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Day: August 6, 2015

The Boss Bass

on-the-wild-side

Intimidated by a bass? We’re talking about Bud, an Oregon logger. A guy that straps on cork boots, throws a 32-inch Stihl over his shoulder, heads up mountains–that would give Lindsey Vonn pause–and falls giant firs to make a living.

Intimidated by a three pound bass? Really?

One of Bud’s responsibilities is five cows and their 500 gallon water tank. A float keeps the water level consistent. Mosquitos discover the pond and lay eggs. Hundreds of larvae are soon flitting around the tank.

Bud comes up with a solution, fish to eat the larvae. He sneaks into a neighborhood pond and commanders a couple of small bluegill.

Too many larvae for two puny bluegill. He needs more fish power. Back to the pond. Lucky catch. A three pound bass. Larvae soon disappear.

Bud is feeling pretty good about solving the tank problem. He comes out one morning and the half-eaten body of a bluegill is floating on the surface. Two days later, same with the other one. Boss Bass is eating the bluegill.

A few days later, a rain storm flushes a starling nest down the rain gutter into the tank.

This has happened before. Bud usually dips out the debris with his hands.

On the second dip something grabs his finger, jerks his hand down all the way to the elbow. His shriek of pain brings Lucy, the dog barking in fear.

Bud’s mangled finger is bleeding. The bass chewed up a work-hardened finger. Bud thinks it has to be a freak incident. Another bleeding finger.

Hunger. The bass must be hungry with the larvae gone. Feed the bass. Bud sifts through the compost pile and comes up with a dozen fat nightcrawlers. Night crawlers are snapped up as fast as they are dangled in the water.

Boss Bass has to be full. Finger three is now bleeding. Over the next few days Coy, Bud’s significant other, is amused as she watches her tough, logger guy approach the tank cautiously, dangle a crawler in the water, then jump back. He admits, he is totally intimidated by a three pound bass, confined in a steel tank.

It’s one of those days when the stars and planets are aligned. Bud and Coy have garden work to do. Bud shovels compost into the wheelbarrow, systematically selecting fat crawlers for Boss Bass.

Coy carefully wheels the compost past the water tank, weaving her way through cow pies deposited by cows coming for a drink.

Old bossy–right out of a Chick-fil-A commercial–comes for a drink, just as she does ever day at this time.

She lowers her muzzle into the cool water, licking her lips in anticipation.

Suddenly, she rears up on her haunches, lets out a bellow that would make a raging bull proud. Boss Bass has latched onto her tongue.

Now, it gets exciting. She does a half flip, with a minus one rating, launching Boss Bass ten feet in the air.  Nine hundred pounds of bovine comes crashing down on the nose of the wheelbarrow creating a fulcrum, catapulting Coy–and load of compost–into the air.

Bud is in awe of the scene before him. Does he rush to Coy’s aide, or save Boss Bass? Boss Bass is flopping wildly down the slope, barn cat Tommy, in hot pursuit. Coy has landed in a fresh cow pie, covered with two inches of thick, black compost, a couple of night crawlers dangling from her hair, describing Old Bossy’s ancestors at a pitch beyond the threshold of pain.

It isn’t as bad as he thought it would be, sleeping by himself out here in the old rusty camper behind the barn. Tommy, the barn cat, can be pretty good company. He seems to enjoy watching Bud jump when he eases a nightcrawler into the tank.

Council previews infill impact

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Coming soon to the Keizer City Council: discussion on land infill.

If that doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic, spare some sympathy for members of the Keizer Planning Commission.

“The last three meetings of the Planning Commission were spent on land infill,” commissioner Jonathon Thompson told councilors on July 20. “We talked a lot about design standards. We talked about garage and carport openings and how much can be in front to accommodate narrow lots. We talked about lot size.”

Thompson said there was also good discussion about necessary reporting.

“We spent a lot of time on reporting requirements, i.e. how much information needs to be submitted to the city,” he said. “We tried to balance the needs of neighbors and developers. The standards we came to are ones you could probably draft up at your kitchen table. We also want to make sure infill is compatible with neighbors.”

Thompson noted the city’s Housing Needs Analysis completed a couple of years ago showed the city doesn’t have enough housing to meet future growth.

“We don’t want to create a hardship on those trying to help with that,” he said. “We’re trying to find the balance. I hope you have as much fun going through it as we did.”

Mayor Cathy Clark expressed her appreciation for the “highly detailed work” done by the commission.

“We have infill happening right now,” Clark said. “Projects submitted now are under the current code. How will this impact infill applications in the future in regards to density and infill?”

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, noted new code would not apply retroactively.

“The design standards are being increased significantly,” he said. “It’s consistent with the kind of construction we see going on. The details are lengthy. There are some concerns and anxieties out there and we will hear those in the hearing.”

In other business July 20:

• An update was given on the roundabout project scheduled to be constructed next fall at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane. Councilor Kim Freeman mentioned the intersection near the end of the meeting.

“I want to give a shout out to Bill Lawyer for fixing the hole at the four-way stop at Chemawa and Verda, but it is still a nightmare,” Freeman said. “The intersection is not very nice.”

Lawyer, the Public Works director for Keizer, said there’s a reason why the city’s part of the project – moving water lines prior to other entities doing their work – was slowed.

“We ran into a huge concrete blob as we tried to put the water main next to it,” Lawyer said. “We didn’t anticipate it. Then we ran into another 24-inch concrete blob. We had to pull back and reevaluate. We cold patched it until we can figure out the next step.”

Speaking of the roundabout project, Lawyer said he received notification the Oregon Department of Transportation now has possession of four of the five parcels of land needed for right-of-way acquisition, with the last one done pending a mandatory 30-day waiting period.

• Police chief John Teague noted the annual National National Out is on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Information about locations is available on the Keizer Police Department’s home page (http://www.keizer.org/Police/).

“Smaller cities do it at one park, but we decided the spirit of the evening is neighbors meeting neighbors,” Teague said. “We had about three dozen locations last year and expect the same this year.”

Mayor Clark mentioned one NNO event on Newberg Drive will have music.

• Teague also said a person caught after doing a number of car clouts last holiday season, mainly at Keizer Station, had been sentenced that day to 10 years behind bars.

“She’s a bad character,” Teague said. “Breaking into cars carries significant consequences.”

• A proposal to amend the makeup of the Community Build Task Force was approved. Most of the task force’s work was done once the Big Toy was constructed in June, but there is more yet to do.

“Our job is not done,” said councilor Marlene Parsons, who has chaired the CBTF since it was started in 2013. “It’s not just fundraising, but also to work on future maintenance. We also want to still raise money for a pour-in-place surface to put in next spring.”

Members of the smaller task force will be Parsons, Richard Walsh, Janet Carlson, Brandon Smith, David Louden, Lore Christopher and Ron Freeman. A dedication of the Big Toy is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m.

• The council’s work session on Monday, Aug. 3 will still be at 5:45 p.m. but the location has changed. Councilors will be taking a tour of the new Career Technical Education Center at 3501 Portland Road NE in Salem. The CTEC is expected to open to students this fall.