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Day: February 20, 2015

Boys cage McMinnville, need rally to beat West Salem

Celt Trent VanCleave lays up a shot in McNary’s game with McMinnville High School Friday, Feb. 13. McNary won 57-42. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Trent VanCleave lays up a shot in McNary’s game with McMinnville High School Friday, Feb. 13. McNary won 57-42. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

A tie at the end of the first half in a game between the McNary High School and McMinnville High School’s boys varsity basketball teams ended in a 57-42 win for the Celts, Friday, Feb. 13.

The Grizzlies were first to the board, but a pair of quick buckets by McNary senior Devon Dunagan gave the Keizer team a 6-5 lead.

“We played really well and had a few too many turnovers, while they made some good adjustments,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach.

Both teams turned the ball over on several possessions in a low-scoring 11-7 first period, but McNary’s Harry Cavell, Mathew Ismay and Dunagan drained baskets from the line to take control going into the second period.

As the half wound down, Celt Cole Thomas put in one from the foul line and another from the paint to help McNary hold on to a four-point lead, but the Grizzlies had the game tied up at 21-21 with 1:45 left in the half. McMinnville went up 23-21 on their next possession, but Dunagan laid one in to knot the game before retiring to the locker room.

“I think we closed pretty well and we had a good field goal percentage in the second half even though we weren’t there in the first half,” said Celt junior Trent VanCleave.

Ismay put McNary up 25-23 as the second half started and a tougher defensive stand on the part of the Celts kept McMinnville six points. The Celts outscored the Grizzlies 18-13 in the final frame for the win. Midway through the fourth period, VanCleave, a point guard and McNary offense runner, took a hard fall but returned to the game by the end of the night.

“I jumped out and my legs got kicked out from under me. It was all back, and there was a big knot, but I didn’t want to sit out and get stiffer.,”  VanCleave said.

Cavell and Dunagan had 13 points each on the night; Thomas had eight; Tregg Peterson, who was kept out of the paint for most of the night, had seven points; Ismay put in six; Cade Goff and VanCleave had four each; and Connor Goff hit two from the foul line.

Three days prior, Tuesday, Feb. 10, the West Salem High School Titans had McNary on the ropes for much of the game.

“We didn’t start with good energy and it wasn’t there for the longest time. Sometime in the fourth quarter, something clicked. Maybe we were in desperation mode,” VanCleave said.

The Titans outscored the Celts 17-7 in the first frame, but McNary edged back into the game with a 15-11 second period. West held on to a 46-34 lead at the third frame buzzer. Only a runaway fourth quarter saved the game. The Celtics poured in 26 points to West’s 14.

“We were certainly nervous. We shot terribly even though we seemed to get ones that looked good,” Kirch said. “On the other hand, West is a good team and guarded well.”

The rally tied up the game just in time to send the contest into overtime where the Celts outscored West 8-2.

Peterson scored 26 points for McNary; Dunagan put in 20; Cavell had 12; VanCleave had nine; and Cole Thomas and Connor Goff had two each.

Final approval given for Area C development plan

A look at the Area C development plan as formally approved by the Keizer City Councilors at their meeting Tuesday night. Bonaventure is building a 154-unit senior living facility, while Mountain West is building 180 apartment units that will be on either side of an expanded McLeod Lane. (KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson)
A look at the Area C development plan as formally approved by the Keizer City Councilors at their meeting Tuesday night. Bonaventure is building a 154-unit senior living facility, while Mountain West is building 180 apartment units that will be on either side of an expanded McLeod Lane. (KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson)

Of the Keizertimes

The ending was somewhat anti-climatic.

For years a war of words surrounded development in Area C of Keizer Station.

By the time the Keizer City Council gave final approval Tuesday of plans calling for 180 apartments and a 154-unit retirement community, only a handful of people were in the audience – most of whom were people who had put the plan together. No one from the audience spoke.

The majority of discussion among councilors centered around sidewalks. Councilors approved the order by a 6-0 vote, with Dennis Koho abstaining from a vote and discussion due to a potential conflict of interest.

In short order, a master plan and lot line adjustment were approved and three previous orders for the area were repealed.

“A lot of my life got repealed,” mayor Cathy Clark quipped.

The approval Tuesday – a day later than usual due to President’s Day on Monday – was a formality after councilors approved the joint proposal by Mountain West Investment and Bonaventure Senior Living last month, which had been the first time councilors discussed the project.

Representatives from the two companies first met with city officials last September and soon after started meeting with neighbors.

A previous proposal to do commercial building – a rumored 116,000 square foot Walmart was the lightning rod – a few years ago was vigorously protested, in particular by Kevin Hohnbaum and his Keep Keizer Livable group. The plans from 2011 were hotly debated. A revised plan from the fall of 2012 was eventually passed, but nothing ever came of that project.

The previous groundwork in terms of a master plan for the land was utilized as the starting point for the current proposal, with an amendment deleting the previous medical office and substituting in the retirement community.

That seemed to be in the distant past on Tuesday as city attorney Shannon Johnson focused on two new additions to a staff report, a table listing off-site improvement fees and a description of sidewalks that will be constructed in the vicinity of the development, which will be along Chemawa Road and an expanded McLeod Lane.

“Earlier today I talked to the mayor about any concerns and she brought up one of sidewalks,” Johnson said. “I think there was a general understanding between city staff and the applicant of where sidewalks should be when (the project is) built out. The question was what should be done in the first phase.”

Thus, an 84th and final condition was added, calling for sidewalks to be built on the east side of Chemawa from the Chemawa/Lockhaven Avenue intersection to the southeast corner of the retirement community, from the existing sidewalk next to Countryside Church to the McLeod/Chemawa intersection, through Area C to the southeast corner of the area and on the opposite side of the McLeod/Chemawa intersection abutting retail development in Area C-2, continuing on McLeod past the multi-family development to the southeast corner of the development adjacent to the railroad tracks.

The sidewalks must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as Keizer street standards. The sidewalk sections need to be constructed before occupancy permits are issued.

“So this section 84 is brand new,” councilor Brandon Smith said, looking out to the audience. “Is the applicant aware of this?”

The answer was affirmative, with Community Development director Nate Brown noting the new agreement is on top of a previous requirement for sidewalks down Chemawa.

“The additional sidewalk along Chemawa on the south side is something where they will pay an amount to the city and the city will then construct a sidewalk within two years,” Brown said.

The off-site improvement fees are assessed in proportion to the share of transportation improvement costs, based on the number of estimated trips shown in the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA). Included are costs for the apartments and retirement community and several potential future retail buildings.

“The reason we wanted to do this is not for the current applicants but because we don’t know how long it might be before other phases come in,” Johnson said. “The idea is if someone just wanted to build a retail store, they would know exactly what had to be paid.”

In response to more sidewalk questions, Johnson explained the change.

“Unlike the first Area C plans where it would all be built at once, it’s clear now there may be a gap (between phases),” Johnson said. “These developers are putting in a lot more than required for their development.”

Cheaper surface means Big Toy budget trimmed


Of the Keizertimes

Expenses for the Big Toy have been chopped by a quarter.

A motion was approved at the Feb. 10 Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting to hold off on getting a top-line surface for the play structure at Keizer Rapids Park.

A similar motion was approved the week before at the Community Build Task Force meeting.

Plans now call for a poured-in rubber surface to be pursued for later, if grants can be secured. In place of the poured-in surface, engineered wood fiber is now the choice.

The impact on the budget is notable.

The Big Toy budget lists expenses as being $416,509.80, including $105,000 for rubber surface materials.

Mark Caillier, general coordinator for the project scheduled to be built by community volunteers in a five-day span from June 10 to 14, said the $105,000 was on top of $45,000 already part of the $191,119 listed for construction materials.

Subtracting the $105,000 means a total of $311,509.80 would have to be raised. As of the Feb. 3 CBTF meeting, a total of $205,948.86 had been raised.

“The poured in material could be added later,” Richard Walsh said at the Parks Board meeting. “We can have the city apply for a grant for the pour-in-place cover next year. (The surface) is the largest ticket item. This makes the whole Big Toy project very doable.”

Caillier said cost estimates from project consultant Leathers and Associates in late January had the engineer wood fibers costing about $3 a square foot for the 15,000 square foot project, or $45,000. A ground rubber surface was estimated at $7 a square foot, while the pour-in-place surface was $10 to $13 a square foot.

“We had in our budget the $45,000 for surfacing,” Caillier said this week. “We raised it $105,000 after getting some rough quotes (for the pour-in-place surface).”

At the Feb. 3 CBTF meeting, Keizer Public Works director Bill Lawyer said the wood fibers would meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. He also noted a pour-in-place surface would need time to set.

“With poured into place, the playground will not be open when construction is done,” Lawyer said.

Marlene Quinn, chair of the CBTF, liked the idea of going with the cheaper option and trying to get grants later for more.

“We can get it done and built now,” she said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to doing wood fibers now.”

Caillier pointed out the pour-in-place surface also has to be cleaned every 30 days to keep the warranty valid.

Lawyer said city staff would not have time to apply for the grant this year.

“We’re not going to be able to get it done,” Lawyer said. “We don’t have the time as staff to get it done.”

Volunteers could pick up the slack, however. When Lawyer mentioned the staff time issue at Tuesday’s Keizer City Council meeting, no fewer than three names of people who could help were suggested in the span of several minutes, with councilor Amy Ripp among those offering to help.

At last week’s Parks Board meeting, Lawyer said if a grant is secured later for the pour-in-place surface, the wood chips put down initially could be reused.

“If it is two years out, we can use those chips in other parks,” he said.

Quinn, who also serves as the council liaison to the Parks Board, feels the pour-in-place surface is in the future for the Big Toy.

“It will happen, it’s just a matter of when,” Quinn said.

Celtics to top ranks in two weight classes at district meet


Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s varsity wrestling team will have two no. 1 seeds headed into the wrestling district meet Friday, Feb. 20.

The event gets underway at 10 a.m. at Sprague High School in Salem.

The two wrestlers entering the tournament as top seeds are at opposite ends of the spectrum wrestling-wise. Senior Alvarro Venegas will go in as the top-ranked wrestler in the Greater Valley Conference – and the state -– at 195 pounds. Freshman Brayden Ebbs is the district’s top-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds.

Venegas, who has dropped about 30 pounds since his freshman year and sculpted what remained, has been waiting for this moment for a long time. His record this season is 42-1.

“I feel like everything I’ve done has paid off. If I keep following in the footsteps of the other wrestlers, I can win it and it’s something I really want,” Venegas said. “I also want as many other guys going to state with me as we can manage. Brayden is going to be a district champ and Wyatt Kessler has a great shot.”

Ebbs’s journey to this tournament started well before he became a member of the varsity ranks at McNary, as a longtime member of the Celtic Mat Club.

“From the beginning of the year, my goal was to be the best. I’m pretty sure … I wanted .. I know I’m going to win this title,” Ebbs said.

He’d like it to come down to a finals match between him and either Trent Martinez, of Sprague, or Christian Guerrra, of Forest Grove High School.

“They’ve both beat me this season and I’ve beaten them. I don’t want to leave any tournament with the other guy having a better record than me,” Ebbs said.

Celt Jonathon Phelps will enter the tournament as a second seed. His brother, Michael Phelps, is seeded third. Several other Celts round out the top five spots headed into the district tourney.

“We’ve got some good seedings and kids in position to exceed their seeds and do a good job,” said McNary Head Coach Jason Ebbs, father of Brayden. “Every one of them is going to have to win one or two tough matches. That’s what it will come down to. This week all the small lifestyle things like managing weight and getting sleep will matter.”

In their final dual meet matches Thursday, Feb. 12, the Celtics beat Sprague 39-30 and Forest Grove 55-17.

Match winners against Forest Grove were: Ebbs, the younger one, decision 4-2; Sean Burrows, pin in 3:09; Carlos Vincent, major decision 18-8; Ryan Edsall, pin in five seconds; Gage Mance, pin in 1:17; Taran Purkey, pin in 59 seconds; Venegas, pin in 1:56; and Kyle Bonn, pin in 5:11.

Versus the Olys, match winners were: Joey Kibbey, pin in 4:52; Riley Repp, decision 6-0; Ebbs, decision 6-4; J. Phelps, decision 5-0; Vincent, decision 16-11; Purkey, pin in 1:17; and Venegas, pin in 1:51.

Keizer lawmakers react to resignation

Thatcher, Post, Kitzhaber
Thatcher, Post, Kitzhaber

Of the Keizertimes

As Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation Feb. 13, state Sen. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) had her hands full.

With her 2-year-old grandson, that is.

Yes, as an Oregon governor resigned under pressure for the first time in state history, Thatcher wasn’t at the capitol.

“I wasn’t here on Friday,” said Thatcher, who moved over to the Senate this year after 10 years in the House of Representatives. “The Senate doesn’t hold meetings on Friday, so there was no reason to be here. Plus I had agreed to watch my grandson, so I was up to my eyeballs starting on Thursday night with a 2-year-old. I was not hanging onto every Facebook post and tweet.”

Thatcher didn’t know the news until seeing a message from her brother-in-law, at which point she checked the news.

Kitzhaber had come under increasing pressure from leaders on both sides of the aisle to resign, due to issues surrounding how fiancee Cylvia Hayes got state contracts as well as criminal investigations into Kitzhaber’s actions.

“I have always had the deepest respect for the remarkable institution that is the Oregon Legislature; and for the office of the governor,” Kitzhaber’s statement read in part. “And I cannot in good conscience continue to be the element that undermines it. I have always tried to do the right thing and now the right thing to do is to step aside.”

At the same time, Kitzhaber displayed a defiance.

“I must also say that it is deeply troubling to me to realize that we have come to a place in the history of this great state of ours where a person can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced by the media with no due process and no independent verification of the allegations involved,” Kitzhaber said later. “But even more troubling – and on a very personal level as someone who has given 35 years of public service to Oregon – is that so many of my former allies in common cause have been willing to simply accept this judgment at its face value.”

Secretary of State Kate Brown was sworn in as Oregon’s new governor on Wednesday morning at the state capitol.

Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer), who took over Thatcher’s former seat, was in the capitol last week when the resignation news came out.

“Here’s what I was struck by, being in this building: it was historic first of all,” Post said. “Wednesday through Friday the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I kept thinking, ‘This is the term I was elected, when this event takes place?’ Whether a person likes or doesn’t like what the governor did, it was without a doubt a historic moment and those of us in the building will be forever imprinted on Oregon history. I am very hopeful that Gov. Kate Brown will be willing to work with both sides of the aisle to make Oregon a better place for all of us.”

Thatcher noted things were business as normal – as much as could be, at least – last Thursday.

“On Thursday, the Senate president (Peter Courtney) told us he requested Kitzhaber to resign,” Thatcher said. “He told us he had done that. There was a lengthy discussion about how it was distracting. It was sort of a distraction and a distraction with the media as well. Legislation like automatic voter registration was dwarfed, with concerns not brought up in the media. We’re still holding meetings, but what’s happening there is being put on the backburner as far as letting the public know what’s going on.”

Speaking for herself, Thatcher said her nose was buried in her job, not the news.

Love transcends societal rules

Moments of Lucidity

Joanie spent most of the day I met her on the couch where I had just started work as a vocational care provider for developmentally disabled adults.

Joanie was in her 60s, her face pruned by time and caving in around her eyes and gums. She was mostly non-verbal, and needed assistance walking. I don’t know if an enunciated word ever passed through her lips. She made keening noises when she wanted attention. Without warning, she would begin to cry.

For the previous three years, my job was providing independent living care for the same adult population in Eugene, but anyone who has done so will tell you the burn-out rate is staggering. Whatever barriers you are told to put in place crumble under the weight of simple human interactions, like trying to explain to a client why they pay rent for six months and, one day, the light bulb ignites with a brilliance that’s humbling. You get attached. When I left the house I helped supervise after two years, I sat in the driveway and bawled for 15 minutes.

Upon my arrival in Portland – my wife’s employer transferred her to the Rose City – I was determined not to go back to in-home care. But, I was open to vocational work. I would only have clients for eight hours a day and send them back to their in-home care. As my co-workers gave me some background on the various clients I would see throughout the day, Joanie was the one that concerned me most. I was told that when she likes a person, she would take their hand and try to “bite” them. It was actually more of a gumming.

From that day forth, I made it a point to spend a certain portion of my day sitting next to Joanie, talking about the weather, life, and whatever I thought might be on her mind. Eventually, we began taking drives around the metro area just to get us out of the warehouse that was our work site. On one of those drives, she reached across the console of my Pathfinder and took my hand in hers.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to the developmentally disabled population. It was never motivated by pity. It might have been a desire to understand the world better and show them that there were people who valued them. It might have been my cousin who struggled with more mild versions of the clients I was caring for. It might have been my own diagnosis with epilepsy and knowing that, not so long ago, people with my condition were thrown into hospitals or closets while their families did their best to forget them.

However, when I think back on those days, I realize now that the influence looming largest was that of my adoptive grandparents Peggy and Bill Berry. They adopted a baby girl in 1962. Six months later, they discovered she would likely suffer from moderate developmental disabilities for the rest of her life. They were given the option of giving her back to the adoption agency and members of their family pressured them to do so. It was too much to ask, it would be too hard. Peggy and Bill never gave in to the “rules” imposed by social mores of the time. In later years, Peggy would say she dreamt of a child before going to the adoption agency. At the agency, the baby placed in her arms was identical to the one in her dream. Katrina was meant for her.

After my biological grandmother’s death, Peggy asked me if she and Bill could be my grandparents, too. Hearts find a way to fill their holes.

I met Katrina long before my “adoption.” She was a buoyant spitfire who could overwhelm you with questions that she wouldn’t give you time to answer before moving on to the next one. The answers, I don’t believe, mattered. What mattered was that you listened. The one time Peggy and Bill tried to place her in group home, Peggy only made it around the block before returning and taking her back home. Katrina lived with her parents her entire life. Her mind was perpetually stuck in the questioning world somewhere between 5 and 10 years old, but she knew what it meant to love and more what it meant to be loved unconditionally.

After a long period of deteriorating health, we lost Peggy last year. Last week, Katrina passed in the chair her mother had occupied. It wasn’t a place she’d occupied frequently since Peggy’s death. Grandpa Bill is now my last living grandparent, and loved all the more for it.

But, for Bill, and Peggy, too, what I feel for them goes beyond love. The only word I have for it is respect. Respect for standing by a daughter whose struggles were insurmountable. Respect for the strength they showed in ways small and large for 53 years. Respect for withstanding the slow burn of of life and finding joy even in its challenges.

All of my family members in developmentally disabled care – I refuse to call them “clients” from this moment forward – taught me about the Peggy and Bill’s bottomless well of resilience and how we learn to love despite the obstacles in our paths.

When Joanie brought my hand up to her mouth that day, I let her “bite” me. When anyone offers us unconditional love, we are fools to reject it. Rules be damned.

(Eric A. Howald is Associate Editor of the Keizertimes.)

The subversive FBI director


In the days of the civil rights movement, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was focused not on the quest for justice but on his fear of Communists.

In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his magisterial biography of Martin Luther King Jr., Taylor Branch tells of a 1956 Eisenhower administration meeting during which Hoover “expressed no sympathy for civil rights and painted an alarming picture of subversive elements among the integrationists.”

As an example, Hoover informed the Cabinet that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley—the patriarch who became a bane of the left—had come close to publicly criticizing President Eisenhower for not taking stronger action after the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi.

“I hasten to say that Mayor Daley is not a Communist,” Hoover said, “but pressures engineered by the Communists were brought to bear upon him.”

The absurdity that he felt it necessary to recite the words “Mayor Daley is not a Communist” tells us what we need to know about Hoover’s frame of mind.

Last Thursday’s speech by FBI Director James Comey at Georgetown University was remarkable on its own terms, but revolutionary in the context of his agency’s history. You wonder if Hoover would have accused Comey of subversive intent.

“All of us in law enforcement must be honest enough to acknowledge that much of our history is not pretty,” Comey said. “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups.”

He explained why he keeps on his desk a copy of Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s approval of Hoover’s request to wiretap Dr. King: “The entire application is five sentences long, it is without fact or substance, and is predicated on the naked assertion that there is ‘Communist influence in the racial situation.’” He calls agents’ attention to the document, he said, “to ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them.”

And who would think an FBI director would cite “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” a song from the Broadway hit Avenue Q? His point: “Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face.”

Yet Comey was unabashedly pro-cop. He fondly recalled his grandfather, William J. Comey, who rose to head the Yonkers, New York, police department. “Law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest-hit neighborhoods,” the FBI director said. “Police officers —people of enormous courage and integrity, in the main—are in those neighborhoods, risking their lives, to protect folks from offenders who are the product of problems that will not be solved by body cameras.”

Comey wasn’t just giving a let’s-respect-each-other speech. He argued that the problems of race, racism and injustice go deeper than policing. His two most concrete suggestions were a call for “more and better data related to those we arrest, those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety, and those who confront us,” and support for President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

He urged attention to the “the disproportionate challenges faced by young men of color,” noting that “the percentage of young men not working or not enrolled in school is nearly twice as high for blacks as it is for whites.” The goal should be to “grow drug-resistant and violence-resistant kids.”

Let’s face it: If Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder had given the same speech (and they’ve said many of these things), the response would have been political and in some cases nasty. This only underscores why it was essential for the words to come from a white director of the FBI.

Was Comey trying to shift some of the heat away from police and toward society as a whole? No, because he was clear on law enforcement’s need to examine and reform itself. But yes, he was trying to concentrate our energies on the root causes of crime, and good for him.

It’s worth remembering that liberals were once attacked for being “root causers” trying to downplay the problem of criminality itself. But maybe it takes a cop’s grandson to prod us to act on both the problem of racism and the economic, sociological and familial challenges faced by young African-American men.

In this sense, Comey really is a subversive. He’s trying to subvert and thus transform a debate that leads us into ideological cul-de-sacs. He must stay at it.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Monied college sports need reforms

The line between college and professional football appear to have become more and more blurred with each passing season.  Just the other day, for example, the media announced that one Vernon Adams, who has been a star quarterback with Eastern Washington University and could play there this fall in his senior year, has switched schools to play at the University of Oregon.  His move adds up to money considerations and that’s what professional football’s all about.

Last week during national signing day, the UO reported 22 signees for the 2015-16 football season.  These signees will be granted the same if not greater financial-aid through lavish scholarships from the university similar to what’s promised Adams and will receive cost-free tuition, the benefit of free tutoring with classroom assignments, use of one of the finest workout facilities in the United States, no-cost transportation, meals and accommodations at away UO football games and other secret free stuff and privileges unknown to non-athletic students. Again, it’s money, money and more money.

Incidentally, among the UO signees, with those lavishly attractive scholarships, is not one single Oregon high school player.  Instead, the anticipated roster of 22 includes nine from California, three from Washington state, three from Hawaii, two from Georgia, and one from other states, numbering among the big-time winners for a free college education and possible NFL draft status if they perform on the gridiron as hoped.  OSU football has announced one Oregon signee.

Meanwhile, coach Mark Helfrich is the only one associated with the UO football program who’s actually from the state: he hails from Coos Bay.  Helfrich is believed to be the highest paid among Oregon’s public employees.  He recently signed a five-year contract extension where he will receive $3,500,000 a year plus other perks, an amount, incidentally, close to $3 million more than the UO president who administers the entire university.

It would seem that some measures of reform are in order, that Oregonians would rise up as one to protest what’s happened to state scholarship money as the composition of Oregon’s public college football teams is foreign-built.  Were authority granted to Oregonians to bring change to our big state schools wouldn’t the following take place:

1.  Separate the football programs from any participation by the team players in classes or campus activities during the football season because the team players are now professional athletes.  They are paid through means that attempt to disguise their non-amateur status by which money is thrown at them to provide them a free ride.  Since they are essentially professional athletes, let them enroll for classes and work on their college degrees throughout the reminder of the academic year but not during fall term.  Further, chances are greater they’d receive a real college education that way.

2.  Winning has always meant a great deal but nowadays it’s become the only value with little or no sportsmanship or character-building taking place as can be seen by law-breaking incidents among the players. Hence, let the support of school football programs be totally self-sufficient.  Thereby, no more student assessment fees, regular students serving football players as tutors, and the use of state taxpayer money to quietly fund this and that football-related matter at OSU and UO.

3.  Let coach salaries come only from game proceeds and alumni giving.  Since football at the state schools is no longer an amateur sport, keep the coaches out of PERS as they now only skew the numbers by their ridiculously high salaries so that those who find fault with PERS use them as examples to attack, as profligate, all PERS retirees.

It is hoped that the next president of UO will make a real and sustained effort to bring about a balance there between sports programs and academic pursuits.  That he or she will embrace the mission established in UO’s 1876 founding to make certain that those who come to learn enjoy and gain the most from their years on campus. That Oregon’s public university in Eugene be governed by the trustees and UO president and less so by the deep pockets of wealthy alumni who favor a sports win, win, win mentality while not much of anything else for which a university has been dedicated to stand for and serve is a consideration to them.

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)