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Day: November 25, 2014

Taking a surface look at Big Toy

Clint Holland (right), shown manning the Big Toy booth during the annual RIVERfair celebration at Keizer Rapids Park back in August along with Linda Baker, has been looking at what kind of surface to use for the play structure. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)
Clint Holland (right), shown manning the Big Toy booth during the annual RIVERfair celebration at Keizer Rapids Park back in August along with Linda Baker, has been looking at what kind of surface to use for the play structure.
(KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Now the location is known for the Big Toy.

The website is up and running at keizerbigtoy.org.

Among the details still to be determined: what the Big Toy will be placed on.

Members of the Keizer City Council approved a new location for the community build play structure at Keizer Rapids Park earlier this month. The structure is scheduled to be built over a five-day span from June 10 to 14, 2015.

Before then, one of the details yet to be finalized is what type of ground covering to use.

Budget figures have ranged from $16,000 using wood chips to $167,000 using spongy rubber material. The current budget lists $105,000 for rubber chips.

Clint Holland has talked about getting a rubber surface from RB Rubber Products in McMinnville, but noted at a recent fundraising committee meeting the company sold its division that does the work.

“We were trying to get rubber that looks like bark chips,” Holland said. “If we want to do this, we need to really look at it. The rubber surface is more than the rubber chips. The $105,000 in the budget is for rubber chips.”

Marion County Commission Janet Carlson, chair of the fundraising committee, feels a more final cost figure needs to be secured.

“We need a better number for this as soon as we can,” she said.

Mayor Lore Christopher feels a range can be okay at this point.

“We can have a range of flooring, from X to Y amount,” Christopher said. “I think this is a moving target.”

Carlson likened the cost to a different type of flooring.

“We need to get a range, for different size areas,” Carlson said. “Once we find the price, it’s like getting pricing for carpet.”

Holland showed pictures on his phone of a new large play structure in McMinnville, putting an emphasis on the surface used.

“You spread dust in, which helps with the softness,” Holland said. “In McMinnville, they spread the rubber surface. It looks like wood with all the rough edges taken off. It’s like driftwood.”

In recent months, health concerns have been raised about rubber crumbs from artificial turf causing cancer among soccer players – in particular goalies, whose faces are more likely to come into contact with the turf.

Due to the concerns, Holland has vowed whatever surface is used in Keizer won’t have anything that could potentially make children sick.

“The Big Toy is not going to use it,” Holland said of rubber crumb. “It’s the loose material, the fine shavings. When goalies hit their face on the ground and the stuff goes up in the nose, the chemicals might be causing the cancer. There might be other types of products to put in there instead.”

At recent meetings, Holland has been carrying around a block of the type of product he’d like to use. The base is black and stiff, with a blue-green top.

“This stuff can be used,” Holland said. “This is used in McMinnville. It’s like driftwood from the ocean is what it looks like to me. You can get it in any color. The costs might go down with something like this.”

For nearly a year Holland has talked about being able to get the material at RB Rubber at a good price, but that opportunity seems to have passed.

“They sold that division, so we couldn’t get it there anymore,” he said.

2014 season took toll on gridders’ bodies, spirits

Celt Brady Sparks tries to shake a tackler in McNary’s game with Oregon City High School in the first round of the state playoff tournament. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)
Celt Brady Sparks tries to shake a tackler in McNary’s game with Oregon City High School in the first round of the state playoff tournament. (Photo courtesy of J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

At the beginning of the football season, the McNary High School varsity football team was expected to be a major player in the new Greater Valley Conference.

However, a key early loss and then an ever-growing number of injuries began taking its toll on the team, and the hits, it seemed, kept coming with each successive game. While the Celts finished in fourth place with a 5-3 GVC record, and 5-5 overall record, the season took a toll physically and on the team spirits.

“The injuries this year were very concerning to me, it took a toll on my personal spirits this season as I felt bad for our kids who got hurt,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head coach.

After starting the season with a win over North Salem, the Celts took a loss to Westveiw High School in early September. The team’s hurry-up offense simply proved too much for the Celtic defense. It left the team with a split 1-1 record heading into a game with West Albany High School the next week.

McNary gave up a 20-0 lead in a game that saw the Bulldogs win 28-27 in overtime.

“We lost to West Albany and we probably shouldn’t have. It doesn’t look like as bad of a loss now given how well that team has played this year, but in that moment, that was a tough one to swallow,” Parker said.

The team bounced back the next week to beat McKay High School, and came through in a huge way the next week in a contest with McMinnville High School.

With the scored tied 39-39 going into the final minute, junior varsity kicker AJ Johnk hit a field goal from 30 yards out to win the game with a second left on the clock. While the victory was a high point, the game had taken a toll.

“We went from thinking we were going to start getting healthy to losing both Kyle Torres, our best offensive player, and Lacroix Hill, our best defensive player, for the season,” Parker said. “ I felt like our kids responded well after the West Albany loss and put a little (three-game) winning streak together. Granted, we lost kids to injuries during that winning streak, which showed up big time against West and South.”

After suffering through a shutout by West Salem and 48-14 drubbing by South, the Celts had only one league opponent left, Sprague High School.

“The Sprague game I was very proud of because coming off of back-to-back losses, we found a way to compete and play our best game of the season that night. So while we had our ups and downs, I felt like our kids always found a way to respond and fight,” Parker said.

McNary edged the Olys 34-33 after the Celtic defense came up with some big stops on Sprague’s final drive. But, as with seemingly every victory this season, the Celts also suffered a loss. Against Sprague, junior Parker Janssen went out for the season with a badly fractured leg.