Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: March 29, 2017

Claggett becomes AVID demo school

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

After 18 months of coaching and a day full of evaluations, Patrick Briggs, AVID State Director for Texas, didn’t make Claggett Creek Middle School wait any longer.

“I congratulate you for being named an AVID Demonstration School,” he said on Wednesday, March 15 to applause from CCMS faculty and staff.

Claggett Creek is just the third AVID Demo middle school in Oregon, following Parkrose in Portland and Stephens in Salem, which received the distinction just the day before.

AVID validates schools for one-, two- and three-year terms. CCMS received three and will be re-evaluated in 2020-21.

“The longest I can leave you with is three and I feel very comfortable doing that based on everything I saw,” said Briggs, who visited AVID classrooms and tutorials in all three grade levels.

Briggs complimented Claggett Creek’s culture.

“I love your vision,” he said. “When I saw your vision this morning, it really touched me from the very beginning. Your vision that you believe all students, that means 100 percent of them where I come from, all of them are going to graduate high school ready for college and career.”

Briggs said that wasn’t the case at all of the schools he visits.

“I get out a lot and I see at a lot of schools, and what you’re doing for kids doesn’t happen (everywhere). You assume that all schools are doing what you are doing. That’s not the case. There are a lot of schools out there where they don’t believe in children. They don’t even like children. They are just teaching but there’s no learning going on. Here, there’s learning going on because you have a culture of belief that students will graduate from high school career and college ready.”

Briggs was also impressed with Claggett’s systems and shared leadership.

“One thing I say to a lot of schools is that they had such a great AVID program and then she left,” Briggs said. “That happens often. I love that you have systems in place that it doesn’t depend on one dynamic person to ensure that all kids are college and career ready.”

Briggs said he loved the innovation he saw in tutorials and noted a quote that stood out to him from the morning session—“Instruction is the most important intervention we have.”

“That is so refreshing to hear,” he said.

Briggs gave CCMS recommendations—continue high expectations; close the gap between AVID and non AVID students; refine Cornell notes, planners, journals and interactive notebooks; and improve gender and racial equity (AVID classes are currently about 60 percent female).

Principal Rob Schoepper congratulated Claggett Creek staff on the accomplishment.

“When we started this process a few years ago guys, we never lost sight that instruction is what truly matters and as we built this system, I have appreciated the reflective practice and the focus on improvement with regards to how we are teaching our kids,” Schoepper said. “I want to challenge us as a school community, this has been a fun process and this is nice, but let’s not forget what really matters and that is continuing to come together as a team, focusing on our kids so that we can provide them the best education and opportunity possible here at Claggett Creek. As principal, I want to thank you guys for the work you’ve done. We need to enjoy ourselves.”

CCMS began AVID in 2009 with one eighth grade elective class. It expanded to seventh grade the following school year and then into sixth grade in 2011-12.

After three years of declining reading scores, Claggett looked at its AVID classes and saw better GPAs and attendance and decided in 2013-14 to take AVID strategies school-wide and built a plan to double the amount of kids in the AVID electives.

Coordinated by Kelly Greer, CCMS has seven elective teachers Jon Shrout (language arts), Brad Dixon (social studies), Trista Lewis (Spanish), Donna Wyatt (health), Ben Dalgas (English language development), Stephanie Rabago (math) and Jenna Becker (math) for seven classes that reach 22 percent of students.

As a demo school, CCMS becomes a learning lab where schools all over the country can visit to see AVID at work. A showcase is scheduled for the fall.

“We believe that it’s going to be a real celebration point, especially for the Claggett community, our parents and the community have been behind this school for a lot of years and to be national demo school is going to be a real feather in everybody’s cap,” Schoepper said.

Underage driver crashes into MPFS truck

An unlicensed 14-year-old girl driving a friend’s vehicle crashed into a Marion-Polk Food Share truck in the Safeway parking lot Monday, March 13.

Deputy Chief Jeff Kuhns was returning to the police station about 12:40 p.m. when he observed a 1994 Mercury traveling east on Lockhaven Drive North and turning south on River Road North too quickly. The vehicle’s speed caused it to drift into oncoming lanes of traffic.

Kuhns began following the vehicle with three occupants inside and the driver had trouble maintaining a single lane, nearly crashing into another driver when changing lanes.

By the time the Mercury turned left onto Chemawa Road Northeast, Kuhns had radioed ahead to the station and requested a patrol officer make a traffic stop on the Mercury.

Still trailing the Mercury, Kuhns stopped on Chemawa Road Northeast to allow an approaching patrol car to make a U-turn and make the traffic stop. At that point, the Mercury sped up and attempted to turn into the Safeway parking lot where it collided with the MPFS truck waiting to make a left turn.

Kuhns said the driver was again going too fast to make the turn safely. The crash caused the airbags to deploy.

During an investigation, a 17-year-old passenger told officers she had gone to McNary High School to obtain the paperwork to re-enroll at the school and allowed the 14-year-old to drive the car after leaving the campus. The third passenger was 15 years old.

The 17-year-old was injured when the airbags deployed. She was cited for providing a vehicle to an unqualified driver.

The 14-year-old was arrested and taken to the Marion County Juvenile Detention Facility and charged with reckless driving and failure to perform the duties of a driver.

The driver of the Marion-Polk Food Share truck was unharmed.

Driver leads officer

on high-speed pursuit

A Keizer man was arrested after leading a Keizer police officer on a high-speed chase about 2 a.m. on Friday, March 17.

A Keizer police officer spotted a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up fly past the 7-Eleven parking lot at an estimated 70 miles per hour in a posted 35 mile per hour zone.

The officer attempted to catch up with the driver and activated his overhead lights. The driver of the Chevrolet made a high-speed turn on Dearborn Avenue Northeast and rode up over the curb nearly striking a traffic signal pole.

The officer continued the pursuit and activated his siren. The Chevrolet continued traveling in excess of the speed limit on Dearborn before making another turn on Paulette Street Northeast and coming to a stop.

The pursuing officer was joined by two additional patrol units and the driver was taken into custody without further incident.

Michael Zepeda, 25, was arrested and taken to Marion County Correctional Facility where he was charged with reckless driving and attempting to elude an officer.

Matching grants jettisoned for skate park repairs

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The immediate future of Keizer’s Carlson Skate Park was on the line at a meeting of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee Tuesday, March 14.

The board was faced with a decision of suspending a matching grant program to cover much-needed repairs at the park or a looming closure of Carlson if it continues to deteriorate.

After a lengthy discussion, board members decided to suspend the matching grant program in favor of repairs at Carlson. Reaching a resolution meant moving forward under the assumption that the parks department would receive no additional funding in the city budget in the coming fiscal year and that no fee would be created to establish a dedicated parks fund.

“I think we’ve done great things with the matching grant program, but we’ve had two failed (matching grant) attempts with the skate park and we have skaters in the parking lot because (Carlson) is not fit for use,” said Robert Johnson, Keizer parks supervisor.

One-of-a-kind

Carlson Skate Park was built with majority-volunteer effort and opened in July 1999. At the time, the total estimated value was $360,000 and the city only provided about $20,000 of that cost. It would be worth about $530,000 today adjusted for inflation, but it’s suffered serious depreciation over time.

It was and remains the largest skate park in the mid-Willamette Valley area at 21,000 square feet. It’s nearly double the size of the next largest one, Aumsville’s 11,000-square-foot Brian Haney Memorial Skate Park. The other three nearby parks are all under 10,000 square feet. Johnson said he wasn’t aware of just how large Carlson is until recently.

“With size comes a much higher cost for the repairs,” Johnson said.

Keizer’s Carlson Skate Park is showing its age and the city’s parks supervisor fears that the deterioration will accelerate if something doesn’t happen soon. (KEIZERTIMES/Andrew Jackson)

After nearly 18 years with only a bare minimum of upkeep, the park is falling into disrepair with large cracks forming, and some areas – like the bowl – nearly a complete hazard for certain types of riders.

On top of those issues, there are others that would not be evident to the casual observer. When the park was built, the idea appears to have been putting as many types of surfaces – bowls, ramps and grinding rails – in as possible and not as much thought was given to how riders would transition from one area of the park to another without dismounting and walking to the next space. More modern skate park designs incorporate transitions into the visioning process.

The cost of bringing the park up to modern standards and resurfacing what is allowed to remain is hefty. Estimates range from $500,000 to $650,000. However, Johnson told the board that a less costly resurfacing project on the current layout might be much cheaper, about $60,000.

“A crack repair could buy a couple of years for planning the big repair,” Johnson said.

The price tag, however, is still well beyond what’s available in the current parks budget, roughly $330,000 for all of Keizer’s 240 acres of park land. Those circumstances are what led Johnson to propose suspending a matching grant program for one year and freeing up funds for the resurfacing.

Suspending the matching grant program for any period of time also comes at a cost. The 3-year-old matching grant program has been used for projects small and large in Keizer parks. Recently, a grant request was approved to install a fence around the Rickman Community Garden, but the largest beneficiary of the program has by far been the Keizer Little League fields. Efforts to rehabilitate the facility have received $20,000 in the past two years. With any matching grant approval, the requestors must provide matching funds or in-kind services equal to the amount of the grant given by the Parks Advisory Board. The parks board is allocated $15,000 each year to provide matching grants.

A rock and a hard place

Without any certainty that the Keizer City Council will approve a fee creating a dedicated parks fund, the parks board was faced with making a choice between the repairs at Carlson and the matching grant fund.

Suspending the program provides Johnson with roughly $26,000 to repair all the cracks at the skate park, but the conversations regarding the decision were wide-ranging and took into account the effects on both programs.

“We have a pot of money (matching grant funds) being used for really good projects and have compounded to do good work. Now, we are faced with the decision of robbing our future to do something now,” said parks board member Matt Lawyer.

Scott Klug, who would later say he supported the decision to suspend the matching grant program, played devil’s advocate.

“I don’t see the people who use the skate park coming forward (to advocate for it). It seems like we are putting money into something when another project might come along with more support of the users,” Klug said.

Board member Dylan Juran countered.

“The value (of Carlson) is hidden in other places like the businesses not having skaters in parking lot, and it’s less of a liability to us,” Juran said. “The primary user base is minors who don’t know how to deal with a bunch of adults, and who are looking for a lot (in terms of money).”

Clint Holland, a parks board member and a major advocate and volunteer in the KLL rehabilitations, said skate park users don’t have a lot of the expenses associated with other sporting activities and wanted to see some of the parents more involved.

“There’s groups like Rotary and Kiwanis that they could go to,” Holland said.

Juran countered that skate park users also don’t have the revenues, like player fees, organized sports generate.

Klug added that there was a difference between asking a third baseman to take care of their area of the field and asking a skate park user to “patch a hole in cement.”

Lawyer said he visited the park a few weeks prior to the meeting and chatted up some of the kids and adults who frequented the site.

“They pointed out a handful of places they absolutely could not use,” Lawyer said. “It’s not them-and-us conversation. It’s about the safety of our kids and the safety of our assets,”

Parks board member Jim Taylor said his primary concern was wasting the money put into repairs if a larger redesign project might be in the offing.

“It’s another bandage. It might give us another few months, but might be good money after bad,” Taylor said.

Johnson said that even if a repair project only bought the city time to get other plans off the ground, it could still be worthwhile and make closing the park for safety reasons more unlikely.

“Once it gets to a certain point it will deteriorate more rapidly. If water gets under the cracks it could cause the whole foundation to malfunction,” Johnson said.

The board voted unanimously to suspend the matching grant program for one year. If a parks fee becomes a reality, there is the possibility of continuing the matching grant program in the next fiscal year.