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Day: November 3, 2014

Order in the (council) chambers

New Salem-Keizer School District superintendent Christy Perry (left) and new McNary High School principal Erik Jespersen spoke at the council meeting Oct. 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
New Salem-Keizer School District superintendent Christy Perry (left) and new McNary High School principal Erik Jespersen spoke at the council meeting Oct. 20. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

During most Keizer City Council meetings, items on the agenda are taken out of order.

An attempt has been made to change that.

During their Oct. 20 meeting, councilors voted unanimously to amend the rules of procedure. In some ways, it was a return to an old form.

In recent years, committee reports and any kind of special presentations have been listed towards the bottom of the agenda. Most times, at the start of the meeting mayor Lore Christopher would change the order and move the presentations to earlier in the meeting.

The motion approved by councilors moves presentations, oaths of office and awards to the top of the agenda, after the roll call and pledge of allegiance. Committee reports are also being moved up on the agenda, instead of being near the bottom. Doing the latter was a suggestion previously made by councilor Dennis Koho, who was absent Oct. 20.

“Many years ago committee reports were (at the front), then they got moved back,” city attorney Shannon Johnson said. “Often things will come forward.”

Christopher said committee reports were moved back for a reason.

“They used to be further up,” she said. “Some are very lengthy, of course that was when Richard (Walsh) was on council. People would sit all night, caring about one of the six issues under administrative action. They had no idea we would spend one or two hours on committee reports. I don’t think this is a problem. I think it works pretty well.”

Councilor Cathy Clark noted the changes made to the agenda at each meeting.

“Whenever there is something special, we move it up every time,” Clark said. “I don’t want to keep rearranging the agenda each time. Let’s just write the agenda that way.”

Councilor Jim Taylor agreed with Clark.

“The way we do it now works, we just need to put it in writing,” he said. “We’ve been doing it, Lore. Let’s just put it in writing what we’re doing now.”

Councilors also agreed to give applicants longer to speak during a public hearing, in light of the recent land use adjustment request for the Herber Farm application. Applicants currently have five minutes to speak; that time will now be 30 minutes total, including rebuttal time.

“This is fashioned similar to LUBA (Land Use Board of Appeals) or the Court of Appeals,” Johnson said. “The applicant can divide the time up. That (30 minutes) includes everybody on the applicant side.”

In other business Oct. 20:

• Members of the Marion County District Attorney’s office were on hand for a proclamation of October being named Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

District Attorney Walt Beglau noted his office prosecutes more than 1,000 cases of domestic violence a year, with 100 such cases in Keizer the past 12 months.

“It changes the heartbeat of the community,” Beglau said. “Keizer is no stranger to this impact. Murder is the most tragic outcome to the pattern of violence we see. It impacts the whole family.”

That was the case in Keizer in 2011 when Lisa Zielinski was murdered by her husband.

Kim Larson and Jayne Downing spoke about the efforts to bring attention to the issue, which has been pushed back into the national limelight recently with several National Football League domestic violence incidents.

“A lot of time people feel they don’t have the support they need,” Larson said. “We’ll walk people through the process. People can reach out and get information so they can be that resource to others.”

Downey said the Center for Hope and Safety has a new larger building at 605 Center Street in Salem. Councilors will tour the new facility during their Nov. 10 work session.

• Ryan Edsall was introduced as the new youth councilor. The McNary High School senior is actually one of two youth applicants. Jeremy Darst was appointed as the youth liaison for the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

• Christy Perry, the new superintendent for the Salem-Keizer School District, introduced herself as well as Erik Jespersen, who recently took over as the MHS principal. Former principal John Honey, who previously was going to stay in the position until January, accelerated his timeline to take over a career technical school program.

For the active retirees

An artist's rendering of Village at Keizer Ridge. (Submitted)
An artist’s rendering of Village at Keizer Ridge. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Yes, another retirement community is being planned for Keizer.

But developers of the Village at Keizer Ridge assisted living and memory care facility believe their building will fill a niche.

Greg Roderick, president and CEO of Portland-based Frontier Management, gave the Keizertimes an update on plans last week along with Dale Burghardt of Burghardt Investments. Roderick noted Frontier has 55 such facilities around the country, with 27 in Oregon, including Cedar Village and Redwood Heights in Salem.

The 126-unit, 100,000 square foot facility will be located at 1165 McGee Court NE in Keizer, next to the existing Emerald Pointe Senior Living Community. There will be 104 assisted living units, plus 22 memory care units. Burghardt said Village at Keizer Ridge is expected to open in the spring of 2016, though the Frontier website lists a late 2015 opening.

“We have already started to excavate the site and are working on the foundation,” Burghardt said.

Roderick feels Village at Keizer Ridge will offer unique experiences.

“We are raising the bar and setting a new standard for memory care in the Keizer-Salem marketplace,” Roderick said. “We’ve got a bistro on the main level. In the morning we will have a coffee bar, with a wine bar in the afternoon and evening. There will be a family room feel with a fireplace. There will be a beautiful patio for 20 to 25 people outside the lounge. We will have a nice fire pit out there.

“We’ve realized today’s senior citizens and their adult children are looking for a more engaging lifestyle,” he added. “People have changed. We are adapting this to today’s seniors and today’s adult children. We are really removing stigmas and daunting fear of looking at assisted living sites for loved ones.”

Roderick said residents at Frontier’s other facilities do things such as making craft beers, hard ciders and ice cream, winning awards at competitions for their creations.

“We’ll have destinations inside and outside,” he said. “These are not places to rest; you can do engaging activities here. We’ll have things like blueberry gardens. You can do cooking classes. These are 80-plus year old residents doing these things. They know they have to get up not just for breakfast, but they have a reason. There are all of these different things going on today. There is purpose in your life. Wouldn’t you rather have something to do when you retire?”

Roderick noted residents in various Frontier facilities are also making items like soaps and olive oils.

“Our residents are having a blast,” he said.

Burghardt noted such activities helped him decide to partner with Frontier.

“That’s what sets these buildings apart from the competition,” Burghardt said.

Roderick gave an example from a Frontier facility in Bend with dementia patients.

“We got a call from the local humane society,” he said. “A mother cat had abandoned all of these kittens. It meant bottle feeding six kittens every two hours for six weeks. Many with dementia don’t sleep a full eight hours. They take two hour naps. They had these baby kittens they were nurturing. In two months, they were able to adopt out fully healthy cats. They have taken on other assignments like volunteering at equestrian farms to take care of horses.

“By giving them purpose and meaning, we have seen people thrive,” Roderick added. “Today we are changing the game. We want to see residents happy and thriving. We want their family members to be proud. It doesn’t have to be a horribly sad and devastating disease. Everything is backed by great nurses, an activities director, fabulous chefs and maintenance staff. They are passionate people.”

Roderick noted Frontier’s facilities become part of their communities.

“We love being a part of the local community,” he said. “We’ll be raising money for local charities. Those are the things you’ll see.”

In addition to Village at Keizer Ridge and Emerald Pointe, McGee Court is also getting a third phase of the Hawk’s Point apartments.

“What we’re doing is going to be a compliment to the local senior community,” Burghardt said. “We are creating a campus. Residents can first move to Emerald Pointe when they don’t need as many services, then come over to Village at Keizer Ridge. Any loved ones who need spouses in memory care can be in the same campus. We’re working together with Hawk’s Point. We jointly bought the property.”

The news of Village at Keizer Ridge comes as Avamere recently opened The Arbor at Avamere Court memory care building. Plans have also been announced for a similar type of facility in Area C of Keizer Station.

“The last few years, we’ve seen an aging in the population,” Roderick said. “Our market studies suggest what we’re building is perfectly acceptable for the market. I’m friends with our competitors. Avamere just had a very successful opening. I told them we’re adding 22 units for memory care and they said that’s absolutely fine since they are 200 percent pre-leased.

“Emerald Pointe has been a very successful retirement community,” he added. “As residents are aging, they need additional services and care. We fit that need. We are very excited about this. We eagerly await the completion of construction. This will be a big benefit to the market.”

Burghardt shares that sentiment.

“We are very excited about the project and feel that it will be the best facility of its kind in the Salem-Keizer area,” he said.

CLAIMED: Celt boys take GVC soccer title

Celt Eloy Roldan clears out the ball in McNary’s game with South Salem High School Monday, Oct. 20. After winning that game, the boys clinched the GVC title with a 3-2 win over West Salem High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Eloy Roldan clears out the ball in McNary’s game with South Salem High School Monday, Oct. 20. After winning that game, the boys clinched the GVC title with a 3-2 win over West Salem High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Two short months ago, the McNary High School boys varsity soccer team had starry eyes and not a lot of star power. This week, the boys were basking in the gleam of a league title.

With a 3-2 win over West Salem High School Thursday, Oct. 23, McNary landed atop the heap of the expanded Greater Valley Conference in its first year. It’s the first boys soccer league title in a decade.

“It means a lot. No one thought we would be here, not even in the top three,” said sophomore Gustavo Villalvazo. “A lot of teams underestimated us and we shut their mouths.”

McNary achieved the feat by matching strengths with several high-ranked teams early in the season, and then delivering knock-out punches when need. The team’s 6-1-1 final record in regulation play now lets them host their first playoff game against South Medford High School Saturday, Nov. 1, at 4 p.m.

While it’s difficult to boil any season down to two games, it will have to suffice. Villalvazo said the team’s loss to McMinnville High School Oct. 8, was the first turning point.

“We lost to them in the last 48 seconds of the game. When something like that happens, you don’t expect to bounce back, but we came out and beat the next team 4-1,” he said.

The next moment, said midfielder Paulo Reyes, was a jaw-dropping comeback against South Salem High School Oct. 20. Down 4-0, McNary managed to close the gap 4-3 by halftime. Senior Mario Garcia scored the tying shot 13 seconds into the next half and a penalty kick with 1:45 left in the game won it for McNary.

“That showed the big heart of our team. Coming back from four-nil showed a lot of character and a lot of heart,” Reyes said.

The Celtics found their path to success without any one player usurping the big moments. However, at the end of the season, Villalvazo, Garcia and Reyes were named to the first team all-GVC. Junior Jose Daniel Caballero and senior Garon Stanley were named to the second team all-GVC. Seniors Eloy Roldan and Diego Sanchez garnered honorable mentions. Head Coach Miguel Camarena was named GVC coach of the year.

While it’s not uncommon for any team to start the season talking a good game, the Celts found themselves believing in their talk more and more as the season unfolded.

“I was doing the talking and I didn’t believe it,” said Stanley. “But we proved ourselves wrong.”

The seeds to success were likely planted last year, said Roldan.

“Since starting on the freshman team, I could see how we were improving. I thought last year would have been our best year, but then the seniors kind of let up,” he said. “This year we had guys who wanted to play and wanted to start. They wanted to score, they wanted to win as a team.”

That meant bringing up the team’s four freshmen up-to-speed quickly, but the youngest Celts proved themselves throughout the season.

“I looked at a freshman like Jonny Carranza and I wanted to lean in and help him, but he proved he didn’t need it,” Roldan said.

Stanley added that the Celts started taking lessons in what not to do from their opponents.

“There was always one person on every other team that wanted to argue with everyone, and it undermines the team. We didn’t want that to happen to us,” he said.

That leadership tactic paid major dividends as upperclassmen made room for younger players on the field and the younger players were paying attention.

“I knew I wouldn’t make the biggest difference on the team, but I knew every second I tried my hardest to make as much of a difference as I could. I tried to learn, to watch what other players did and didn’t do to make myself better,” said freshman Michael Reyes.

Regardless of what happens from here on out, the boys feel in their hearts that this season signifies a change for the better in the program.

“It means we’ll work harder to make ourselves two-time GVC champs,” said Paulo Reyes.

For Camarena, the league title is most important for what it can teach all members of the team:

“Number one is when you have a work ethic there is a reward. We set goals early, the kids believed in them and look where they are now. This was a miracle season,” he said.

The other members of the boys varsity soccer team are: Luis Abundiz Joel Benjamin, Javier Zepeda, Jorge Garcia, Luis Martinez-Reyes, Jose Vazquez, Isaiah Santana, Diego Anselmo, Luis Audelo, Bhavdeep Bains, Jesus Pineda and Bryan Keo.