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Month: September 2015

KFD chief talks about bond

Keizer fire chief Jeff Cowan (right) talks during the Sept. 17 Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meeting. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Keizer fire chief Jeff Cowan (right) talks during the Sept. 17 Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meeting. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Ambulances are meant to tow people in need of help to hospitals.

Ambulances are not meant to need a tow to a mechanic while a patient needs urgent care.

And yet that’s what the Keizer Fire District has been experiencing.

That is one of the key reasons the KFD is running an emergency equipment bond measure on the November ballot.

Fire chief Jeff Cowan has been busy talking about the measure, talking earlier this month at the West Keizer Neighborhood Association and the Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association meetings, among others.

To underscore the need for new equipment, promotional material put out by the KFD includes a picture of an ambulance being towed.

“The newest ambulance is one we got in 2008,” Cowan said at the Sept. 17 GGNA meeting. “It has been a lemon. It was in the shop for nine months last year. We had it fail twice on 911 calls.”

In 1996, Keizer voters approved a 20-year bond to pay for the KFD headquarters on Chemawa Road. That bond will be paid off in February, with the new bond taking its place if approved. The new bond is for fire trucks, ambulances and various emergency equipment and apparatus.

“Our staffing and service levels have improved,” Cowan said. “Now it’s all about the equipment. We’ve sacrificed equipment for people over the years, because people put out the fires.”

The KFD has 30 career firefighters and paramedics, plus 40 volunteers. Cowan said the personnel are kept busy.

“We’re averaging about 13 calls a day this year,” Cowan said. “Last year it was 12 calls a day. It could be 14 calls a day next year.”

With an average call for response being about two hours, Cowan said adding a second unit has been justified. An engine and an ambulance go to each call, meaning six personnel are on site in case people need to be moved.

“All of the calls put more miles on the ambulance,” Cowan said. “The engine will bounce from call to call. Some days it is gone 12 to 14 hours.”

Two ambulances have already been ordered, which means the fire district will pay itself back if the bond passes. The process had to be sped up due to the reliability issues of the current rig.

“We’re using operational money for the new ones,” Cowan said. “We couldn’t wait. It takes nine months for them to come. They are custom built. An ambulance is right around $250,000. The last one was built on a Ford F-450 chassis, so it’s not a truck grade chassis. It cost $180,000 and we figured we’d be able to rotate it. We went with Freightliner chassis for the new ones. You can put 500,000 miles on it over 10 to 15 years. It’s not really about the miles, it’s about the hours, the cold starts, idling for hours. Ambulances take a lot of wear and tear.”

Cowan said the average rate for the new bond will be $.14 per $1,000 of assessed value. The rate will go down as the population increases, with the bonds being issues in three phases. All told, the bonds will bring in about $6.2 million.

The KFD currently has two engines more than 20 years old, while the ladder truck – bought used from Salem – is 24 years old.

“This thing is 24 years old and has been like a battleship carrier,” Cowan said. “It’s a solid rig. We will have it refurbished for $500,000, one-third the cost of new, and it’ll be good for 15 years. It’ll have new electronics and equipment and will come back McNary blue.”

Other equipment to be purchased if the bond passes include Jaws of Life machines and life packs with EKG monitors.

Mark Caillier, GGNA president, was part of the group that came up with the recommendation for the bond.

“We appreciated that it was what they need, not necessarily what they want,” Caillier said. “We’ve done it in a phased approach to keep the dollars down. As the community improves and gets bigger, the rate will go down. They’re doing really well with what we provide them.”

Boehner climbs off the tiger

By E.J. DIONNE JR.

     WASHINGTON — John Boehner was a deal-maker who took over the House speakership at a moment when making deals had, for many Republicans, become a mortal sin.

     He was thoroughly conservative in a Republican Party that had moved the goal posts on what constituted conservatism. He could never be conservative enough for his critics on the right.

     His tea party antagonists call themselves “constitutionalists,” but they seem to ignore the part of the Constitution that provides the president — in this case, a president from the other party — with veto power.

     The GOP’s most ardent conservatives thought they had won the right to run the country when they took control of the House in 2010. They felt this even more strongly after gaining a Senate majority in 2014. Democrats who controlled one or both houses of Congress when Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were in the Oval Office never presumed they had such power. But the standards Boehner was held to were more exacting.

     Over the years, the Obama White House was divided in its view of Boehner. President Obama, who called the speaker “a good man” on Friday, always thought he could work with him. As a member of the Illinois state senate, Obama had productive relationships with classic, old-school Republican legislators. He saw Boehner in that light.

     But members of the president’s staff were frustrated with the speaker, particularly in the days when Washington was trying to avoid potential catastrophe over a failure to raise the debt ceiling in 2011. One told me then that Obama might be better off dealing with a less amiable figure than Boehner who could actually deliver the House Republican caucus and make deals stick.

     In truth, given the hostility to Obama that runs so deep in the Republican Party, and given the tea party revolt, it’s doubtful that any Republican would have found it easy to deliver. Boehner had a pattern of letting the right push things to the limit, and then agreeing to pass bills with Democratic votes to avoid a complete breakdown in governing. It was the responsible thing to do, but Boehner’s critics saw each moment of responsibility as another sell-out.

     David Winston, a Republican pollster who is close to the speaker, praised his decision to quit as a case of “putting the country first.” Boehner, he said, “always believed in governing and in pushing things forward,” adding: “Shutting things down was not his idea of moving things forward.”

     But Boehner often gave a lot of room to the party’s agitators, feeling he had little choice. After the damaging government shutdown in 2013, he was remarkably candid, telling Jay Leno: “When I looked up, I saw my colleagues going this way, and you learn that a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk. So I said, ‘You want to fight this fight, I’ll go fight the fight with you.’ But it was a very predictable disaster.”

     Pleased, perhaps, that he was finally done with “predictable disasters,” Boehner broke out in song when he discussed his decision to leave in October with reporters on Friday.

     Boehner’s situation often reminded me of a passage from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: “In the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.” Boehner was happy to ride the tea party to the speakership — but to keep the job, he often had to appease the tiger.

     On NBC’s “Meet the Press” in February 2011, for example, he declined to take issue with those calling Obama a Muslim. He said the president’s own statements were “good enough for me,” but added: “The American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can’t — it’s not my job to tell them.”

     That stray “I can’t” said a great deal about the box Boehner felt he was in.

     Boehner, a very committed Catholic, might well see Pope Francis accepting his invitation to be the first pontiff to address Congress as his career’s high point. A man unafraid to show his emotions, he was moved to tears as Francis spoke. Boehner might have been thinking of how hard it was to answer the pope’s call for a “renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity,” a “spirit of cooperation,” and an environment in which people showed “respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.”

     Boehner is a decent man who tried to live up to those words. But his angry and fractious party made this impossible.

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

     (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

The golden age of aid

By MICHAEL GERSON  

      WASHINGTON — Bill Gates is now focused on the eradication of malaria, and parasites everywhere have reason to fear.

     There are, he tells me, two possible places to draw a line across Africa marking the next northward advance of malaria elimination. “If you want to get all of Zambia,” he explains, “you also have to get Katanga” (a portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo where health services are weak). Clearing islands such as Papua New Guinea and Madagascar, he says, should be relatively easy. A new Gates Foundation report argues against malaria containment in favor of malaria elimination — a goal that has provoked skepticism even among some malaria experts. Gates wants to see the plasmodium at Appomattox.

     The billionaire’s main contribution to global health is the manner in which he combines technology, aspiration, resources and rigor. It is the same approach that has chased the polio virus across the world to its redoubts in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

     Gates both drives and reflects a remarkable trend. Over the last 25 years, efforts to help the global poor have been massively ambitious and massively successful. More than a billion people have risen out of poverty. Tens of millions more are in school, or have been saved from infectious diseases. Child mortality was halved, then halved again. More than 9 million people are on AIDS treatment in Africa. It is now possible to set goals in a number of areas — malaria elimination, an AIDS-free generation, the end of extreme poverty — and not be dismissed as a crank.

     Following World War II, America and other nations organized the new economic order by creating durable institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In this generation, a number of remarkably effective institutions to fight poverty and disease have been created that most Americans probably have never heard of. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. And a private philanthropy, the Gates Foundation, belongs on this list as funder and peer.

     This is — implausibly but truly — the golden age of aid. These impressive institutions have clear goals and measurement as part of their DNA. And they have worked in the context of eight broad Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) —  reducing by half the proportion of people suffering hunger, ensuring universal primary education, cutting child mortality by two-thirds, etc. — that were approved at the U.N. Millennium Summit in 2000. The MDGs didn’t do much directly, but they allowed the comparison of progress among countries, encouraging appropriate shame and healthy competition. And the goals gave reformers additional leverage within countries.

     Now the MDGs, rather confusingly, have given way, at a recent U.N. meeting, to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They demonstrate the U.N.’s infinite appetite for acronym and show evidence of committee design. There are now 17 goals and 169 targets. “When I sit with the head of a country, I don’t say there are 169 things I want you to think about,” says Gates, “I pick, at most, four.”

     Yet Gates says he “feels good about the SDGs.” And with good reason. Though less prioritized, many of the goals are specific enough to encourage a new round of ambition. During the current U.N. Summit, for example, PEPFAR announced the goal of reducing HIV infections in young women — a particularly vulnerable group — by 40 percent over the next two years. Officials at PEPFAR are frankly unsure how they will reach that goal. But it is certain to disrupt current practices and drive innovation. That is also Gates’ intention by setting out the goal of defeating malaria in a generation. “There was once 1 million dead [from malaria each year],” he says, “Now it is half a million. But the path from half a million to zero is not just more bed nets.” It will require new methods of diagnosis and treatment to stay ahead of the adapting parasite and to keep moving the malaria elimination line northward in Equatorial Africa.

     Where, outside the best of corporate America, do you see such voluntary, strategic disruption? Such commitment to measured outcomes? It is the precise opposite of the way most people view spending on global health and development. But it is common practice in the golden age of aid.

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

     (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

Netters rebound, beat McKay 3-0

McNary’s Sydney Hunter puts up a block in competition Tuesday, Sept. 22. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Sydney Hunter puts up a block in competition Tuesday, Sept. 22. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s varsity volleyball team bounced back from its first league loss to take a 3-0 win over McKay High School Tuesday, Sept. 15.

“In the second set, it became a five-point game and that was a test, but we came together and pulled it out,” said Lady Celt Jaylene Montano.

Set scores were 25-14, 25-20 and 25-17. Vanessa Hayes led the offense with eight kills on the night. Reina Strand put down five. Kylie Gilmour led McNary’s defense with nine digs and she served up five aces.

“We were communicating a lot more than we did with West Albany, and we created more plays that helped us get ahead,” said Gilmour.

McNary Head Coach Kellie Scholl also credited Valerie Diede with tough play in the match.

The Celtics traveled to North Medford High School last weekend to take part in the Rogue Valley Classic.

The Keizer team swept their pool play opponents – Foot Hill, North Medford and Churchill high schools – to take first headed into bracket play.

“We started off in the first game with a different rotation, but we adapted really well. I think we had really good communication and supported each other really well,” said Montano.

In the first match of bracket play, McNary battled hard with Bend High School and eventually emerged the victors. Set scores were 30-28 and 25-17. That win pitted the team against Roseburg High School and the long drive and longer day began to take its toll.

“We were talking a lot in the morning, but we got a little tired by the end of the day,” said Gilmour.

The Lady Celts lost to Indians in sets of 25-15 and 25-22.

“Reina had a great tournament, she hit and blocked extremely well for us. Sydney Hunter also played well offensively. Both setters, Sam Van Voorhis and Madi Cloyd, did a great job distributing the ball to all our hitters. Shaylee Williams also had a very nice tournament,” said Scholl.

Montano said she wanted to see the team focus on being more consistent with opponents North Salem and Sprague high schools who were next in line. Gilmour said the team still had room to grow.

“I think we’re playing as a team, but we always have room to improve. I think we’ll do fine against both teams,” Gilmour said.

Keizer Chamber, others against transit payroll tax

The Keizer Chamber of Commerce has been pushing against a proposed payroll tax to pay for improved transit service. (Submitted)
The Keizer Chamber of Commerce has been pushing against a proposed payroll tax to pay for improved transit service. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

What’s not to like about expanded local transit service?

Well, the added cost, for one.

That is indeed the case with the Salem-Keizer Transit District’s proposed business payroll tax, which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. As proposed, the tax would levy .21 percent of a business’ annual payroll which would bring in an estimated $5 million a year. That revenue from Measure 24-388 would pay for weekend transit service, expanded evening hours, holiday service and a student bus pass program.

Both the Salem and Keizer Chambers of Commerce have come out strongly against the tax. The Keizer Chamber is holding a Community Conversation on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Keizer Quality Inn and Suites to discuss the issue. Chamber leadership is encouraging business owners to pick up “Stop the employer tax” signs and to visit www.stopemployertax.com.

“We’re asking Keizer employers and employees to help stop an unfair proposed tax,” Keizer Chamber executive director Christine Dieker wrote in an e-mail promoting next week’s forum. “Businesses are being targeted for an employee payroll tax levied by the Salem-Keizer Transit District. Please take a moment to understand the impact this measure will have on local small business in Keizer, if passed. We want to support our transit district, but we believe that there are better and fairer solutions.”

Cherriots officials announced the proposed tax in late June, after transit directors approved the ballot measure at their May 28 meeting. In the spring, transit directors surveyed members of the public to gauge support for either a payroll or property tax to help pay for transit.

The expanded service would be phase two of the transit district’s Moving Forward plan. Phase one started earlier this month with more frequency on busy routes, buses running on a consistent schedule and more cross-town routes with fewer transfers.

“We asked the community what kind of service they wanted to see. The Moving Forward system improvement plan reflects that feedback,” Cherriots general manager Allan Pollock said at the time. “But, in order to implement phase two, additional revenue is required.”

For a business with a payroll of $500,000, the annual tax would be $1,050. Adding back Saturday service would be the first improvement funded.

The Keizer Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee recently voted unanimously to campaign against the employer payroll tax and wrote an argument against the tax for the voter’s pamphlet.

The argument points out the tax will only be on small businesses, meaning governmental bodies will be exempt, even with state government being the area’s largest employer. The argument further notes the tax is double what is collected from ticket fares, may double in 10 years without a public vote, could deter job creation since less money would be available to create jobs and could increase costs for hospitals and medical clinics.

“Our community does not need another tax on small businesses during an economic recovery already scarce of jobs,” the argument reads in part. “This expansion of services is desired, but should be accomplished through a mechanism that is fair to all, not one that targets a small segment of our community. Please stand with the Keizer Chamber against this unprecedented and unfair funding mechanism that is decidedly not good for keeping jobs in the area.”

Barber moved to tears by ServeFest client

Barber David Wells of American Classic Barbershop with ServeFest client Chasen Hedrick. Hedrick suffers from seizures and haircuts help curb their frequency. (Submitted)
Barber David Wells of American Classic Barbershop with ServeFest client Chasen Hedrick. Hedrick suffers from seizures and haircuts help curb their frequency. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

David Wells from American Classic Barbershop in Keizer estimates he did 20 free haircuts at the seventh annual ServeFest Sept. 20 at Keizer Community Center.

The one he gave to Chasen Hedrick is the one he remembered the most.

“He was the cut that stood out for me,” Wells said of the autistic boy, who was at Lakepoint Community Church’s free event with mom Marjorie. “I like doing that kind of thing. Chasen gets seizures when he gets really hot, so long hair is an issue. His mom can’t afford to get it cut as often as she’d like.”

Wells was in a good mood the whole cut, due to his young client.

“He was telling me the whole time how much better he was feeling while the hair was being cut. He was thanking his mom over and over for bringing him,” Wells said. “He had a big smile on his face the whole time. That’s the kind of stuff that helps me appreciate what I do even more.

“It made my day,” Wells added. “It made me smile. I’ve been sharing with my wife, my co-workers, everyone I come across what a good feeling that was.”

Wells’ wife Emily was helping to sweep the floor for her husband as well as barbershop owner David Box.

“My husband was getting teary eyed,” Emily Wells said. “The little guy was so cute. At one point he mentioned he was getting hungry. His mom said, ‘After this, we’ll get you a free hot dog.’ He said this was the best day ever.”

Wells said he enjoys doing haircuts at charity events and called ServeFest the best one he’s done. He plans to return next year.

Before then, Wells hopes to see the Hedricks again. He regrets not getting a phone number for the family but hopes someone can help him contact Marjorie Hedrick. Attempts by the Keizertimes to reach the family were not successful.

“I want to touch base with her,” Wells said. “I would like to continue giving her the service for Chasen at the shop. Bring him in and I’ll take care of him.”

Adopting with faith

The Drahn family of Keizer (from left: daughter Avery, father Matt, mother Breea and daughter Paisley) is looking forward to adopting a young boy from Ethiopia. The family still needs to raise about $30,000 but has faith God will provide. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
The Drahn family of Keizer (from left: daughter Avery, father Matt, mother Breea and daughter Paisley) is looking forward to adopting a young boy from Ethiopia. The family still needs to raise about $30,000 but has faith God will provide. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Avery and Paisley Drahn can’t wait to meet their baby brother.

The 7- and 4-year-old sisters don’t know exactly when the newest addition to the family is coming, what he’ll look like or his name.

But they are still excited.

“We’re sharing bunk beds,” Avery proclaimed with a big smile. “I’m going to be on the top one. We’re going to play with him.”

Paisley was likewise happy to hear the news.

“I was really excited,” the younger and more shy sister said.

Parents Matt and Breea Drahn are excited as well. Even though there are obstacles, they cling to their faith.

“We’ve had friends who have adopted,” Breea said. “It was something we didn’t feel we were called to do. We thought it was a great thing, but we didn’t feel called in that particular area until a year ago. Matt and I wanted to have another child. I was sitting to read the Bible one day. God just broke me. I was emotional. I was almost grieved and upset.”

Breea, 27, met with two close girlfriends who are also her accountability partners. They introduced her to the book “Kisses from Katie,” about a woman who moved to Uganda and adopted 13 girls, following God’s direction.

“It was so inspiring,” Breea said. “I couldn’t put the book down. I told my husband God really wanted us to adopt and maybe that was why I was broken.”

Matt’s reaction surprised her.

“For the first time ever, I said, ‘Yeah, I think you’re right about this,’” recalled Matt, 33. “God totally opened our hearts and placed such a burden for the fatherless.”

The Drahns are working through Christian organization America World Adoption Agency to adopt a boy between the ages of 2 and 5, if not younger. Ethiopia has the largest population of orphans in the world, with 4.6 million children needing homes. One in six children in Ethiopia die before the age of 5, while more than half of the children have stunted growth and development.

On average, an Ethiopian adoption costs between $35,000 and $40,000. The Drahns have raised about $10,000 so far and estimate they still need about $30,000. A gofundme.com account (https://www.gofundme.com/drahnadoption) has been set up, with $445 raised as of Tuesday afternoon.

The family had a garage sale this summer with another coming up next month. They are also selling t-shirts.

“When you look at the numbers, this is a huge step of faith,” Matt said. “But it didn’t cross my mind that God wouldn’t come through. We know He can provide. There have been challenges, but it hasn’t changed our trust and faith in Him. He’s working out the details. When He’s ready, He will allow it to be.”

The Drahns have already seen some miracles. As part of the application process, they had to be honest about issues such as marital problems and Matt’s struggles with alcohol.

“He’s gotten the victory in that,” Matt said of God. “August 28 (2014) was the last sip of alcohol I had and will ever had. God has completely changed my desire and my heart in such a mighty way. I’ve never been more on fire for God than I have right now.”

Breea acknowledges the road is tough.

“Adoption is not for the faint of heart,” she said. “You really have to be called. There are the unknowns, the wait, the cost, all the paperwork. That is why we sought God so much in the beginning. We didn’t want to commit to something so big without knowing for sure. We know God is able. In the right time we’ll get the money. But it is overwhelming. It is scary.”

The Drahns got an anonymous $3,500 donation, plus there was a cool call from Matt’s cousin in Minnesota.

“He called us and said they felt being called to give us their Honda CR-V,” Breea said, noting she and Matt sold a vehicle they could no longer afford. “They paid for our trip there to pick it up. The car is in great condition. It’s amazing to see God work.”

Just to submit a dossier, the Drahns have to raise $6,000 more.

“That money is needed really soon,” Breea said. “The longer we wait to submit, it extends the wait time. If you look up families that have gotten children from Ethiopia, the average time I’ve seen is two-and-a-half years.”

Matt noted there was an unexpected issue: some resistance from family members.

“That was an obstacle we didn’t expect,” he said. “We thought it would be well received. That was a challenge. But it came back to remembering why we are here and why He laid it on our hearts. He’s going to get the glory through it all. Our families have started to come around to us more. We have seen some breakthroughs.”

Within their own walls, family has been on board from the start. Avery and Paisley light up when asked about their upcoming brother.

“We’re very transparent with our girls,” Matt said. “We love God and talk about God all the time. We had some cool first conversations about what God was stirring in our hearts. They were both very excited. They can’t stop talking about bringing their brother home and about bunk beds. Their hearts were ready, too. It’s been so cool for them to be part of the process.”

Salem theatre to present Broadway master class

enlightened-theatrics-LOGO

Enlightened Theatrics along with Broadway Dreams Foundation will present Broadway Dreams Master Class | Vocal Performance:  Acting A Song on Sunday, Oct. 4.

The master class will be held 1-4 p.m. at the Historic Grand Theatre, 191 High St. NE.

The class will feature Alex Newell of Glee, Broadway performer Craig D’Amico and theatre producer Annette Tanner.

Tickets are $5 with two cans of food at the door. For more information visit enlightenedtheatrics.org

Council approves Bowden Estates

The revised intersection of Burbank Street and Trent Avenue. (Submitted)
The revised intersection of Burbank Street and Trent Avenue. (Submitted)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Look at what’s coming around the corner.

More houses – 32, to be exact – are coming after Keizer City Councilors reversed a Hearings Officer decision and approved plans for the houses to go in at Burbank Street and Trent Avenue.

Last month, Keizer Hearings Officer Cynthia Domas denied the plans submitted by Mark Farrow on behalf of Trademark Enterprises LLC for property owned by Robert Bowden and Doug Harner on behalf of JDC Homes LLC to build the homes on 5.73 acres of land.

The key reason for the denial last month was concerns about compromised sight lines at the intersection of Trent and Burbank.

Since then, an alternative design of the intersection was proposed that entailed adding a stop sign at Burbank Street, no parking along two sections of Trent Avenue at the intersection and raised reflective bi-directional placement markers through the intersection. The denial was appealed by Mark Grenz of Multi-Tech Engineering.

“Staff believe this revised alternative addresses the concerns of both the hearings officer and the city engineer and staff supports this alternative,” a memo in Monday’s council packet read.

City staff recommended the hearings officer decision be overturned.

That’s just what happened Monday, with a 6-0 vote.

Farrow said afterwards he was surprised the project was denied initially.

“We thought previously we had everything taken care of,” said Farrow, who was not part of the effort in 2008 to change the zoning for the property. “We wished it had been accepted (last month), but we met with with city staff to make it beneficial for everyone.”

With the approval Farrow, who also recently did the Aldine Meadows subdivision on McLeod Lane, hopes to move forward quickly.

“We hope to start breaking ground in the winter, with buildable lots in the spring,” he said. “We’re hoping to have the first homes ready by the end of next summer or early fall. We’re very excited. Keizer is a great place to be, with good accessibility to the north. Keizer needed good lots to build on.”

According to plans, the lots in Bowden Meadows will range in size from 5,000 to 10,856 square feet.

Councilor Brandon Smith noted a response from the Salem-Keizer School District talked about overcapacity issues at McNary High School getting worse with the subdivision.

“The staff report says the capacity is now at 105 percent and will rise to 107 percent of capacity,” Smith said. “Where do we draw the line? If there are a few more subdivisions, will we be up to 130 percent?”

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, noted that was the school district’s criteria. He also noted SKSD can move boundaries to move students from one school to another, regardless of city limits.

“That is not a criteria for the subdivision approval since we have no way to correct the issue,” Brown said.

After similar questions from councilor Dennis Koho, city attorney Shannon Johnson reiterated what Brown stated.

“You can’t deny solely based on schools,” Johnson said.

There were several questions asked about stop signs to be put up in the area.

“The recommendation is to stop northbound traffic on Burbank,” Brown said. “Through traffic (on Trent) would continue.”

Smith was wary of the intersections not lining up.

“To not have stop signs seems like an accident waiting to happen,” Smith said.

Brown noted councilors had the option of adding more stop signs.

“If you’re convinced the additional requirements are good, you’re well within your ability to require as such,” he said.

Koho asked Farrow about adding stop signs.

“Would it cause heartburn if we had three stop signs?” Koho asked.

Farrow said he’d have to get back on that one.

“I’m not an engineer,” he said. “That’s why I pay one and you pay yours.”

Smith then asked the same question to Grenz, who said adding stops shouldn’t be a problem.

“That was our original proposal, so no, not a problem,” Grenz said. “Our client does not object. Your options are one, two or three. We wouldn’t have a problem with that.”

WMS teacher hits high notes atop Kilimanjaro

Sean Turner (right) with his father, John, atop Mt. Kilimanjaro. The pair trekked to the summit where Turner played the UO fight song on tuba. (Submitted)
Sean Turner (right) with his father, John, atop Mt. Kilimanjaro. The pair trekked to the summit where Turner played the UO fight song on tuba. (Submitted)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Whiteaker Middle School band teacher Sean Turner is never far from his tuba or, at the very least, a tuba mouthpiece. Even when he’s on top of Africa’s highest peak.

While being interviewed, Turner produces a plastic mouthpiece from his pocket to demonstrate the “buzzing” that he uses to keep in practice when he’s traveling.

“It comes with me just about everywhere,” Turner said. However, when Turner was planning a trip to Africa with his father, John, to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, he landed on an idea of a grander scale.

“The trip came together and then I heard that one of my former college professors had acquired a travel tuba,” Turner said. “I thought wouldn’t it be cool to actually play tuba at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Then I thought to contact the Guinness Book of World records to see if anyone had done anything like that before. It turned out they hadn’t.”

While a typical tuba weighs about 20 pounds, the travel tuba weighed less than 10. But, permission to use the instrument came with a caveat: Turner would have to play Mighty Oregon, the University of Oregon fight song, at the summit and capture it on video.

He agreed to the terms and took off for his monthlong vacation last summer.

“When you go through security, everyone has to see the tuba because they think you’re using it to smuggle drugs. At one airport, one of the security officers offered me the equivalent of about $100 for the instrument itself. It costs a couple of thousand, but she was insistent,” Turner said.

It’s a seven-day hike from the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro to its summit and that proved to be just as interesting as reaching the destination.

“In the first day, you’re in the jungle and you’re passing by elephant dung and seeing monkeys. You’re dressed for warm weather and you’ve got seven layers of clothing in your backpack for the summit,” Turner said.

In the first four days of the hike, Turner and his father passed through three different biomes – jungle, low bush and high desert – before spending the final three days hiking through the rocks that comprise the highest points.

“Almost the whole trip up these awful, deathly, white-necked ravens are following you. They don’t go to the summit, but they follow and scavenge the food from hikers,” Turner said.

About two days from the summit, Turner realized that playing tuba at such a high altitude might come with unexpected complications.

“On the third night I woke up to use the bathroom. I got out and looked around and the mist had frozen. Everything was like ice and I started to realize this might be an issue. It was a beautiful sight, though, and it would crunch underfoot,” Turner said.

Sure enough, when the Turners reached the base camp, the valves on the tuba had frozen. Blowing hot air through the instrument loosened them enough to play and Turner played Somewhere Over the Rainbow. He saved the fight song for the peak.

Turner and his father spent the rest of their trip on safari and relaxing in Zanzibar.

“We literally ended up in the middle of a zebra migration. We were parked in the middle of a heard with thousands of zebras running all around the car,” Turner said.

Turner, who has traveled extensively, said the experiences leave him refreshed every time.

“It kind of puts everything in perspective when you see people who are growing food and hunting to survive. It makes me very grateful to live where I do and work with the kids I work with,” he said.

For video of Turner playing at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, visit www.keizertimes.com.