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Month: February 2015

Cheaper surface means Big Toy budget trimmed

0516-NEWS-KEIZER-big-toy-LOGO

By CRAIG MURPHY
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

KEIZERTIMES/File photo
KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
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

By CRAIG MURPHY
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
By ERIC A. HOWALD

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

By E.J. DIONNE JR.

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.)

Mat men escape Vikings 38-37

Celt Wyatt Kessler tangles with a North Salem Viking Thursday, Feb. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt Wyatt Kessler tangles with a North Salem Viking Thursday, Feb. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity wrestling team survived a dual meet with North Salem High School by the skin of its teeth Thursday, Feb. 5.

The Celtics won 38-37. It came down to a few matches decided by pin rather than decision, said Jason Ebbs, McNary head coach.

“Ryan Edsall is a kid who goes out and competes well for us every week, but he doesn’t always come away with the pins. He got one against North Salem and it turned out to be an important one,” Ebbs said.

Edsall got the pin in the second round, scoring six points for the team.

“It came down to having the whole team behind me,” Edsall said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in becoming more of a family and it’s shown on the mat.”

Other winners for the Celts were: Alvarro Venegas, pin in 1:09; Joey Kibbey, pin in 31 seconds; Johnathon Phelps, major decision, 12-3; Carlos Vincent, major decision, 15-7; and Taran Purkey, pin in 59 seconds.

Despite some “oddball” challenges such as a couple of wrestlers not making weight, McNary traveled to a tournament at West Linn High School the next day and won the whole thing.

“We kind of limped into that one, but we’re not looking for excuses for why we lost, we want reasons to win,” Ebbs said.

The biggest notch in the Celtic belt was taking a win over seventh-ranked West Linn High School. McNary came out on top in a close 36-32 final score.

“On paper, that’s not a match we’re supposed to win, but the kids found a way,” Ebbs said. “For every guy they put on the mat, we had someone who stepped up to the challenge.”

Match winners were: Pablo Barrera, major decision, 16-7; Kibbey, pin in 5:02; Brayden Ebbs, pin in 2:36; J. Phelps, tech fall, 15-0 in 5:46; Wyatt Kessler, decision, 6-1; Venegas, pin in 3:43; and Kyle Bonn, pin in 4:54.

The Celtics also beat Barlow High School 46-33 in the tournament. It was something like revenge for the loss McNary took to the Bruins at the Oregon Classic in January.

“That was a match I thought we should have won before, and it was nice to see the kids come full circle,” Ebbs said.

Winners in the dual meet with Barlow were: Kibbey, pin in 5:02; Sean Burrows, major decision, 13-1; Purkey, pin in 32 seconds; Venegas, pin in 2:40; and Bonn, pin in 1:41.

Kibbey said his West Linn and Barlow matches were the toughest of the week.

“They were both tough guys. I kept getting near falls, but they never gave up,” Kibbey said. Kibbey wrestled at 113 pounds in the tournament, but hopes to wrestle at 106 in the district meet next week.

“I’m really happy with the team results this week,” Ebbs said. “There’s a big hand-off of responsibility at this point in the season. We’ve trained hard for three months and it’s time to let the horses run.”

‘No’ vote on charter school

480x270-Salem-Keizer School-District-logo

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

A second draft proposal for a fifth charter school in the Salem-Keizer School District received a negative vote from the School Board on Tuesday on the advice of the school administration.

Superintendent Christy Perry told the board an administrative committee found the second proposal to fall short of a component required by Oregon law and to fall short of several components required by district policy.

The board voted 6-1 to send the proposal back to the developers of Capital Preparatory Charter School. Jeff Faville, who voted for the draft, said he thought it was ready for the Oregon Department of Education, which must approve any such proposal, to review it.

State requirements not addressed in the proposal, the administrative committee had decided, involved a description of the expected results of the curriculum and charter school compliance with state and federal mandates.

Many more deficiencies were found where district policy was concerned. They included several curriculum issues and several issues involving state and federal policy.  Also found not sufficiently addressed were calculation of student membership, several personnel issues, and matters involving finance and budget and staff discipline policies.

In other state-related matters, Perry discussed the new policy of funding full-day kindergarten statewide. She said that full funding has yet to come from the state and that there is no mandate for full-day kindergarten.

“You’ll get a lot more information,” she told the board.

A more positive report involved the Career and Technical Education Center, for which Perry said the building, now under construction, is “looking good.” CTEC will open in September with 180 students.

The board accepted five grants, three from the ODE. The ODE grants were $6,638,403 for costs, mostly involving staffing, of special education and related services; $114,000 for mentoring of beginning teachers; and $13,597 for programs for migrant children;

In other business, the board:

• Proclaimed March 2-6 as Classified Employee Appreciation Week.

• Heard Doris Jarrett of Keizer, a district bus driver, say bus drivers in the Salem-Keizer district are not paid as well as those in other districts of comparable size.

• Heard two people speak from the audience against Planned Parenthood involvement in the schools.

• Approved personnel actions including hiring Sarah Brending as a temporary full-time teacher of English for speakers of other languages for Gubser Elementary School first-graders, and the retirement of Darrell Trussell as a mathematics teacher at McNary High School.

April opening for Gustav’s

Gustav's-Bargarten-LOGO

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Waiting for the new German restaurant to open in Keizer Station?

You’ll have to wait just a little longer.

Gustav’s German restaurants had originally planned to open its 5,500 square foot Bargarten this month. As work continues, that date has been pushed back.

“The target date for opening is mid-April,” Kyle Mallory with Koopman Ostbo told the Keizertimes last week.

Last March, officials with Portland-based Gustav’s signed a lease with California-based Donahue Schriber for space on the corner of Ulali Drive and Stadium Drive in Keizer Station, between Men’s Wearhouse and McDonald’s. Benner Stange Associates Architects, designer of many Keizer Station buildings, was hired as architect of the new restaurant.

Suzeanne Mager, owner and president of Gustav’s, estimated six to eight months for construction when asked for a timeline last spring.

“We’re hoping for a February 2015 opening,” Mager said last May.

The delay doesn’t seem to have diluted Mager’s enthusiasm in the project.

“We’re looking forward to unveiling Bargarten, our modern German concept, in Keizer Station,” Mager said last week. “With a host of other exciting businesses, a baseball team nearby and a growing Salem and Keizer-area demographic, we think this new concept will give people something exciting to enjoy time and again.”

There will be a public hearing for liquor license approval for Gustav’s at the Keizer City Council meeting next Tuesday, Feb. 17. Construction has appeared to be moving along rapidly.

Last May, Mager said she looked as far north as Seattle and as far south as the Eugene area before deciding to build in Keizer Station. This is the company’s fifth restaurant, but the first new one in 10 years.

“It’s been a while in the works,” Mager said at the time. “We’re looking forward to something new. vice president of operations (Rene Briede) and I have spent the last year traveling and researching, evaluating what we wanted to do with Gustav’s. We evaluated what the brand looks like and where to go.”

Mager liked what she saw in Keizer Station.

“The development is great,” she said. “The Salem area has been hungry for something updated and newer. A lot of operators there have moved from other sites. When they moved to Keizer Station, sales went up and outperformed their business plans and continue to do so. Plus they have great anchors there like Target, the REI and the (Kaiser Permanente) medical facility. They are national brands that have a lot of resources to understand demographics and do their homework.”

Keizer players lead Crusaders to big win

T. McAvoy, A. Werst
T. McAvoy, A. Werst

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Two Keizer students at Salem Academy were pivotal in a win that put an end to the dominance of Blanchet High School in a longtime rivalry last week.

Tim McAvoy and Andrew Werst, both seniors, kept their team in the game in the final minutes en route to a 56-53 win.

“I don’t think anybody at the school who remembers the last time we beat them, and all four of our teams won,” McAvoy said.

McAvoy went on a baseline drive for two points and hit a trey to put the Crusaders ahead, but the Cavaliers battled back. Werst hustled to grab a loose ball and took it to the hoop. He was fouled and hit both of his free throws to put Salem Academy up by one in the final minute. Crusader Coen Acker put in the final points from the foul line to seal the win.

“It could have been anybody’s game and every one of their shots was like a punch in the stomach for me and the whole team,” McAvoy said. “But, every shot we made felt like 1,000 points.”

McAvoy had 16 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. The win put Salem Academy at the top of the 3A PacWest Conference with a 10-1 record.

“Blanchet has always been a great team and it was great to get the win in a really fun game,” Werst said.

The team’s only loss of the season came to Blanchet earlier this season and they have only one game left. The Crusaders take on Chemawa Indian School Friday, Feb. 13, at Chemawa.

Werst credited the Crusaders’ tight team bond as the reason for their success this season.

“We have a pretty young team, but the seniors are as close to the freshmen as anyone else,” he said.

This season has been a special one for McAvoy. He was benched for his sophomore and junior seasons after dislocating his knees numerous times.

“I’ve been held back by injuries like that, but the Lord’s let me come back to play the game that I love with the people that I love,” McAvoy said.