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Month: June 2015

The acceleration of history


     WASHINGTON — Sometimes history speeds up. Rarely in our nation’s 239 years of life has a single week brought such a surge of social change and such a sweeping set of challenges to past assumptions.

     The move against the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina quickly cascaded into a national effort to cast aside commemorations of secession, slavery and white supremacy. This was more than symbolism. It represented something bigger — the nation’s turn toward “thoughtful introspection and self-examination,” as President Obama said in his powerful eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney on Friday.

     For years, the fact that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War was swept under a rug woven of heritage and battlefield glory. Confederate emblems that came into wide public use in the 1950s and 1960s in large part to protest racial equality and civil rights were treated as if they had always been there, representing a “tradition” kept vague enough to hide away slave labor, disenfranchisement and murderous night riders.

     On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided, 6-to-3, to keep the Affordable Care Act whole. To go the other way, as Chief Justice John Roberts argued, would have violated any plausible understanding of what Congress had intended. Roberts’ reasoning was rooted, ironically, in the principles of interpretation put forward by Justice Antonin Scalia. This did not stop Scalia from offering a scalding dissent that gave the nation a vocabulary lesson when he condemned “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”

     Yet if the King v. Burwell case was about a textual dispute, its implications were much broader. In principle, there are no irreversible changes in a democratic republic because everything is always subject to popular review. In practice, some reforms do become irreversible as they are accepted by overwhelming majorities as necessary and normal. Obamacare has not quite reached this point, but it is now on the road to joining Medicare and Social Security as fixtures of social policy.

     And the next day the court made same-sex marriage the law of the land. Few legal cases have more dramatically demonstrated the complicated interaction of personal decisions, social movements, political struggles and judicial judgments than Obergefell v. Hodges. And on few issues has the American public so rapidly changed its collective mind. In Brown v. Board of Education, the court led public opinion. In Obergefell, the court followed it.

     It’s plain how this happened: As individual gays and lesbians came out, more and more Americans realized that someone they cared about belonged to a group that had long been oppressed and stigmatized. Supporters of gay marriage mobilized these new allies, gradually winning victories in legislatures and referendums. These campaigns further turned opinion to the point where Justice Anthony Kennedy could discern a 14th Amendment right to equal protection that did not seem to apply just a few years ago.

     “The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” Kennedy wrote for the majority. “When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”

     Most Americans will agree with this. Despite my own qualms about judicial activism, I found myself cheering his logic and the result. A fair share of conservatives I know are privately happy that the court has begun to take the issue out of politics.

     This does not make concerns about judicial activism disappear, and liberals should be candid: They cheered Roberts’ judicial modesty in the Obamacare case (“we must respect the role of the legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done”) and then criticized him for upholding a related principle in Obergefell (the majority, Roberts charged, “seizes for itself a question the Constitution leaves to the people”). Liberals — myself among them — have also taken Roberts to task on his own brand of judicial activism in tearing apart laws on campaign finance and voting rights.

     Yet these inconsistencies also illustrate something conservatives need to recognize: that social movements, public opinion, the courts and the elected branches are not hermetically sealed off from each other.

     And the core liberal conviction about the Supreme Court, developed during and after the New Deal years, still rings true: that the court plays its most constructive role in our national life when it uses its power to vindicate the rights of beleaguered minorities. This week will be remembered as a stunning moment when our institutions converged to accelerate our long, steady movement toward an ever more inclusive equality.

     E.J. Dionne’s email address is [email protected]. Twitter: @EJDionne.

     (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

Religious and gay rights must coexist


      WASHINGTON — It is often the fate of conservatives to be concerned about the fire code and occupancy limit at someone else’s party. Never more conspicuously than concerning the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges.

     With many friends and relatives celebrating the outcome, judicial conservatives are generally anxious about the process. Beyond the question, “Who benefits?” conservatives are asking, “Who rules?” Should it be judges determining and applying an evolving conception of human rights, or legislatures engaged in the slower, messier work of self-government?

     Social conservatives are correctly upset about a process that grants, in an act of self-dealing, enormous power to an unrepresentative clique of lawyers who cannot imagine any serious moral deliberation beyond their immediate social circle. But social conservatives also need to recognize that, before Obergefell, the process of self-government was moving with unaccustomed haste in the direction of state recognition of gay marriages. And this reflects an extraordinary shift in public opinion toward acceptance of the practice.

     Why has the gay rights movement been so dramatically successful? Certainly, the people who came out to family and friends — often at considerable risk and cost — humanized an abstract debate. Fictional gay characters — see “Glee” and “Modern Family” — did much the same.

     But perhaps the most significant shift in strategy came from public intellectuals such as Jonathan Rauch and Andrew Sullivan who urged gays to embrace the conventional, bourgeois practice of marriage. What had seemed to many Americans a sexual liberationist movement requested access to the institution designed to limit sexual freedom for the sake of social order and effective childrearing (while also delivering joys that arise only out of commitment). Many gay rights advocates essentially made conservative arguments — concerning the individual and social benefits of faithfulness — to secure their legal goal. It is a form of gay rights that Middle America — already inclined to live and let live — could readily embrace.

     As did a majority of the Supreme Court. In the course of his ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy found the “lifelong union” of marriage to be of “transcendent importance.” “Far from seeking to devalue marriage,” says Kennedy, “the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect — and need — for its privileges and responsibilities.”

     Gay people are joining a social institution just as it is fading among some social groups and that heterosexuals have often made a hash of. We have no idea if gays will do better, worse or the same. But they now have a chance to leave their imprint.

     What happens to people and institutions that continue to embrace the traditional view of marriage — the one that President Barack Obama held when he was elected? This conviction has been declared an illegitimate basis for public policy. But will the state regard interactions with institutions that embody traditional views to be contaminating? How will grants to Catholic anti-poverty programs or to students attending evangelical colleges be affected?

     The tens of millions of people holding a traditional view of marriage are not generally motivated by animus (though some, of course, are). Many embrace a certain reading of their sacred religious text, or accept the moral teachings of a religious institution. You may disagree with that reading and teaching, but the people and institutions that hold them are not going away.

     Some of the main architects of the gay marriage movement, including Rauch and Sullivan, are genuine pluralists. They do not intend the advance of gay rights to become a campaign to defund and delegitimize traditional institutions. Such a legal effort would guarantee decades of cultural warfare. Obergefell would then fall into the category of Roe v. Wade, a source of national division, rather than Brown v. Board of Education, a source of inspiration.

     Those who believe that religion in America is about old white men telling them who to sleep with really don’t know much about religion in America. They might visit, for example, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, which, in the wake of Katrina, helped a community crawl back into functionality. This was done with both government and private funds. Religious service providers across the country are meeting needs that most people don’t even notice. Will a legal assault on these institutions be defined as a prerequisite for equality?

     The alternative is a principled pluralism in which gay people can enjoy the institution of marriage and religious institutions can organize, educate and serve according to their beliefs. In a post-Obergefell world, this is an outcome many of us could welcome.

     Michael Gerson’s email address is [email protected].

     (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

Mural timeline still undecided

(From left) Jill Hagen and Lore Christopher discuss the idea of a mural on the north wall of Town and Country Lanes with the bowling alley’s owner, Don Lebold, back in February. The final design and possibly the timeline are still in flux following a meeting this week. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)
(From left) Jill Hagen and Lore Christopher discuss the idea of a mural on the north wall of Town and Country Lanes with the bowling alley’s owner, Don Lebold, back in February. The final design and possibly the timeline are still in flux following a meeting this week. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

For months, this summer or early fall has been targeted as the time for Keizer’s second public mural to be done.

That could be changing, though it’s not certain yet.

Lore Christopher and Jill Hagen, both members of the Keizer Public Arts Commission (KPAC), announced plans in February to put a mural on the north wall at Town and Country Lanes. Not long after, Christopher said the mural would be done in September.

The design of the mural has undergone revisions. What was originally announced as the design was later amended to be a proposed design. The design is now envisioned by KPAC members to be scenes from the Iris Festival Parade.

At Tuesday’s KPAC meeting, the timeline got potential revisions as well. Keizer City Councilor Amy Ripp will be working with KPAC member Rick Day to get the wall – estimated to be 140 feet long and nine feet tall – ready “in the next 30 days” with gray primer and the wording “Everyone loves a …?” in large letters.

Mardi Smith, general manager at Town and Country, had artist Michelle Rotharmel with her, who has done large murals before and will be helping on this one.

Another artist in the room, Wendy Lusby, questioned at one point when the project would be done.

“As an artist, I’m really confused by some of the time frames being thrown out,” said Lusby, a children’s artist from Dallas.

“My vision is we paint the wall (with primer) and get it ready, then we don’t do (the mural) until the spring,” Hagen said. “I really want to wait until the spring.”

That surprised fellow KPAC members.

“I thought we were doing it in September?” Beth Melendy queried.

Christopher also questioned the timing.

“You really want to wait until the spring?” Christopher asked.

Given the scope of the project, which in its current guise would have between six and 10 pictures up to 20 feet wide each, Lusby said Hagen’s timing made more sense.

“I don’t know how we will have time to do it in September,” Lusby said.

Christopher noted when the usual wet weather hits.

“We can’t do it later than the end of October, otherwise we’ll have to wait until next summer,” she said.

Smith noted her parking lot is often full September through May in the evenings with league bowlers.

“We have it every day,” Smith said. “It would behoove us to do it in the summer during the day, before September.”

Christopher suggested a compromise: getting some of the background building and crowd scenes done this fall.

“Then we leave it and do the pieces that will take so long next summer,” she said.

Hagen agreed and noted the time it took for Colleen Chronister-Goodwin to do the Valley Treasures mural at Keizer Florist last summer.

“I think it took Colleen two weeks, with one thing,” Hagen said. “We’re talking nine of those.”

Regardless of the timing, Lusby is eager to help out.

“I am very excited about being involved in it,” she said. “I’m just having a hard time thinking how the big frames will happen.”

KPAC members agreed with a request from Smith to honor Town and Country owner Don Lebold.

“I would like to do a tribute to Don, an avid fisherman,” Smith said. “It would be cool to be the last float in this, with Don casting off into the end of the mural. We’d get the river in that way. It would be great for Don.”

A Town and Country float would be one of the pictures depicted, with Lebold casting towards River Road on the west end of the mural. KPAC members will be going through 400 parade images to select between six and nine additional images to be painted on the wall. Suggestions have included the McNary High School band, the pet parade and the old Keizer Fire District fire truck.

“We would like to pick a lot of images, but it will be too busy,” Christopher said. “If we could cut it down to like seven images and (the Town and Country float) be the seventh, that would work. The plan is to pick out six images you think we should include. By the time we come back, we will vote on the images.”

Hagen amended that by asking KPAC members to select their top nine images.

At the end of the meeting, Christopher clarified the timing at this point.

“The wall will be prepared and primered soon, as well as lettered,” she said. “We’re still on the original timeline for right now.”

“Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist” by Randy D. McBee


Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist” by Randy D. McBee

c.2015, The University of North Carolina Press
$35.00 / higher in Canada
359 pages


You’ll never be accused of missing adventure because you’re too tired.

Two, in fact, is just the right amount of tires; because the weather is perfect and it’s summertime, you can’t imagine riding on more. But how did a simple modification on a bicycle become something that’s represented danger to many people?  Read the new book “Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist” by Randy D. McBee, and you’ll find out.

In the early years of the last century, when “gypsy tours” were organized for the benefit of motorcycle enthusiasts who wanted a scenic ride to a place where they could compete, riding was a fun pastime. That changed in 1947 in Hollister, California, when roughly 4,000 motorcyclists rallied, fought, disobeyed traffic laws, and got drunk and disorderly. Quick-thinking police had the situation under control in no time, but the die was cast: motorcycling became near-synonymous with debauchery.

At that time, there were over 200,000 motorcycles registered for use on highways in the U.S.; by 1950, the number had more than doubled.  In many American minds then, leather jackets, rolled-up jeans, white t-shirt, and a slouch (a la Marlin Brando and James Dean) personified hoodlumism, even though both the uniform and the bikes themselves had been part of “working-class communities for decades.” Still, anyone sporting that look aboard a motorcycle was considered to be a “bum.”

By the early 1960s, motorcycles were more diverse, as were their riders. Japanese bikes were common; women, African Americans, and Hispanics took up riding; and it wasn’t uncommon to see suited businessmen aboard their bikes. Clubs sprung up in suburbs and cities, but although those riders were noted, they were not feared – not, at least, as much as the newly-named “bikers” for whom violence and crime were often attributed. Indeed, says McBee, some clubs became gangs that reportedly committed “’unimaginable’” violence and terroristic crime.

By the ‘80s, being a biker was more mainstream and, while gangs enjoyed notoriety, bikers learned to use their clout to help form laws and offer support. Women took up bikes in higher numbers, as did Black and Hispanic riders who, says McBee, now may be poised to change the future of motorcycling yet again.

Though I liked it, and though I learned quite a bit, I doubt that anyone would consider “Born to Be Wild” as light reading.

No, there’s a lot packed into these pages: author Randy D. McBee offers readers a serious, detailed history of the culture of “biker,” starting almost in the middle of the history of the motorcycle. That’s a nice approach: bookshelves are full of the history of the machine but not much on bikers, other than of the outlaw sort. McBee encompasses many aspects of The Life, including politically-charged issues that might have surprised our forebears, and how riding has become acceptable once again.

Bikers, obviously, will rumble for this book, but they’re not its only audience. Historians and pop-culture fans could also find “Born to Be Wild” is the best thing off two tires.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Canucks rout S-K

Volcano John Riley misses a catch at first allowing the Canadians’ Juan Tejeda to tag up and run for an extra base in the Salem-Keizer team’s home opener. The Volcanoes lost the game 11-2 after piling up runs late in the game. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Volcano John Riley misses a catch at first allowing the Canadians’ Juan Tejeda to tag up and run for an extra base in the Salem-Keizer team’s home opener. The Volcanoes lost the game 11-2 after piling up runs late in the game. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

For the Keizertimes

The Volcanoes opened their 2015 season on the short end of an 11-2 game with Vancouver on June 18 at home.

It was a contest through five innings, with the Canadians leading Keizer 3-0 going into the sixth. Starting and losing pitcher Nick Gonzalez gave up two more runs in the fifth and was relieved by Kirk Singer with two out. Vancouver added three runs each in the sixth and seventh before Fernando Pujadas hit a bases-empty home run in the eighth.

An error in the eighth scored Brennan Metzger for the final run of the game before a crowd of 2,822.

Gonzalez gave up six hits for three runs and had four strikeouts and two bases on balls. The first two Canadian runs came in the third, with a single to left center field by Juan Tejada leading off the inning. An error by first baseman Juan Kelly on a pickoff attempt by pitcher Clinton Hollen sent Tejada to third base. Earl Burl drove Tejada in with a double to left and went to third on an infield single by Alexis Maldonado. Burl scored as Lane Thomas hit into a force out.

In the Vancouver fifth, Christian Vazquez led off with an infield single and Burl walked. Maldonado hit into a force out of Vazquez at second, and Burl and Maldonado pulled a double steal. Lane Thomas scored Burl with a sacrifice fly to center. A wild pitch by Gonzalez moved Maldonado to third, and Juan Kelly walked. Singer took the mound and hit a batter but struck out the next one to end the top of the fifth.

Singer walked Tejada and hit Vazquez with one out in the sixth. Burl reached first by forcing Vazquez out, with Tejada reaching third. Burl stole second and Maldonado singled to left, scoring Tejada and Burl.

Clinton Hollon, Vancouver’s starting and winning pitcher, left after five innings, in which he allowed no runs on two hits, walking one and striking out seven. Jon Wandling took the mound in the sixth, retiring the Volcanoes in order.

Ramon Del Orbe took the mound for the Volcanoes in the seventh. Sean Hurley led off with a double to right center and went to third as Gabriel Cenas grounded out.  Kevin Garcia singled Hurley home. Tejada hit into a force out and went to third on a single by Vazquez. Burl doubled to left, scoring Tejada and Vazquez. The Canadians led 8-0.

In the bottom of the seventh, Conor Fisk took the mound and set the Volcanoes down 1-2-3.

Thomas led off the Vancouver eighth with a single to right and Kelly singled to left. Hurley scored them with a triple to right center. Garcia drove Hurley across by grounding out.

With one out in the Volcano eighth, Pujadas hit the only homer of the game over the left field fence. Brennan Metzger reached first on an error by shortstop Vazquez and Richard Amion walked. Metzer scored as an error by second baseman Thomas put Chase Compton on first.

Eric Sim pitched the ninth for Salem-Keizer, hitting a batter but striking out three. Sean Ratcliff faced the Volcanoes in the bottom of the ninth, allowing a single to Miguel Gomez but no more runs.

Admitting that any baseball team will lose plenty of games in a season, Volcanoes manager Kyle Haines said, “It just stinks to lose before an opening night crowd.” He observed that mistakes by his players “set the tone” and that they “didn’t execute.”

Sim, the most effective Volcano pitcher in the game, is in his first season as a pitcher, having caught for five years in the San Francisco Giants organization. He throws mostly fastballs but said he often uses a breaking ball for his out pitch.

Pujadas, speaking through Gonzalez as an interpreter, was asked what should be done to turn things around. His reply was translated as, “We’re going to have to pull together and click as a unit.”

Ito headed to George Fox’s diamond

Celt alumna Kimi Ito will play softball for George Fox University next spring. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Celt alumna Kimi Ito will play softball for George Fox University next spring. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

As much as Kimi Ito contributed to the Celtic varsity softball team throughout her four years, it was her contributions off the field that the team’s head coach, Kevin Wise, most appreciated.

“Kimi has developed into a leadership person. She is really good with the younger kids and finding things to work with them on,” Wise said.

Ito, who graduated this month and heads to George Fox University to continue her softball career, was a steadfast contributor to the varsity teams since her freshman year. Her new coach, Jenssica Hollen, has known Ito for several years.

“Kimi is a pure athlete that has many tools. We have a strong team returning, but she and Megan (Ulrey) can both make an impact on our team,” Hollen said.

Ulrey also signed on with the Bruins to play for the softball team.

“We’ve known the coach for so long and we fell in love with her coaching style and her personality, but she’s also taught us about a lot of things off the field, too,” Ito said.

Ito, who plans to major in business and marketing, said the small class size at George Fox was a major factor in her decision, as was the distance from home.

“At one time, I wanted to go as far away as possible, but as I got older I realized how important it was to have my family at games and George Fox is only 29 miles away,” Ito said. “I also think at the smaller schools you play because you love to play, not because you’re basically getting paid to do it. The team up there has a lot of heart.”

Ito is likely to resume her role as an outfielder for the Bruins, but she said hitting will require an adjustment.

“For me, I’ve gotten away with power hitting and the small ball will be a challenge,”she said.

During the 2015 season, Ito’s batting average was .459 with 61 appearances at the plate and 21 RBIs. In 14 games as an outfielder, she had only one error. The hitting totals included four doubles, two triples, seven extra-base hits and 20 runs scored.

“You watch her play and she makes it look effortless, but she’s working hard,” said Wise.

Splash Fountain hours (kinda) set

If forecasted high temperatures for Mondays and Tuesdays this summer are below 95 degrees, expect to see this sign at the Splash Fountain behind Keizer Civic Center. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)
If forecasted high temperatures for Mondays and Tuesdays this summer are below 95 degrees, expect to see this sign at the Splash Fountain behind Keizer Civic Center. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

Hoping to use Keizer’s Splash Fountain on Mondays and Tuesdays?

Better hope for extreme heat.

Next week might just qualify.

A heat wave is expected to hit Keizer this weekend, with highs forecasted to be in the 90s through next week. That includes upper 90s on Monday and Tuesday.

If that holds true, it will be enough to open Splash Fountain in Chalmers Jones Park behind the Keizer Civic Center at 930 Chemawa Road North.

Shortly after an inquiry from the Keizertimes on June 18, an announcement appeared on the city’s Facebook page about the summer schedule.

“The Splash Fountain will operate Wednesday to Sunday,” the announcement read in part. “The hours of operation will be from noon to 7 p.m. This schedule will continue through the Labor Day holiday weekend. Please note that the operation will be dependent on the forecasted temperature being 75 degrees or higher.”

On Wednesday Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said the fountain could be open Mondays and Tuesdays, but only if a rather stiff requirement is met.

“Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance unless the forecasted temperature is 95 degrees or above and then it will be open the same hours,” Lawyer said.

The same issue was brought up last year, when the Keizertimes questioned why the fountain, which was first operational on a limited basis in 2010, couldn’t be open on all hot days.

Robert Johnson, parks supervisor for Keizer, gave two reasons last July for the fountain being closed two days a week.

“It gives us time to do routine maintenance,” Johnson said at the time. “We hired a temporary person, not a city employee, to do an offset schedule, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. He can only work five days a week. To have it open seven days a week, we would have to bring in an additional person and the funds are not available.”

Johnson indicated changing the schedule was up to Lawyer, who in turn pointed back in Johnson’s direction.

“Robert makes the decision, based on daily operations,” Lawyer said at the time. “If he wants to run it, he can go ahead and do that. The schedule can be adjusted on really hot days if we want to run it because of weather conditions.”

After a story and editorial ran on the topic last summer, Mondays and Tuesdays were added to the rotation, albeit for five hours per day.

“Robert and I have evaluated the options of increasing the operation of the Splash Fountain to provide additional opportunities for the community to enjoy this amenity,” Lawyer said at the time. “We have determined that we can operate the Splash Fountain on Mondays and Tuesdays from noon to 5 p.m. without a significant impact to the operations budget for the parks system.”

Mom pleads guilty in fatal fire case

Flames shoot out of an apartment on Susan Court Oct. 24, 2014. A 4-year-old was killed in the blaze. (KEIZERTIMES file photo) Upper right: Sosa-Martinez (submitted)
Flames shoot out of an apartment on Susan Court Oct. 24, 2014. A 4-year-old was killed in the blaze. (KEIZERTIMES file photo) Upper right: Sosa-Martinez (submitted)

Of the Keizertimes

A Keizer mom has pleaded guilty in a case involving the death of her 4-year-old son.

Niya Breann Sosa-Martinez, now 24, pleaded guilty to three charges earlier this month, including manslaughter in the first degree. Fire destroyed the apartment on Susan Court Sosa-Martinez shared with her two young children last Oct. 24. Sosa-Martinez was able to get out but 4-year-old Andre Joaquin Sosa died in the fire. His older sister, 6 at the time, was at school when the fire broke out.

A trial was set to begin in late August, but the guilty pleas mean that won’t be taking place. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 22.

In court papers dated June 9, Sosa-Martinez pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge as well as two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, one count for each child. The papers call for a sentence of 120 months in prison. Information from last fall indicated Sosa-Martinez’s husband, Alex Sosa, was already in prison at the time of the incident.

While Sosa-Martinez did not write much in the court papers, what jumps out is her answer about the basis of her guilt.

“I allowed my minor children to remain in my home where I conducted illegal activity by using marijuana,” she wrote in conjunction with court-appointed attorney Ron Gray. “Further, in using marijuana a fire started which caused the death of my 4-year-old son due to my neglect and reckless conduct.”

Sosa-Martinez appeared in Marion County Circuit Court that day before Judge Courtland Geyer. Geyer read off each of the three counts, with Sosa-Martinez pleading guilty to each one.

“Ma’am, are you pleading guilty to these charges because it’s what you did?” Geyer asked her.

“Yes,” Sosa-Martinez responded.

“Has anyone threatened you in any way to get you to enter these pleas?” Geyer then asked.

“No,” Sosa-Martinez said.

“Has anyone promised you anything, other than the promise of the state to make a certain recommendation? Other than that, has anyone promised you anything to get you to plead guilty today?” Geyer asked.

“No,” Sosa-Martinez responded.

At the time of the fatal fire, Sosa-Martinez already had a court case against her for child neglect. She pleaded guilty in March 2012 and was on probation, but police found her with drugs again in 2013.

“I understand you have a probation violation pending right now in docket number 11C47710,” Geyer said to Sosa-Martinez during the June 9 hearing, which lasted less than 15 minutes. “Do you understand that if you plead guilty in this case, you will almost certainly be found in violation in probation in that 11C case? Do you understand that?”

“Yes,” Sosa-Martinez replied.

Shortly after 2 p.m. last Oct. 24, Keizer Fire District personnel responded to a fire call at the Sosa-Martinez residence. The body of her son was found inside shortly after firefighters arrived.

A witness told the Keizertimes Sosa-Martinez did not go back in an attempt to save her son and instead “started texting like nothing was happening. We couldn’t figure out what the hell she was doing.”

Some clues were provided in the initial court appearance for Sosa-Martinez a few days after the fire.

“(There was) the use of marijuana by the defendant’s admission on the day that her child passed away,” Marion County deputy district attorney Katie Suver said at that appearance. “The defendant has a history of marijuana use which has resulted in ongoing criminal sanctions.”

Suver also referenced Sosa-Martinez pleading guilty in 2012 to child neglect and noted the mom had been found in possession of marijuana twice since then.

A way to give that is right for you


My family moved to Keizer in 1964. I was 5 years old and I vividly remember that it rained for months leading up to a flood that year.

I grew up going to Keizer schools and later moved back to the same Keizer house and worked retail until my retirement five years ago. Once I hit that point in my life, I knew I couldn’t sit and watch TV all day. I needed stimulation. I needed to work with people and wanted to make a difference in some way.

Kris Adams (submitted photo)
Kris Adams (submitted photo)

With fond memories of visiting my mom and sister working at Salem Hospital, I became a volunteer. It was a perfect fit for me. I helped patients in the hospital get to and from group therapy. Sometimes they didn’t have a support person, so I chatted with them and helped out. The nursing staff appreciated me and treated me well. I loved going and just felt invigorated being able to help people.

I now help in the volunteer office. I take calls and answer questions from potential volunteers. In the office two days a week for four to five hours each day, I feel like I accomplish something every time. It is pure joy to know that my time isn’t wasted, maybe even a little selfish that I love feeling thanked, appreciated, and rewarded for giving back.

Getting started

First, find a place that fits your skills and background. The Red Cross, the food bank, the hospital, the Humane Society—there are so many places that have a need. Are you a people person? A pet person? Someone who likes office work? A driver? Make some calls and inquire.

Next, be sure you understand the commitment. You need to show up or you could leave the organization in an uncomfortable position. Find a role that fits your schedule.

Finally, be patient and take your volunteering seriously. Sometimes you have to jump through a few hoops to be a volunteer. Then, the rewarding part begins.

Limitless opportunities

I also joined the Salem Hospital Auxiliary and had a blast eating pizza and stuffing Awesome 3000 packets with a fantastic group. I am exploring how we can accept credit cards at the craft sale. The money we raise goes toward student scholarships. I also help out a few friends with errands and chores.

My latest endeavor is being part of the Keizer Points of Interest Committee working on a kiosk project that highlights the history of Keizer floods. Can you guess which one I’m working on? I love the research and even found a book my parents kept about the 1964 flood.

There is a part of everyone that can give in some way. Find a passion, hobby, skill or interest you can parlay in giving back to this wonderful community.

(Kris Adams averages about 25 hours a week volunteering. Friendly, customer-oriented community volunteers are needed at Salem Hospital in the volunteer program. Please call 503-561-5277 to reserve a seat at the next information session or visit to learn more. Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older.)

(Kris Adams lives in Keizer.)

CERT thanks supporters

To the Editor:

Keizer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) would like to thank V2 Dentistry, the McNary High School football team, and Keizer Young Life for helping us set up June 19 for our annual garage sale June 20-21. We couldn’t have done it without them. They helped by putting up 20 x 20 tents, canopies, load and unload our storage units. They went above and beyond.

Bonnie Dunn