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Day: September 23, 2016

Keizer Oral History Project needs a new anchor

Anita Zahniser speaks with Marilyn Willeford as part of her work with the Keizer Oral History Project. Zahniser is stepping away from her role to tend to family, but she’s willing to mentor her successor. (Submitted)
Anita Zahniser speaks with Marilyn Willeford as part of her work with the Keizer Oral History Project. Zahniser is stepping away from her role to tend to family, but she’s willing to mentor her successor. (Submitted)

Of the Keizertimes

When Anita Zahniser volunteered for the Keizer Points of Interest Committee, she hadn’t even heard of the Keizer Oral History Project, but she became the driving force behind it for the last year and a half.

In more ways than one, Zahniser has molded the Oral History Project into something different than what she inherited. In early episodes, most of which are available to view on, the time was dedicated to capturing stories from the city founders and their memories of establishing Keizer as its own city.

After taking on the role as host and interviewer, Zahniser turned the camera’s attention to what came before that time period and the people who weren’t civic leaders. She talked with city founder Jerry McGee “in disguise” as Thomas Dove Keizur, she interviewed a number of the earliest students to attend the first Keizer school and then started talking with residents of Avamere Court about their experiences living in the area for extended periods of time. The next one to be released is an interview with Joy Beebe, who moved to the area from England as a war bride after World War II.  Her final interview, for now, is with Lynn Woolfe whose dad built a fallout shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Despite all that, she thinks she’s barely scratched the surface.

“I would like to see Keizerites in their later years sharing their stories about times when they were children, what it was like raising a family or even what their life is like now in retirement. The story goes on and it’s fascinating because it feels like it’s all connected,” Zahniser said.

Her vision for the project was to present the Keizer Oral History Project at local senior care facilities where she hoped potential interviewees would step forward. She had already made a few steps in that direction. She presented at a few local facilities and she’d even gone as far as doing trial runs during the presentation.

“I would invite some of the residents up and we would pass a microphone around. The goal was just to get them comfortable with the idea,” she said.

Zahniser had little experience interviewing someone when she started, but she found her own way. She read books that her interview subjects had written, looked over photographs with them and then presented interviewees with a list of questions and an invitation to remove the ones they didn’t like and add a topics they wished to share.

“I probably did more than I needed to, but anyone interested in participating in the project would choose their own methods of prepping for the interviews,” she said.

While she wants to see the project continue, Zahniser has become an advocate for preserving family stories apart from the Keizer Oral History Project.

“Going through the process of preserving family history can bring up unresolved issues and chances for reconciliation. It’s not always possible to come to peace with someone else, but if we can make peace within ourselves, that’s a big step,” Zahniser said.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Keizer Oral History Project and how they might participate may contact Deputy City Recorder Debbie Lockhart at 503-856-3418 or [email protected]

“The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue


The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue

c.2016, Little, Brown $27.00 304 pages
c.2016, HarperCollins $32.99 Canada 304 pages


The truth was bent a little bit.

Okay, so it was actually mangled. Warped beyond anything that might remotely be real. Wrapped up in a colossal “liar-liar-pants-on-fire” conflagration. The truth was nowhere near the lie you told to save face, to save feelings, or as in the new novel “The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue, to save a life.

Lib Wright was so angry, she could hardly breathe.

Yes, she was told that she would be handsomely paid and put up – which was true – but she was also told that her skills as a nurse were essential, which was a lie. All those years of working in a field hospital in the Crimean War, all the time spent learning from the great Miss Nightingale, all the hours spent on patient care, and these Irish villagers were telling her that her assignment was to be little more than jailer.

Anna O’Donnell, they said, was eleven years old and hadn’t had a bite of food for four months. She consumed water by the spoonful, which was to say sparingly, and skeptics had come ‘round. To prove that the child’s feat was a miracle of God, a committee had hired Lib and an elderly nun to watch the girl’s every movement for two weeks.

Anna didn’t need nursing care. She absolutely didn’t need Lib.

But nevermind. Miss N had taught Lib to finish a task and, as Lib saw it, her task was not merely to report her observations in respect to Anna, but to reveal the little shammer for what she was. Surely, no child can live without sustenance, and Lib aimed to get to the bottom of it all.

But it wouldn’t be easy. Anna was a sweet, gentle child with a devotion to God and an eagerness to please those in her household, Lib, and the nun, Sister Michael. Many times during her eight-hour shift, Lib heard the child’s prayers and saw her playing with her holy cards, but she never saw her eat a bite.

A miracle? No, it was obvious that Anna was in distress: her body was slowly shutting down for lack of food, as Lib’s job suddenly expanded…

Coming to a theatre near you? Don’t be surprised.

“The Wonder” practically begs to become a movie, and for good reason: as she’s done in many of her past novels, author Emma Donoghue takes a snip of something true (yes, there were real Fasting Girls throughout history) and spins a tale around it – in this case, a possible murder, set in Victorian Ireland. While readers of Sherlockian whodunits will relish that, the alternate (and perhaps larger) appeal is in Donoghue’s main character, a no-nonsense, self-assured woman who becomes someone else before us, as the story unspools.

Add in a hint of magic that seems, even to some of its characters, to be terribly out of place and you’ve got a novel that grabs you good, and an ending that’s purely perfect. You’re going to love “The Wonder.” It’s a straight-up edge-of-your-chair read.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin

HOA lawsuit rachets up

Khrizma Kuhn, 34, is at the center of a lawsuit against the McNary Estates Homeowners Association. (File)
Khrizma Kuhn, 34, is at the center of a lawsuit against the McNary Estates Homeowners Association. (File)

Of the Keizertimes

A lawsuit filed against the McNary Estates Homeowners Association (HOA) citing violation of state and federal fair housing laws has escalated to a new level.

The HOA refused to provide accommodations for a family with a disabled daughter in 2015 and it eventually ended with the family selling their home and moving away after almost a decade of ownership.

The woman, Khrizma Kuhn, and her parents, Renee and Gary, filed a lawsuit against several parties in relation to disagreements in January 2015. Now lawyers for the Kuhn family are asking for a partial summary judgement on the facts of the case.

“We feel the law is crystal clear in this case and we’re asking a judge to make a determination that the law was violated,” said Kuhn attorney Dennis Steinman.

In April 2015, the Kuhn family requested a waiver from the HOA to park an RV in their driveway. Doing so without a waiver violated McNary Estates HOA rules. Khrizma, 34, suffers from Down syndrome, autism and other maladies that require access to a bathroom and a shower even on short trips. The Kuhns presented the HOA board with letters from two doctors citing the medical necessity, but the request was denied and the family later met with hostility from neighbors.

When one neighbor claimed her view of the street was obstructed as she tried to pull out of her driveway, Renee purchased a parabolic mirror for her to install at the edge of her property. The neighbor declined to use it.

Another neighbor shoved Gary twice outside his home as the situation unraveled. Yet another began sitting outside her home monitoring the family’s activity.

“She had a chair and a notepad and did it for days,” Gary said in an interview earlier this year. “She was trying to log our behavior.”

The HOA did suggest alternatives such as parking the RV offsite or a van with a chemical toilet, but neither fully addressed the situation. The van would have lacked a shower. Parking it offsite would have left Renee without transportation as the Kuhns had to sell one of their vehicles to pay for the RV. Gary used the family’s other car for commuting to and from work.

The summary judgement request was filed in district court in Eugene. Teresa Girod, the president of the HOA, is also listed as an individual defendant.

Should a judge rule in favor of the Kuhn family, a jury could be assembled to determine damages, but Steinman said most cases are settled after summary judgements are issued.

Fair housing laws require that reasonable accommodations be made for those with disabilities to “use and enjoy their dwelling.” Steinman said lawyers for the McNary Estates HOA are basing their argument on a case out of Arizona state court which found that an owner could have made modifications to his garage to house an RV.

Because the Kuhns lived in a condominium and had a garage that shared a wall with their neighbor, there was no way to make changes to accommodate the RV, Steinman said.

“The Ninth Circuit Court and others have unanimously said that parking near where you live is essential to use and enjoyment of a dwelling,” Steinman said. “The issue here is that we feel the established law has been rock-solid in allowing these types of accommodation.”

The previous lawsuit had also listed the The Fountains at McNary, McNary Estates, the Phase 8 HOA and Richard LeDoux as defendants. The Kuhns settled with those defendants in mediation.

Steinman was not able to discuss mediation matters in the continuing case, but shed light on the ones already settled. At issue was the location of board meetings held in the homes of board members.

“There was a community space available that was wheelchair accessible, but they chose not to use it,” Steinman said.

Mediation resulted in all the Fountains and Phase 8 board members attending a fair housing training, review and adoption of reasonable accommodation procedures and monetary damages of $25,000.

McKay on tap for homecoming


Of the Keizertimes

McNary overlooked McKay last season.

Senior Kolby Barker guaranteed that won’t be the case this Friday.

“We didn’t give them the respect they deserved and we had a really off night,” Barker said of last year’s game. “Probably the first quarter was overlooking them and then after that we couldn’t recover.”

Along with last season’s 10-7 result, which turned out to be McKay’s only win of 2015, the Celtics are coming off back-to-back losses to South Salem and Sprague.

“You have to forget about those (losses),” Barker said. “You can’t dwell on them. You learn from your mistakes and move on. We’re working really hard. We’re ready to go.”

It’s also homecoming for McNary.

“It should be a big week for them for a lot of reasons and I think they’re prepping pretty well,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said of his team. “I think this year we have a different attitude. These seniors have done a really nice job of getting ready.”

McKay went 4-24 over the last three seasons but have a new head coach in Josh Riddell, who previously spent a season at McNary as the freshman team’s offensive coordinator.

The Royal Scots, 1-2, have shown improvement with a 3-point loss to West Salem, followed by a blowout loss to McMinnville and then a convincing win over Forest Grove.

“They play really hard,” Auvinen said of his homecoming opponent. “They are doing a good job. They don’t run a ton of stuff. They are getting off the ball on the offensive line. They are throwing the ball around a little bit. They have a nice balanced attack on offense. Defensively, they are flying to the football. They are playing well. It will be interesting.”

McKay has a different offense than last season, moving away from the Wing-T to the spread.

Auvinen believes the game will be won or lost in the trenches and the Celtics will be forced to play without center Sam Farr, who suffered an neck injury at Sprague.

Despite the consecutive losses, Auvinen continues to see improvement.

“We’ve gotten better every week,” he said. “The opponents have also gotten better every week. This early in the season, there’s a lot of room to jump and get better. It’s every major facet. It’s a lot of different things we’re working on all the time.”

When there’s no money

Several years ago this space called for the Keizer City Council to consider what the city would lose if the Herber property (informally called ‘the cow pasture’) was rezoned and that acreage was lost to development. A 112-unit apartment complex is proposed for that property. We haven’t changed our minds, but reality has set in.

There is no public money available to purchase that land and add it to Claggett Creek Park which sits west of the bluff and the creek itself. There is no public money to maintain another sizable park—we can’t keep up with the 19 parks already in the system.

The city council voted at this week’s meeting to move ahead by directing city staff to write an ordinance  for rezoning of the property. That unanimous decision will not sit well with the opponents of the planned apartment development. Over 100 Keizerites testified at a public hearing in June 2014, most who spoke then were against the apartments and spoke passionately about the green space, the cows the property’s owners keep on the land and the two-story house that dates back to the 19th century.

The comments on the Keizertimes Facebook page about Monday’s vote were almost solidly against the council’s vote. There is no doubt the ‘cow pasture’ issue is the hot topic in town.

But the council’s action on Monday has a caveat: the developers must allow up to 18 months for a party to come forward and relocate the house. Any interested party has a six month time line to express interest and then another twelve months to complete  any move. Costs for such a move includes not only the expensive move but also a place to move it to.

To some the structure is just an old house that has seen better days; to others it is a part of Keizer’s early history.  But the house is the least of the arguments against any development there.  Most opposed cite increased traffic and impact on local schools. Experts have testified that the area streets (including the new roundabout at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane) can handle the increased traffic counts. Officials from the Salem-Keizer School District say the impact on the closest schools will be minimal.

Keizer’s Department of Community Development and the city council had no wiggle room on the issue—they all had to address the proposed zoning changes based on current codes and laws. Council Kim Freeman stated at Monday’s session, “I can’t find fault” with the proposal after thanking  the people who spoke about the issue over the past two years.

Some express the view that the council and city is driven by a desire for more tax revenue the development would produce. Some express views that the city is in the pockets of special moneyed interests. Those are views that are not borne out by the history of decisions the city and the council have made, though the sentiment is not hard to understand.

Keizer residents elect city councilors to do the public business of the people.  The many citizens who have served as a city councilor over the past 33 years have taken their duties seriously and rely on the city staff to present clear options on any topic that comes up.

This council is following the rules our society has agreed to live under. The seven people currently serving do not want to tread on the rights of private property owners to do with their land as they see fit. It is government staying off the back of its citizens.

There is no money to buy the land for a park. There is no money to add amenities or maintain a park that size.  The best option for those who don’t want an apartment complex on that property and keep a green space with cows is to buy it themselves. Unless proponents of a green space have a few spare million dollars to purchase the land, it will have to defer to its elected representatives.


The parade mural is done

To the Editor:

Keizer’s first community mural is complete.

It is a beautiful piece of art for the city of Keizer to enjoy for many years to come.  Keizer Art Association and its members greatly contributed to its completion.

Several members  need  attention:  Kathy Haney,  Nancy  Erickson-Ward, Barbara Hunter, Shirlee Johnson, Wendy Lusby,  Pat Matthews,  Michelle DePlois, Merri Ann Randal, Lorna Sulgit, Brigette Miller, Kathe Anderson, Julie Thorsen,  Jessi Long and so many others.

The portraits are beautiful and greatly appreciated.  The portrait class offered by Kathy Haney helped make the portraits possible. Jessi Long and Beth Melendy, were the paint team; both are also Keizer Public Art Commission members.  The method and system setup were superb.  There was little waste at the end of each day, both disposable and recyclable.  The system to replicate the mixed color was very effective. Thank you.

The young painters at the end and the hands below may be from future artists of Keizer.  There are mural canvases left for sale. Again, thank you KAA and its members and all those that helped create the community mural.

Thank you Keizer Art Association, Keizertimes and the city of Keizer for making announcements concerning the Keizer Community Mural.

Jill Hagen
Mural Project Coordinator

Trump’s tolerance of prejudice


Once upon a time, I thought the repudiation of white supremacists was the easiest layup shot in American politics. Not for the Trump campaign.

Asked recently whether he considered former KKK leader David Duke deplorable, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said he was “not in the name-calling business.” Earlier this year Donald Trump was posed a similar question and claimed, incredibly and repeatedly, “I don’t know anything about David Duke.” In a particularly revealing campaign moment, Trump was asked to repudiate the anti-Semitic death threats made by some of his followers against a reporter. “I don’t have a message to the fans,” Trump said.

The fans, no doubt, regard this as the gotcha game of a politically correct press. Even if this is true, an initial reluctance to condemn some of the very worst people in American politics conveys a message. Several years ago, researchers developed an Implicit Association Test — a sort of computerized “blink test” measuring how subjects associate positive and negative words with people of different races. The immediate reaction of a politician to the KKK is a kind of political blink test. The right response is revulsion. And there has generally been a Grand Wizard exception to the prohibition on name-calling.

For a politician on the right, this is an entirely costless Sister Souljah moment. The repeated refusal to seize it conveys an impression of calculation. It indicates a strategy of no enemies to the right.

For some of us, this raises the hardest moral and emotional issue of the current campaign. The Republican nominee came to prominence feeding fears of Mexicans, migrants and Muslims. He refuses to engage in the normal moral and political hygiene of repudiating extremism. I don’t believe that anything close to half of Trump supporters are motivated by racism. But they are willing to tolerate a level of prejudice that should be morally unacceptable in a presidential candidate.

Why is this such a problem? Because racial prejudice is not one problem among many in American history. It is the sin that nearly destroyed us. It is a special category of wrong. It is not sufficient to say: I agree with Trump on 90 percent of the issues—on tax reform and energy policy and criminal justice issues—but dissent on the 10 percent involving systematic religious discrimination, forced expulsion, war crimes, the demonization of refugees and the general dehumanization of the other. These matters are foundational.

History has little sympathy for those who supported Stephen Douglas for his views on tariff policy or internal improvements while downplaying his belief that the rights of minorities should be determined by the majority. As Abraham Lincoln saw it, America fought at Gettysburg and Antietam over the most basic questions—how to define the protections and promise of a great republic, as well as the duties we owe to each other as human beings. This remains the central issue of politics —the source of its nobility when it serves human dignity, and a source of dishonor when it reflects baser motives. It is not possible to build the greatness of this nation—this shining example in the conscience of humanity—while forgetting or undermining its deepest ideals.    

A refusal to aggressively confront a racially tinged extremism has been taken as a source of validation by white nationalists. They feel emboldened. Duke reports being “overjoyed” that Trump has embraced “most of the issues I’ve championed for years.” No presidential candidate is responsible for the views of all their supporters. But at least since the 1960s, conservative leaders have felt a responsibility to actively oppose and discredit those elements of the right that identify Americanism with ethnic purity and spin conspiracy theories of Semitic control. Opposing these longstanding tendencies of right-wing nationalism is part of what conservative intellectual and political leadership has meant for decades. The current vacuum of such leadership at the top of the Republican ticket is taken as a cultural signal by both the perpetrators and objects of prejudice.   

Or so I would argue. Other Republicans I know and like find my viewpoint morally problematic, because it helps enable the election of Hillary Clinton and the nomination of liberals to the Supreme Court, which would result in irreparable harm to the country. It is a dispute causing a crisis of self-definition among conservatives, straining and rupturing friendships across the movement. That is another legacy of Donald Trump, who will be known for the wounds he leaves behind.   

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Protests during national anthem

It’s been done by the same guy in past years and he’s back at it again this NFL season, now being joined by other pro-football players. athletes in other sports and even some high school teams. Their protest, by sitting, kneeling or raising fists during the national anthem, is intended to bring attention to what they view as wrongdoing against African-Americans and other minorities in the U.S. Whatever the case, this action has brought out many Americans for and against the protest: those against view it as disrespectful to our flag; others accept it as free speech allowed by the First Amendment.

The Star-Spangled Banner had its origin in a poem written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The Star-Spangled Banner was recognized for official use by the U.S. Navy in 1889, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and made the national anthem by congressional resolution on March 3, 1931.  Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom, including Hail, Columbia, My Country Tis of Thee and America the Beautiful.

In the span of my own lifetime, and presuming most Americans alive today, whenever we’ve been to a ball game of most any kind we’ve heard the announcer say, “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remove your caps for singing of the national anthem.” This instruction has been simply accepted for a number of years although not that long ago it wasn’t the custom it has become.  So, after Colin Kaepernick and his band of fellow athletes now not standing or following the instructions of old, I asked myself how did it happen that this practice was adopted.

In Tacoma’s historic district, across from the Pantages Theater, is a plaque that honors Rossell G. O’Brian, an Irish immigrant who was born in Dublin in 1846 which happens to be a year during which the potato famine ravished many an Irish family and may have had a lot to do with the fact that O’Brian decided on a life in the U.S.

Like many immigrants of old who came to America, O’Brian apparently was determined to show his patriotism to his adopted country.  At the age of 16 he joined an Illinois infantry and fought in the U.S. Civil War.  By war’s end in 1865, he had achieved Brigadier General status.

After the war he relocated to the Washington Territory.  According to his biographer, John Keane, O’Brian became clerk of the Washington State Supreme Court, mayor of Olympia and first commander of the National Guard of  Washington Territory.

O’Brian’s fame resulted from what he did at the Bostwick Hotel in Tacoma on October 18, 1893.At a meeting of the local chapter of a national Civil War veterans, O’Brian stood and made a motion, proposing that “People should rise and remove their hats, if they were not in the military, and stand at attention for the playing of any of the national anthems.”  The motion passed, and, within a couple of years, the custom had been adopted nationwide and Congress made it part of official United States Code.

I cannot recall in my entire life, having attended a gathering of any kind where The Star-Spangled Banner was played, that any American I knew sat through it, raised a fist or knelt on one knee.  Doing that sort of thing is not something that will get a person arrested but it surprises this writer that so many young athletes will join the instigator by this form of protest.

But what I’d most like to know is why this group, too often overpaid, overindulged and over-idolized professional athletes, apparently prefers protest rather than applying their energy volunteering to help black youth or participating in making improvements to black neighborhoods. Instead, they perform grandstanding acts, drawing attention to themselves and serving mostly to aid our nation’s enemies who are always looking to enjoy that which divides us.

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)