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Councilors revise ‘99 truancy ordinance


Of the Keizertimes

It was a blast from the past for members of the Keizer City Council meeting.

At their Dec. 15 meeting, councilors revisited 1999 ordinances regarding truancy for youth in Keizer. City Attorney Shannon Johnson noted he had discussions with police chief John Teague about truancy and curfew ordinances. That resulted in a new truancy ordinance which revises what happens to a juvenile who is out of school, as state law requires children ages 7 to 18 who have not graduated to be in school. The new ordinance also allows authorized school district personnel to issue citations similar to state law for students in violation of the ordinance.

The curfew is in effect during regular school hours. Due to the minor changes to the curfew ordinance, Johnson recommended only an amendment, not a repeal of the 1999 ordinance.

Johnson noted the presumptive fine for violating the ordinance will be $200.

“The state has the level at $320,” he said. “We felt that was on the high side, so we changed it to $200.”

Councilor Cathy Clark, who takes over as mayor next week, had flashbacks to nearly 20 years ago.

“Wow, talk about a time trip,” Clark said. “When this issue first came up, it was one of the first times I came to testify to the city. As a homeschool parent, truancy talk was sweeping the nation. Sometimes homeschool students were being unduly stopped.”

Teague recalled those concerns being brought up in 1995.

“Truancy is a different matter,” he said. “This is a true truancy ordinance. Previously we were not allowed to go into a home or private place to fetch students and take them to school. Eight times a month we’re asked to take a middle school or high school student and make them go to school. We’ve never been able to make that happen.”

Teague said state education leaders want 90 percent attendance, a goal not met by 931 of the approximately 6,000 students in Keizer last year.

“There are 125 students who have less than 70 percent (attendance),” Teague said. “Those are the ones we are really focused on.”

The ordinances were approved unanimously by councilors.

In other recent council business:

• For the second time in 2014, a new owner for Ringo’s Tavern was introduced during the Dec. 15 meeting. At the April 21 council meeting, Jan Moravek was billed as the new owner of the bar located at 4170 River Road N. However, the deal fell apart and no sale happened.

The most recent applicants are Feng De Lei and Kelly Yee, both of whom were at the meeting. Yee noted De Lei will not be changing the name of the bar and added he was translating for De Lei.

When asked if De Lei was familiar with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) responsible vendor program, Yee answered affirmatively.

“He will do everything he can to prevent from selling to minors,” Yee said. “He has previous experience. He had a restaurant in Stayton and has a tavern in Albany. I don’t think he had any problems with serving to minors. He’s a pretty smooth operator.”

Councilors approved the request for the liquor license unanimously without comment. The request was forwarded to the OLCC.

• Councilors approved several recommendations from the Volunteer Coordinating Committee (VCC). Donna Bradley was appointed to the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory board, joined by Dylan Juran. The Parks Board openings were created since members Brandon Smith and Roland Herrera join the council next week.

Kris Adams was approved to join the Keizer Points of Interest Committee while Dennis Dunning and John Maurice are joining the Traffic Safety/Bikeways/Pedestrian Committee. Michael DeBlasi and former councilor Mark Caillier were appointed to the Storm Water Advisory Committee.

VCC members are recommended Bradley for the Keizer Budget Committee. Mayor Lore Christopher, however, noted council wants new volunteers only serving on one committee. Christopher said she had talked with Bradley, who expressed a desire to serve on the Parks Board.

Christopher thus made a motion for recommendations from the VCC to be approved, with the exception of Bradley being appointed to the budget committee. With no comment from councilors, the motion was approved unanimously.