Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: September 22, 2014

Council moves forward on medical marijuana issue


Of the Keizertimes

Some Keizer City Councilors feel the medical marijuana discussion is being dragged out too long.

Other councilors feel the city is rushing into decisions that don’t – or shouldn’t – need to be made yet.

For the second meeting in a row Monday, those wanting to move forward won on a 4-3 vote. That mirrored the vote on the topic during the Sept. 2 council meeting.

With new state laws regarding medical marijuana facilities going into effect earlier this year, cities and counties around Oregon have been grappling with what to do in terms of local regulations.

City Attorney Shannon Johnson has been fine tuning a city medical marijuana facility permit process, making changes based on feedback from councilors. Among other things, the ordinance calls for a 1,000 foot buffer from any publicly-owned property, a 1,500 buffer from any school, the permit having to be renewed annually and background checks being required.

Councilor Dennis Koho led the group wanting to move forward on the ordinance on Monday, much as he did two weeks ago. Councilor Jim Taylor once again urged councilors to wait until seeing the results of a recreational marijuana ballot being voted on in November. Cathy Clark again sided with Taylor, while Marlene Quinn sided with Koho.

“My position hasn’t changed on this, even after reading Measure 91 and seeing the things going before the legislature next spring,” Clark said. “My big concern is that we’re going to have to take another look at that. If the legislature takes action, are we going to be grandfathering people in? I don’t know. I’m not in a hurry.”

Taylor noted the city’s Medical Marijuana Task Force – chaired by Koho – did a good job in the spring.

“But there are too many questions of what’s going to happen,” Taylor said. “I just feel for us to do it now is irresponsible without answers to what’s going to happen. We ought to wait and see what happens.”

Koho said that shouldn’t be the case.

“I would prefer to have some local control,” Koho said. “Who knows how the campaign will go. I think we’re well advised to adopt expanded no-selling zones. With legislature changes, that could shrink some of the areas people can’t sell.”

Quinn agreed with Koho’s point.

“To have controls in place now, it will help us later when (the ballot) does pass,” she said. “We have control now if we do this.”

Egli saw both sides of the coin.

“Cathy has good points,” Egli said. “But I don’t feel like we’re barging ahead. We’ve worked on it for six months. That’s a long time to work on projects. I like having control of where we can have these or not. If we let the state control, some other places could have facilities. That’s why I will support this.”

Taylor proposed a compromise of waiting until after the election but before the legislature takes any action next year.

Johnson noted there are downsides with moving forward now.

“The downside is we would be the first out of the gate,” he said. “Other jurisdictions are making regulations. We won’t have the luxury of seeing what others are doing.”

Mayor Lore Christopher noted any future changes could simply be amendments to the ordinance.

“We don’t know what we don’t know often until after ordinances are enacted,” Christopher said. “How many times have we had to make subtle tweaks due to unintended consequences? I don’t think putting this off helps us get more information. It does preserve more of the home rule authority, which is what we’d want to do. This whole medical marijuana issue has been a completely messy policy.”

“It’s been a loaded question,” Taylor agreed.

Koho couldn’t resist adding his own quip.

“So on a smoky night, we should pass it,” he said.

The ordinance was approved by a 4-3 vote with Koho, Christopher, Egli and Quinn voting in favor. Clark, Taylor and Kim Freeman voted against it.

“If we have to do other tweaks, let’s do them together for the next time so we’re not passing marijuana amendments every two weeks,” Christopher said.

Boys soccer ranked fourth in state

Members of the McNary boys varsity soccer team celebrate a goal by Luis Martinez-Reyes (No. 4)  in the Canby game Thursday, Sept. 11. The Celts have surged in state rankings after fighting two tough teams to stalemates. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Members of the McNary boys varsity soccer team celebrate a goal by Luis Martinez-Reyes (No. 4) in the Canby game Thursday, Sept. 11. The Celts have surged in state rankings after fighting two tough teams to stalemates. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

It’s not often that two ties and a win will launch a team into the upper ranks of state rankings, but, if you’re on the McNary High School boys varsity soccer team when it happens, you’re not likely to forget the feeling anytime soon.

“I’m insane over it,” said Garon Stanley, a McNary senior. “After the past three years when we were just terrible, it’s amazing to be here, now.”

The meteoric rise is the result of tying Central High School on Tuesday, Sept. 9. At the time, Central was the third-ranked team in the state among 5A schools, and McNary battled them to a 0-0 stalemate. Looking beyond the score reveals that the Celtics had nine shots on goal to the Panthers’ six. Celt goalkeep Joel Benjamin stymied Central at every turn.

A 1-1 tie with Ridgeview High School Sept. 2, the No. 2 team in 5A rankings, also contributed to the rise in ranking.

“There’s still a lot of soccer left in the season, but we’ll take it,” said Miguel Camarena, McNary head coach. “The team is getting so much better as a soccer team. We haven’t done that in a long time, we are looking great defensively.”

Outshining opponents on defense surprised even Stanley, who thought that would be a weak link in the team’s armor this season.

“The thing is we got together before the season and we get together before each game and we want to make something happen here,” said junior Paulo Reyes. “The defense has been solid and the offense has been on their game scoring goals and playing very well.”

The Celts followed up on the promise of the Central game with a 3-1 win over Canby High School. McNary’s Luis Martinez-Reyes netted the first goal of the game, but Canby knotted it at 1-1. Junior Jose Daniel Caballero broke the tie off an assist by Mario Garcia-Garibay, and put another one in the net off an assist by Bryan Keo.

The Celtics had three more non-league opponents on tap before beginning a run through the Greater Valley Conference, but Reyes said each game is only going to get tougher.

“It’s a big mark on our backs, and the challengers are going to get better. We’re going to have to defend against that. We’ll have to work harder and harder to maintain from here on out,” Reyes said.

Stanley said it will also mean keeping each other in check on the field.

“There are still moments where we get down on each other, but we’re getting better about turning that around quickly and saying something positive instead.”

Despite solid defensive performances thus far, Camarena said there is still a lot for the team to learn. In the meantime, he’s trying to soak in the “beauty” of it.

“The mix between experienced players and the freshmen has been fantastic. We have group of seniors who believe they can go far, and they are passing that along,” he said.

“Neverhome” by Laird Hunt


Neverhome” by Laird Hunt

c.2014, Little, Brown & Company
$26.00 / $29.00 Canada
256 pages


You needed to take a stand.

There was an injustice, a wrong that needed righting, and someone had to say something. That someone was you – and though you’re just one person, just a voice, the movement had to start somewhere.  And so you took a stand.

Your two feet were planted and you had no regrets, but how did affect your life?  In the new book “Neverhome” by Laird Hunt, one big decision changed everything.

Her mother called her “Constance.”

That’s what her husband, Bartholomew, called her, too, until she told him that her new name would be Ash Thompson, and if anybody asked, she was from Darke County, Ohio, and not from a farm in Indiana.

The farm had been in the family for a long time; it was hers the day she found her mother swinging from a rope by her neck, which was not long after Bartholomew handed her a zinnia in the field. Those were things she remembered often as she wrote letters home to him, missing him something fierce but he was a gentle soul, not made for fighting. She was a better shot than he, fleeter of foot, and much stronger, so putting on Bartholomew’s clothes and going off to defend the Republic was the choice she’d made, and that made her happy.

And so, with a few provisions in her pockets and a blanket in a sack, Constance became Ash Thompson, stepped into Ohio, and went to war.

It was easy to disguise what she was – the men around her either didn’t care or just didn’t notice, although women often recognized her as one of them. Her Colonel only saw her sharpshooting skills, and the bit of chivalry that gained her the nickname of Gallant Ash.

Powers of observation kept her safe, skills with a rifle got her fed sometimes, and both kept her alive in battle when cannonballs carved the dirt and it was hard to tell which side claimed more dead. That gave her plenty reason to think about her mother, Bartholomew, and her farm in Indiana, but Ash Thompson stayed with the Union Army.

She stayed – until betrayal sent her running…

At first, reading “Neverhome” is rather awkward: the language is poetic and formal, as though it was actually written a hundred-fifty years ago. It’s somewhat of a struggle, those first few pages, but that vexation doesn’t last long.

Soon enough, you’ll be inside the head of a character who, says author Laird Hunt in his notes, was loosely based on real women who fought as men during the Civil War. That near-factualism allows a reader’s mind to believe a bit easier and, with the addition of the aforementioned museum-quality writing, it’s hard not to feel fear or the cannon booms, to taste the dirt, or to become breathless while reading this stellar novel.

Civil War buffs and anyone who enjoys reenactment weekends will eat this book up, as will lovers of a good novel. Start “Neverhome,” in fact, and you’ll be sitting awhile.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

The Big Toy castle?

Rick Day, owner of Advantage Precast, has proposed using material like this for a Big Toy entrance.
Rick Day, owner of Advantage Precast, has proposed using material like this for a Big Toy entrance.

Of the Keizertimes

If Rick Day has his way, the Big Toy play structure will get an extreme makeover before it’s even built.

Day, owner of Advantage Precast in Keizer, talked about his proposal for the project during the Sept. 3 Community Build Task Force meeting. The play structure, originally scheduled to be built Sept. 17 to 21, is now planned to be built next June.

For several months, project general coordinator Mark Caillier had mentioned Day wanted to contribute to the structure with an enhanced castle feature. Having not heard of a decision by CBTF members, Day came to the recent meeting to explain his vision.

“Rick asked me a few weeks ago, then again a couple of weeks ago about our decision,” Caillier said. “We want to talk about what this castle could look like. With Rick, we were able to go into the yard and see things. We want to give the group an idea of what we’re talking about, since it would lead to a change in plans.”

Day’s proposed castle feature would likely serve as the main entrance for the Big Toy, with an arch and a draw bridge in the center. Granite-style blocks, like the ones used for the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater at Keizer Rapids Park, would be used. The structure would be roughly 42 feet long, with sides measuring 16 feet. The arch would be eight feet, with a draw bridge swinging down from it.

“We would need a footprint to do this,” Day said after sketching an illustration on a white board. “We would donate this. We would donate wood chips to put in it as well.”

In a follow-up interview with the Keizertimes last week, Day said there would be crenelations on top of the wall, in addition to lighting panels and concrete panels around the perimeter to contain wood chips.

“We’ll donate the material and will do the CAD drawings if they want,” Day said. “We have all the stuff sitting in the yard. We have arches and the wall block. We have the components. Doing it this way will save money and it takes care of the perimeter. They will also have a main feature. We can attach a walkway to the end of the wall. We would put hardware inserts into the concrete. Then you could bolt a walkway into it. The savings on the project would probably be $80,000 to $100,000.

Day estimated he would be donating roughly $20,000 to $25,000 in material and drawings. He noted the concrete could be stained on site for any color preference.

The way Day sees it, the project will be a win-win. The question is, will the task force accept the idea?

“I think so,” he said. “I think it will save them a bunch of money, plus it will give the kids something they will really like.”

One issue with the design is the size. Caillier has stated numerous times the default ‘big tree’ site at KRP doesn’t allow for a structure much bigger than already designed. Regardless of where the structure goes, Day said a footprint of about 42 feet would be necessary, though it could be smaller if needed.

“The opening we have now has considerably less (space) than that,” Caillier said. “It can be 16 (feet) to 20 feet now. This is a considerably larger footprint.”

Caillier noted he’s had a mason volunteer to stain the structure any color desired, and pointed out such a structure would be well received by users.

“The kids said they wanted a castle,” he said.

Project co-chair Richard Walsh said the proposed structure could fit in the space if some tweaking is done.

“When you look at the drawings and the space you need, you won’t be able to put in the footprint,” Walsh told Day. “But if you move it out to the fence line, there is room. You just have to move things around. The consultant will have to earn their money. This could be the main entrance into the entire play structure.”

City councilor Jim Taylor pointed out if a bigger site is chosen, having a bigger footprint would no longer be an issue.

Caillier said more prep work would be necessary if Day’s idea moves forward.

“There’s a whole lot more prep work than sinking a few holes in the ground,” he said. “We should know where we will be by January, so we can start prepping. This would have to be started in April or May.”

Taylor was on board with the plan.

“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t do it,” Taylor said. “Can anyone come up with a reason we shouldn’t do it?”

Walsh noted Day felt the structure would last longer being made of concrete, which would also help eliminate some future maintenance costs.

Task force members unanimously approved a motion to move forward with the idea.