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Month: August 2016

Volcanoes approaching final stretch

480x270-Volcanoes

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

This time Hillsboro did the overpowering.

A Volcanoes Stadium crowd of 3,355, more than the attendance figures of the two previous games put together, did not see a series sweep Friday, Aug. 19.

The visiting Hops won 7-1, outhitting Salem-Keizer 14-5, including three home runs.

The visitors started early. Jason Morozowski led off the first inning with a home run over the right field wall. Volcano starter Matt Krook then gave up an infield single to Mark Karaviotis and struck out the next batter. Luke Lowery singled to center, but Krook settled down and got the nest two men to ground out.

It was 1-0 for three innings, with the Volcanoes threatening twice. A second-inning double to left center by Ryan Howard was followed by three outs. In the third, Manuel Geraldo doubled down the left field foul line, but two were out, and starter Bo Takahashi retired Ashford Fulmer.

Hillsboro widened its lead in the fourth. Alexis Olmeda led off with a single to right, and Manny Jefferson walked. Krook retired the next two men, but Morozowski singled to center to drive in Olmeda. Karaviotis singled to center, scoring Jefferson. Karaviotis tried to stretch his hit to a double, but center fielder Fulmer threw to shortstop Howard, who applied the tag.

The only Salem-Keizer run was scored in the fourth. Heath Quinn led off with a single to left center and went to second base on a wild pitch.

Krook, who became the losing pitcher at 1-2, was replaced by Kendry Melo with one out in the fifth. Melo retired the next two batters. Left fielder Gio Brusa made all the putouts in the top of the fifth, the second with a running catch.

Takahashi left the game after six innings and became the winning pitcher with a 3-1 record.  Riley Smith pitched the seventh and Tommy Eveld the eighth.

Melo pitched shutout ball in his 2-2/3 innings. John Timmins relieved him at the start of the eighth and yielded solo home runs to Lowery and Olmeda, both over the right field fence.

In the Hillsboro ninth, Ben DeLuzio led off with a double down the left field line. Morozowski walked. Karaviotis singled to right, scoring DeLuzio. Morozowski scored on a wild pitch. Curtis Taylor pitched the ninth for the Hops and gave up a double to right by Ryan Kirby but retired the other three batters.

“They’re young kids,” manager Kyle Haines of the Volcanoes said. “They’re growing, and they have their ups and downs.”

Aug. 20: Volcanoes 6,

Tri-City 2

A decisive win, helped by five Dust Devil errors, opened this road series.

Salem-Keizer led all the way except for a 1-1 tie after two innings and out-hit Tri-City 7-3.

Two Volcano newcomers, pitcher Stephen Woods and outfielder Woody Edwards, performed well. Woods, the starting and winning pitcher, had six strikeouts in his five innings. Edwards, leading off and playing center field, had a single and a walk, stole a base, and scored a run.

Among Tri-City’s fielding woes was a seventh-inning error by left fielder Josh Magee that put the batter, Gio Brusa, on third base. Brusa scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Howard.

Raffi Vizcaino pitched the last four innings for the Volcanoes for his first save. The losing pitcher was Dust Devil starter Cal Quantrill, with an 0-2 record.

Aug. 21: Tri-City 5,

Volcanoes 3

The Volcanoes were never ahead in this one.

It was a pitchers’ duel through four innings. In the bottom of the fifth, the Dust Devils, with a 1-0 lead, added three runs on four singles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly.

Two of Salem-Keizer’s runs came in the eighth. Seldom-used Julio Pena led off with his first home run. Zack Bowers walked, reached second base on a wild pitch and third on a groundout, and scored on another wild pitch.

In the Volcano ninth, Heath Quinn doubled, went to third as Ryan Howard singled, and scored on a single by Ryan Kirby.

Victor Concepcion, the Volcanoes’ starting pitcher, had seven strikeouts but took the loss with a 4-6 record. Eric Lauer, the Tri-City starter, got the win at 1-0, and Jesse Scholtens had his first save.

Aug. 22: Volcanoes 2,

Tri-City 0

Pitching was dominant in this game and gave Salem-Keizer a 2-1 edge in this road series.

Starter Mac Marshall allowed no runs and struck out seven but walked eight and was relieved by Nolan Riggs after four innings. Riggs was the winning pitcher at 3-0, and Patrick Ruotolo got his third save.

Two Dust Devil errors gave the Volcanoes a run in the first inning. Ashford Fulmer reached first base on an error by right fielder Luis Asuncion, and a bad throw by second baseman Nate Easley allowed Fulmer to score.

In the sixth, Fulmer singled, stole second base for his 11th steal, and scored as Gio Brusa tripled.

Tri-City starter Joey Lucchesi was the losing pitcher with an 0-2 record.

Aug. 23: Tri-City 13,

Volcanoes 2

The Dust Devils evened the series at 2-2 in a big way.

Although Tri-City outhit Salem-Keizer only 14-12, the hosts bunched their hits in the four-run fourth inning and the five-run fifth. The Volcanoes scored a run in the eighth and one in the ninth.

In the Volcano eighth, Manuel Geraldo led off by reaching first base on an error, advanced on a single by Ashford Fulmer and a passed ball, and scored as Ryan Kirby hit a sacrifice fly. In the ninth, Kevin Rivera led off with a single, advanced on singles by Dylan Manwaring and Woody Edwards, and scored on a single by Geraldo.

Starter Will Headean was the winning pitcher at 4-4, striking out seven in his six innings. Volcano starter Garrett Williams took the loss and is now 0-1. However, Matt Pope and Jeff Burke pitched well in relief.

Salem-Keizer hosts Eugene beginning today, Saturday and Sunday.

The Volcanoes final three home games are Sept. 3-5 against Boise.

Grant money will pay for dev. studies

480x270-City-of-Keizer-Logo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The City of Keizer will be dusting off some older economic development studies in hope of finding a new vision for the future of the Iris Capital’s business districts.

Keizer was recently awarded a $165,000 Transportation Growth Management Plan grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation to update studies revolving around three business corridors – River Road North, Inland Shores and Cherry Avenue Northeast.

“The grant will pay for consultants, public outreach, analysis and transportation studies,” said Nate Brown, Keizer’s community development director. “We’ll be looking at how we can encourage economic development in all three areas.”

The new studies will fall under the umbrella of the Keizer Revitalization Action Plan.

The last study of River Road North was called the River Road Renaissance (RRR) plan and it was conducted in 2003. Consultants met with city staff and residents to create a more cohesive vision of what River Road might become.

RRR tackled challenges from making River Road more pedestrian friendly to assigning “zones” in which local businesses were supposed to take leadership in revitalizing.

Much of the verve and vigor the plan hoped to ignite fizzled when the economy collapsed in 2008. Then the plan lost a major funding stream when an urban renewal district was sunsetted, but there have been some lasting impacts. Several points of interest were identified and commemorated with plaques and monuments, meandering sidewalks were installed in some sections of River Road and some storefronts were refurbished with the assistance of city-funded grants – Keizer’s Economic Development Committee (KEDC) is currently hoping to reinstitute a comparable grant program. Even the city’s public arts program, which is now handled by its own commission, was an offshoot of the original RRR endeavor.

Other aspects of the plan went unrealized. Some of the most prominent ones include a call for quarterly festivals attracting visitors to River Road; an increase in workforce housing (building vertical) as properties were redeveloped; more pedestrian crossings; and even potentially relocating a civic building, such as the post office or a library, to a more central space on the corridor.

At the time it was adopted by council “none of the actions appeared to be beyond reach,” but a slow economic recovery has vastly changed the landscape. As recently as a few weeks ago, Mayor Cathy Clark presented her vision of a redeveloped River Road that included vertical development with housing on top of retail spaces, but another member of the committee suggested that price tag would be well beyond the city’s means.

The Cherry Avenue plan focused on providing infrastructure for future development and was completed. With grant funding, the city will look at the best options for growth and what obstacles exist for further economic development.

The last time the city detailed a plan for the Inland Shores area was 1991.

The studies funded by the grant will look at ways to develop thriving neighborhoods that meet the forecasted housing needs of the city with an emphasis on convenient transportation.

Third time’s the charm in 7-hour manhunt

Submitted by KPD
Submitted by KPD

A man found sleeping on a lawn in north Keizer sparked a seven-hour manhunt Monday, Aug. 29.

Shortly after 8 a.m., officers from the Keizer Police Department were called to a report of a suspicious person sleeping in a lawn in the 700 block of New Terrace Drive North, part of the Terrace Green Neighborhood Association in north Keizer.

Two officers responded to the call and made contact with the subject who was identified as 29-year old Michael Allen Schwindt.  Within minutes of identifying the suspicious persons officers learned he had a warrant for his arrest issued by the Marion County Circuit Court. The warrant, issued on Aug. 24, was for 18 counts of identity theft.

While attempting to take Schwindt into custody, he escaped from the officers fleeing on foot through the surrounding neighborhood. Several other Keizer officers in both marked and unmarked police vehicles responded to the area establishing a perimeter while a K-9 team from the Salem Police Department responded to assist with tracking the fleeing suspect.  The search was callexd off about 9:45 a.m.

By mid-afternoon the Keizer Police Department received another call of a suspicious person in the same general vicinity of the earlier call who was reported to be wearing the same clothing Schwindt was wearing earlier in in the day when he ran from the officers.

A second perimeter was set by Keizer officers and the K-9 team from the Salem Police Department responded a second time to search for the suspect, but once again officers were unsuccessful in locating the suspect.

Investigating officers determined Schwindt had a relative living in the 6800 block of River Road North and one officer remained in the vicinity of that address on surveillance.

At about 2:40 p.m., officers saw a relative of the suspect return to her residence and made contact with her. A search of the residence revealed several items within the residence had been disturbed and there were indications someone had accessed the attic crawl space from inside the residence.  Additional officers and tools were brought in to search the attic.

A short time before 3 p.m., officers confirmed Michael Schwindt was hiding in the attic area of his relatives’ residence.  Because his relative resides in a multi-dwelling housing complex. After establishing contact with the subject, he was taken into custody without any further incident.

Michael Schwindt was transported to the Marion County Correctional Facility where he was lodged for the warrant alleging 18 counts of identity theft.  The bail for that warrant is $200,000.  In additional to the warrant, Michael Schwindt was arrested for one count of burglary, one count of escape and for one count of trespass. His bail for the latter charges was set at $50,000.

Anyone having additional information about this incident is asked to contact Officer Jeremy Worledge at 503-390-3713 Ext. 3493.

Bowling alley changing owners after nearly 50 years

Jayne Sonognini is transitioning into the ownerships of Town & Country Lanes in south Keizer. She is taking over the business from Don Lebold, the owner for the past 49 years. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Jayne Sonognini is transitioning into the ownerships of Town & Country Lanes in south Keizer. She is taking over the business from Don Lebold, the owner for the past 49 years. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After 49 years under the same owner, a new face is taking the reins of Town & Country Lanes.

Jayne Sonognini is in the process to transitioning ownership of the business from Don Lebold, whose name is practically synonymous with bowling in Keizer.

“We decided to do the three-month transition to make sure it’s a good fit for both of us. I want to keep the business community-based even though there are going to be changes,” said Sonognini. “Right now, I have a three-year plan and I’m hoping at the end of it the whole place will be looking pretty new.”

One of her first priorities, when the transition is complete, is getting new score-keeping monitors.

Sonognini moved to Keizer 16 years ago with her family after running some of her own successful businesses. Now that she is somewhat through taking care of family, she decided to get back into the workforce.

“Don and I have been teasing each other back and forth about me taking over and it just ended up being the right time,” she said.

While some of her plans are still works-in-progress or waiting in the wings, she’s already started trying to bring in new customers.

“Last Saturday night, we had our first karaoke night and it was a blast. We had people coming in just for the karaoke. We had 3-year-olds who were singing, 60-year-olds who were singing and everyone in between,” Sonognini said.

The next karaoke nights are scheduled for September 10 and October 8.

While branching out into new areas is one focus, she’s also expanding the options for bowlers. For the first time, Town & Country will offer flex leagues this fall. Participants can come in any time they want to bowl except for Friday and Saturday nights and the bowling alley will keep track of their statistics.

“It’s really aimed at people who don’t have the time to commit to a certain night every week, or those who are just interested in getting started. We’re trying to offer them something as an alternative to a sanctioned league,” she said.

A 12-week league starts at $15 a week, but bowlers can pay $20 a week and go home with their own bowling ball at the end of the season. The 16-week league is $10 per person or $15 for bowling ball package.

Sonognini was already a longtime patron at Town & Country, but she said the response to her becoming the new owner has been overwhelming.

“I’ve had nothing but total backing from every bowler I’ve met here. I knew a lot of them, but I’ve had a lot just come up to me and ask to shake hands,” she said. “I want to do a painting party when it’s time to redo the interior, and so many people have offered to come and help.”

Double-dipping robber gets 11 years

E. Creemedicine
E. Creemedicine

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Keizer’s One Stop Smoke Shop was robbed twice by an armed man earlier this year, and he’s headed to prison for 11 years after pleading guilty to the crimes in court Monday, Aug. 22.

Earl Creemedicine, 33 of Stanwood, Wash., was arrested on July 12 after a traffic stop when Keizer Police Department Sgt. Jeff Goodman spotted a vehicle believed to have been involved in a robbery that occurred in Salem.

Creemedicine pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree armed robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and attempted unlawful use of a weapon. Creemedicine was charged in connection to 11 robberies between March and July, but several were dismissed as part of his guilty plea.

KPD Det. Andrew Phelps had investigated an armed robbery at the One Stop Smoke Shop on March 21. When Phelps responded to the report of a second robbery on July 11, he and Officer Kevin DeMarco had an opportunity to review video surveillance footage where they observed the suspect committing the robbery. Phelps determined the suspect in both incidents had similar physical characteristics, clothing and gun.

Creemedicine entered the business with a gun and tried to gain access to the cash register while the owner locked himself in a room and called police. Creemedicine was unable to open the cash register, but made off with a key belonging to it. He fled the scene and officers searched the area, but were unable to locate him.

Working off a description of a vehicle that was reportedly involved in a Salem robbery, Goodman arrested Creemedicine in the 4900 block of River Road about two hours later.

Although Creemedicine’s permanent address is in Washington, investigators determined he resides in Keizer from time to time.

Creemedicine will also have to pay restitution in amount to be determined.

Oregon State Fair returns

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The Oregon State Fair returns to Salem beginning Friday Aug. 26, bringing rides, exhibits, concerts and more elephant ears than are found in the African savanna.

The fair runs daily through Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days. It will stay open to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for kids and $1 for seniors. Veterans get in free on Monday, Sept. 5. Discounted admission tickets are available at Safeway locations and unlimited carnival ride wristbands are available at Walgreens locations. Parking is $5.

In addition to full access to the fair grounds, 6,000 concert seats are available to fair attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. The line-up of acts includes Foreigner (7 p.m., Aug. 26); Tommy James & The Shondells (7 p.m., Aug. 27); Luis Coronel (4 p.m., Aug. 28); Hunter Hayes (7 p.m., Aug. 29); Melissa Etheridge (7 p.m., Aug. 30); Jeremy Camp & Mercy Me (6:30 p.m., Aug. 31); Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo (7 p.m., Sept. 1); Montgomery Gentry (7 p.m., Sept. 2); Theory of a Deadman (7 p.m., Sept. 3); and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (4 p.m., Sept. 5).

VIP tickets are available to each of the concerts for $35 and include admission to the fair, reserved seats, preferred access to concessions and a chance to win a meet-and-greet with the band.

Ongoing events include a laser light show at 9:45 p.m. each night; Machine Mania, a motorsports series, featuring monster and tuff trucks as well as races; and STREAM, a series of exhibits and demonstrations focusing on the intersections of science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math.

The fair also features a stacked slate of competitions for those looking to put their best foot, or even facial hair, forward. Numerous animal, food and art competitions will be held throughout the week, the 4-H Dog Show will be held August 20 and 21; The Art of Not Shaving Contest is slated at 6 p.m. Aug. 29; Oregon authors and poets will take the stage to talk about their craft and make themselves available for book signings on Authors Day, August 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and celebrity chef Simon Majumdar, frequently seen on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, will judge the Oregon Salmon BBQ Contest on Sept. 3 at 5 p.m.

For the full schedule of fun and entertainment, visit oregonstatefair.org.

Simonka Place numbers contradict homeless counts

simonka-place

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

When Dianna arrived at the doorstep of Keizer’s Simonka Place last October, she simply stood outside the shelter and cried for a while.

It took most all of her resolve to actually open the door.

“I was at my lowest of lows. I never thought I would be out of a job, that I would be at a homeless shelter. It was that fear, that pride,” Dianna said. The Keizertimes is not using her last name to protect her privacy.

Dianna spent four decades as a certified nursing assistant before her own mental health issues, including bipolar depression, finally cost her the career in early 2015.

“I had enough to keep my apartment through April, then I was living with a friend,” she said.

She didn’t know what to expect as she entered Simonka Place, which is operated by Salem’s United Gospel Mission (UGM), but the people she met there are slowly and surely helping her back toward independence.

She said a welcoming intake interview, a case manager “so full of energy and laughter” that it put her at ease, and a newfound religious faith have all been part of her recovery. She was set up with a spot in Simonka’s dayroom with about 10 other residents before getting moved to a less dense area after a surgery in November.

“They saved my bed for me and I didn’t expect that,” Dianna said. “Even the other residents are great. When someone is sick or having trouble, we do our best to take care of each other.”

She’s now working with an attorney to begin receiving Social Security benefits.

“I’m so much more peaceful and calm, they’ve helped me with so much, right down to helping me get new glasses through the Lion’s Club,” Dianna said.

While Dianna appears to be on a path to success, her story is just one of many residents at Simonka Place could tell. And, unfortunately, the numbers don’t seem to be decreasing.

A problem of scale

At a meeting of the Mid-Willamette Homelessness Initiative in June, Jeanine Knight, director of UGM’s women’s ministries, took issue with the purported headcount of the area’s homeless.

“They were saying the total number in Marion and Polk counties was somewhere in the range of 600 to 800,” Knight said. “Serving primarily women and children, I’m seeing those numbers, and we’re a third the size of the men’s ministry in Salem. It’s hard to get firm numbers, but the number they were discussing seems low.”

Since September 2015, Simonka Place has provided services to nearly 700 unique visitors (584 women and 109 children). That’s an unduplicated headcount and doesn’t include people returning to Simonka Place repeatedly. Simonka Place has about 90 beds and averages about 10 residents a night sleeping on the floor.

While Knight is loathe to turn away those in need of assistance, the sheer numbers of people needing services like those Simonka Place offers has prompted a closing of ranks.

“Right now, we are trying to limit what we do to just Marion and Polk counties. It doesn’t mean we’ll deny someone a bed for the night, but if they aren’t local and can’t commit to a recovery program, we’re really just warehousing them,” she said.

On a recent trip to Portland to look at the services available there, Knight was shocked to find that women in the state’s largest metropolitan area don’t have a facility offering the same types of services.

“There are places for those who are dealing with addictions – some type of behavior that has taken control of their lives – but what do you do if you’re a woman who has lost your job, or your relationship ended, you’ve gone through whatever savings you’ve had and you’re not used to being on the streets?”

Unlike straightforward addiction treatment programs, Knight said Simonka Place attempts to address its residents’ most basic needs and then ask the question, “Are you ready to commit to ending your homelessness?”

“If they can, we help them – and there is no ticking clock. If they can continue to make progress, then we will continue to work with them,” Knight said.

Not an echo,

a reverberation

Since joining the UGM staff a decade ago, Knight said she has come to view homelessness in a new light.

“There’s lots of stereotypes of the homeless, but I’ve come to see them as people who have trauma and are trying to figure out how to survive,” she said.

Knight said the case managers at Simonka Place are frequently able to identify addiction, mental health, domestic violence and physical disability issues in residents’ pasts. However, unlike an echo that would diminish over time, the inner battles the residents are waging against themselves are as real as the day the first volley was fired.

“For a woman who has had an abortion, the pain of that is just as real 20 years later as it was the day it happened,” she said. “The same goes for a woman who had had to give a child up for adoption or lost a child to social services. It leaves them wondering how to stop the cycle, and if it ever will.”

In this regard, one aspect of the area’s homeless counts causes Knight to bristle – the actual questionnaire respondents fill out. The questions can be very specific and request details of the circumstances by which the respondent became homeless. The goal is to help identify the root causes of homelessness, but Knight has come to believe there is an unintended side effect.

“If I have to write that my husband of eight years became physically abusive and I had to flee, I have to relive all of it in detail. Even if I don’t write it down, it’s happening,” she said. “If I was homeless, I would be retraumatized by the questionnaire.”

There is also a fine line between portraying residents as victims and the deep level of empathy Knight wants to achieve at Simonka Place.

“The reality is that probably 80 percent of women at Simoka have been victims of abuse in the past and it’s still affecting their present,” she said. “But, if we walked a mile in their shoes, we probably would have made a lot of the same choices. Drugs and alcohol are ways to make the hurt stop, even if it’s temporary.”

Instead of focusing solely on the tools to reduce addictions, Knight said Simonka Place’s most successful programs start with residents being able to safely tell their stories, which can take months and is part of the reason there is no limit on how long a resident can stay.

“There is hope and healing and, when you can see that process through, it’s wonderful,” she said.

Money matters

While emotional recovery is a top priority, Simonka Place case managers place a heavy emphasis on money management.

“If residents have any kind of income, they are put on a budget. That seems like a logical thing, but it can be a big deal for someone who has never lived on a budget before,” Knight said.

Residents meet with case mangers to examine finances with a eye toward debt reduction and saving. At the end of the day, residents will still have total control of their money, but case managers will check in with banks to determine if the balances match the projections from the budget.

“We can supply them with housing, toiletries, clothing and water, but they need to figure out how the money they receive can be used to support them,” Knight said. “We try to be very kind, but it is a firm policy.”

It includes counseling and training on how to manage money after residents “graduate” from Simonka’s program. At a meeting of the Homelessness Initiative in last week, members of the task force heard from local property managers on the issue of affordable housing who said that failure to budget was the most common reason residents of low-income housing fail to thrive.

Knight said it often means having some basic conversations.

“If we have a resident who gets into an apartment and they want to throw a party that costs them $200-$300, there’s a good chance it’s going to affect their ability to pay rent the next month. And the landlord isn’t going to give them a pass because he liked the music,” Knight said.

While that might seem like a lavish expenditure, having conversations about going out to eat are just as frequent. At Simonka Place, the case managers also try to include residents and their children with the hope of breaking the cycle for future generations.

“It teaches them that money comes from somewhere,” Knight said. “Instead of going out to eat, we might help them make a better choice, like buying a pie at a grocery store and sharing it at a park. It’s still a treat, but not as expensive.”

The methods also appear to be working, about 150 former residents have graduated into living spaces of their own in recent years. Only a handful have later returned to Simonka Place, and Knight said they are typically the individuals suffering from the most severe mental health issues.

Empower now

or enable later

While the conversation about homelessness is continuing on a grander scale in the community, Knight said raising awareness of how the community supports the area’s homeless population is still needed.

“We don’t want to increase the number of homeless people in our cities, but directly and indirectly, homelessness is supported by our community,” she said.

Volunteer efforts and social service organizations like UGM play a large role in addressing the problem, but there are also costs hidden in other tax-funded budgets, like police enforcement for trespassing violations and the resulting court costs.

Knight said UGM is fortunate to operating in a supportive Salem-Keizer community, but that those interested in doing more are always welcome at Simonka Place, and pre-arranged tours are available.

“It is often during a tour that someone clearly sees where they can make a difference,” Knight said.

Shots fired after concert in south Keizer

Gunfire damaged a vehicle outside Tequila Nights Bar & Grill on Saturday, Aug. 20, but there were no injuries. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Gunfire damaged a vehicle outside Tequila Nights Bar & Grill on Saturday, Aug. 20, but there were no injuries. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Keizer Police Department is investigating an incident involving gunfire at a south Keizer bar.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 at 2:38 a.m., KPD officers responded to the Tequila Nights Bar & Grill, 3393 River Road North, on a report of several gunshots being fired in the parking lot after the conclusion of a concert that was headlined by Lil Rob.

Upon officers arrival, they located a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta four-door in the parking lot that had been struck by multiple rounds of gunfire. The initial investigation indicates a male suspect, possibly wearing red, fled from the shooting scene on foot. The suspect was last seen by witnesses running westbound away from the bar on Appleblossom Drive North. Investigating officers did not locate any persons who were struck by gunfire and no injuries were reported.

Keizer officers were assisted by deputies and officers from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Salem Police Department who helped secure the crime scene and search for the suspect. A K-9 was also deployed, but the suspect was not identified or apprehended.

The incident remains under investigation. Anyone having any information is asked to contact Det. Ben Howden at 503-390-3713, ext. 3525.

Build new, maintain old

Things are really perking up in Keizer these days with new construction and installations.

Ground has been broke  at Schoolhouse Square to  build a replacement for the space now occupied by Starbucks and Mr. Video+Games. A new Starbucks building was just completed on River Road just south of Chemawa Road.

Construction continues apace at the east end of Keizer with Bonaventure’s new senior living facility and a new apartment complex. Initial work is being done in Keizer Station for the city’s second hotel—a Holiday Inn Express.

Taco Bell on River Road is getting a complete overall.

McNary High School has a refurbished gymnaisum floor thanks to the McNary Athletic Booster Club.

Keizer’s second mural will be dedicated next month. The 140-foot long mural depicts our community’s favorite event: the Iris Festival Parade. We are scratching our heads over the inclusion of Albert Einstein holding an apple (apples were Isaac Newton’s thing)—it must be a art thing we regular people don’t understand.

Regarding dedications, the round-about at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane will officially open to traffic on Sept. 2. We suspect the round-about will be a major topic of discussion in Keizer for the first few weeks as opinions of support and derision are expressed.

It is good to see these improvements and additions to the city.  Bonaventure’s retirement facility will add new jobs in-city that are desperately needed.

Jobs will also be added when tenants are found for the former Roth’s Fresh Market site at Schoolhouse Square and the empty spaces at Creekside Center at River Road and Lockhaven Drive.

Keizer can take an giant employment leap forward if it can navigate an expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary north of the city.  The focus of any UGB expansion should be on commercial development that would attract the types of businesses that will create good paying jobs. Expansion of the urban growth bounday will, undoubtedly, be the major issue the city council tackles over the next four to five years. The issues of growth and urban growth boundary expansion should be a major topic duirng this fall’s city council campaigns.

It should be the never-ending effort of the city and its leaders to position Keizer as a desirable place to do business. New buildings, new traffic control and pretty murals will only go so far.

Until, or unless, the UGB can be expanded we need to work with what we have. That includes assuring that our main thoroughfares are clean and inviting. A good example is the recent upgrade of Martinez Tires at River Rd. and Manbrin Dr. It’s not easy to make that kind of business look pleasing, but they’ve done it. The effort to revitalize and beautify River Road has been a hit-or-miss proposition. There are too many examples of unkempt landscaping or buildings in need of maintenance. A recent example

A city is more than just the people who live there. It is also the totality of its infrastructure and the ambiance of the community. Leaders—both public and private—should take a critical look at our main streets and try to see it through the eyes of a potential business and job creator.

Keizer is perking up with all the changes and improvements but let us be sure we are perking up what we have now. Keizerites love their community. How can we get stakeholders to love the community in which they do business enough to beautify and maintain the public face of Keizer—its commercial core.

  —LAZ

One-party rule not good

From the Capitol
By Rep. Bill Post

I hope that you’ve had as good a summer as I have had.  For many of the 20 summers the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes have been here, I was the public address announcer including this summer. I’m a huge Los Angeles Dodgers fan so as you can imagine, it’s been very hard to root for future San Francisco Giants.  I bring this up because it reminds me a little bit of politics.  I am a Republican and not ashamed to say so (nor should you in whatever party or non-party you are a part of).

I have to say in all honesty, I not only root for the Dodgers to win, but hope for the Giants to lose. Is that how I feel about politics?  Sort of.  Of course I don’t want people themselves to lose, but I feel strongly that the Republican ideas for making Oregon a better place are the way to “win.”  I feel just as strongly that the Democratic ideas are not always the best way for Oregon to “win” and after these past two years, I’m even more convinced of that regarding the minimum wage hike, paid sick leave, low carbon fuel standard, universal background checks and more.  They might sound like lofty ideas but in reality they hurt more than they help.  The best way to make Oregon successful is to even out “the playing field” by having the Oregon House be closer in Republicans and Democrats and not the current huge amount of difference in numbers. Now one might say that I would like to see those number swing to my advantage, but truthfully, anyone who knows me well knows that I was a huge fan of the 30-30 tie the House had several years ago. I am hoping that the people of Oregon will see that we need equal representation from both sides of the aisle. We can work together, root for each other, and get a lot more done in the process.  In the long and short sessions of 2015-16, over 800 bills became law. Out of those new laws, only about 6 percent were solely chief sponsored by Republicans.  I’ve spoken to people from both sides of that aisle and not found anyone that thinks that is a good representation of all of Oregon.  So, as you think about the elections in the next few months, I’d like you to think about that illustration.

Is that what you want for Oregon?

(Bill Post represents House District 25. He can be reached at 503-986-1425 or via email at [email protected])