named Victor David Smith took their father and grandfather from them, but now he’s in prison for a very long time.”

Ausborn also referenced the possibility of Smith seeking parole down the road.

“Victor David Smith, should you ever be considered for parole, we want you to know that someone from our family will attend every one of your parole hearings to request that you be kept incarcerated and never allowed to walk the streets again,” Ausborn said.

Ausborn ended her address to Smith by reading a verse from the bible.

“Matthew 5:21 says, ‘You shall not murder and whoever commits murder will be in danger of the judgement,’” Ausborn said. “Victor, today is the judgement day.”

Ausborn’s sister, Carolyn Peters, also spoke.

“Victor, when you killed Phillip, I died inside,” Peters said. “For these past 10 years, I’ve suffered with depression. I couldn’t laugh anymore because that was all taken away from me. Today, I can finally laugh again. And when this is over, I’m going to Phillip’s grave. I’m going to tell him, ‘Phillip, they got him. He was brought to justice. Everyone knows who did it now. And he won’t do this to anybody else again.’”

Deputy District Attorney Paige Clarkson, who prosecuted the case along with David Wilson, noted how long Johnson’s family had been waiting for the day.

“He has a daughter he will never meet,” Clarkson said. “Her mom has never been able to tell her the story, because it didn’t have a proper ending. Today she can tell her daughter the man who murdered her father will be put away for a long time. It’s quite fitting, quite frankly, that he will spend most of his life behind bars. When he wasn’t incarcerated, he was out killing Phillip Johnson.”

Hart addressed Smith before announcing the sentence.

“I read your letters about how you want to change,” Hart said. “It seems like a bunch of smoke, considering the amount of time you’ve spent in prison. What were you doing with your life? You’re like a dog running around marking bushes his whole life.”

Hart wasn’t quite done yet.

“You’ve been in criminal activity the vast majority of your life,” Hart told Smith. “It’s not much different than someone giving a one-finger salute to everyone else.”

Afterwards, Clarkson noted the long road it took to reach justice in this case.

“Some cases take longer than others,” she said. “This one required a lot of diligence and hard work. The right result was reached. Some cases are just difficult. This was a difficult case.”

Clarkson said testimony from prisoner Roy Sjolander – who testified Smith had told him earlier this year he’d committed the murder – was a big break in the second trial. The biggest break came in April 2009 when two key witnesses, Sara Fandrei and Steven Chrisco, changed their stories and said they gave Smith a ride to Johnson’s apartment minutes before the shooting.

“That was the break in this case that investigators needed,” Clarkson said. “From there, it was putting the pieces together. That fit with the story. From there, it was just trying to collaborate everything. The investigators were really methodical.”

Clarkson noted Smith was already behind bars for other crimes, meaning things didn’t have to be rushed. He was indicted and arrested in connection for this case in June 2013.

According to Clarkson, the outcome is bittersweet.

“There’s no winners in a murder case,” she said. “You can never bring back loved ones. You try to help the families go forward and give them a sense of relief that this is now behind them. Helping them heal is our goal as prosecutors.”

Mural, mural on the wall

Keizer’s first public mural on the western wall of Keizer Florist will be dedicated on Wednesday, Oct. 1. This will be what is promised to be the first of a number of murals that someday will decorate our community.

The Keizer Art Association was instrumental in bringing the mural about. They cited the famed murals in downtown Silverton as the inspiration for Colleen Goodwin Chronister’s Valley Treasures, which highlights the area’s agricultural heritage—irises, hops and grapes.

The art association should retake the lead on Keizer’s public art. It was the engine that helped established the program which resulted in whimsical sculptures being placed along River Road, as well as the first few Mayor’s Art Invitationals.

There is excitment in some quarters about the mural, believing they can do for Keizer what they have done for Silverton—though that’s highly unlikely. Some envision murals from one end of Keizer to the other. Murals will add color to our community, but we don’t want to over do it.

Public art should be a combination of sculptures, murals and paintings lining the walls of Keizer Civic Center. The Keizer Chamber Foundation took on a role of fundraising for public art, it’s a role they should maintain and expand. But no organization can do a public art program alone—the art association, the foundation and the city should work together to bring art to the masses.

The first Mayor’s Art Invitational event was a glittering evening held at Emerald Pointe Retirement Center. That event’s committee members organized a beautiful evening that matched the lofty goals of the public art program.

The art association was instrumental in successive arts galas and took the reins of the mural project and saw it to its conclusion. They can pat themselves on the back for accomplishing the mural with limited assets, but association members needn’t stop there.

With their connections throughout the region the Keizer Art Association is the main conduit to get information to artists who want to be considered for sculptures, murals and paintings.

Now that Valley Treasures is about to be dedicated the association and the commission should consider topics of future murals. Keizer has the opportunity to not only make the community look better but to tell our story. We envision murals with historic motifs—such as what life was like for the Calapooia people that made the mid-Willamette Valley their home. Such murals would certainly be educational, especially if they was large and detailed enough.

Keizer is known for irises, agriculture, youth sports and the Calapooia people. That’s a cornucopia of subjects for murals (and sculptures).

  —LAZ

Columnist is wrong on search

To the Editor: 

I would like to offer my thoughts on Mr. Gene McIntyre’s opinion of the Chemeketa Community College selection process concerning choosing a president (Chemeketa search should irk taypayers, Keizertimes, Sept. 19).

I served for 18 years on the Chemeketa Board and as chair of the board. I was greatly involved in the last two presidential searches for the selection of Presidents Gretchen Schuette and Cheryl Roberts.

The board chooses not to pay head hunters or outside consultants for its presidential search.  Head hunters can cost tens of thousands of dollars over what we paid Vicky Willis.  When I was on the board we preferred to keep our process in house because of cost.  The present board will draw great experience from contracting with Ms. Willis again because of her experience in handling this important job.

It is my opinion that perhaps Gene McIntyre’s fight should be with the PERS system, a system that is governed by the state and its own board of directors.

The Chemeketa board has always been responsible with the taxpayer’s money and this current process they have chosen is a good example of this.  The board is getting an experienced consultant, who just happened to work for Chemeketa and knows the institution very well.

JoAnne Beilke
Keizer