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

Month: July 2017

Plans for Keizer schools in district’s bond ask

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Salem-Keizer School District released the final version of a Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP)  last week. The document details how a $619.2 million general obligation bond would be used to upgrade school buildings and increase capacity at area high schools.

The Salem-Keizer School Board approved the bond request in June and it will be on the ballot in May 2018.

An 18-person committee of stakeholders and citizens was assembled last year to recommend changes that would increase capacity at area schools. The group initially came up with a a bond proposal of $766 million, which would have increased property taxes by about $3 per thousand of assessed value. After taking public input, the scope of some of the projects were narrowed and the $619 million bond ask was approved. If voters approve the bond, property taxes would increase between $1.28 and $1.39 per thousand of assessed value.

The average price of recently-sold homes in Keizer is about $275,000. At the highest rate, the bond would increase taxes by about $380 per year for the one of those homes.

The final LRFP includes $443.5 million for capacity and core infrastructure improvements, $66 million for seismic preparation, $33 million for safety and security, $73.5 million for non-routine maintenance, $9.5 million for technology, and $3.7 million for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

While McKay High School and its feeder schools are projected to need the largest increase in capacity during the next 20 years, the McNary area schools are in the top three. At the Keizer elementary level, schools will need to accommodate 140 more students during that time. Claggett Creek Middle School is projected to need space for about 100 more students while Whiteaker Middle School is sufficient for the expected ebb and flow of students to the area. McNary High School is already 10 percent over capacity – even with portable classrooms – and the student body is expected to surge by as many as 200 students around 2025.

The final recommendation includes site-specific upgrades for several Keizer schools:

• Cummings Elementary School would get a renovation to its cafeteria and a renovation/remodel of the main office to improve security.

• Gubser Elementary School would have its gym renovated; a cafeteria added; and get three additional classrooms.

• Keizer Elementary School would get a gym renovation; a cafeteria added; its library renovated; and four additional classrooms.

• Kennedy Elementary School would get a cafeteria renovation and four additional classrooms.

• Claggett Creek would receive renovations or additions to its cafeteria and library and two additional science classrooms.

• Whiteaker would get an additional science classroom as well as a renovation/remodel of the main office to improve security.

• McNary would be part of a program to increase capacity at most district high schools to 2,200 students. The current capacity with portable classrooms is about 1,850. Changes would include the addition of 18 new teaching stations – 14 general classrooms, one science lab, one STEM (science, technology, engineering math) room and two career-technical education rooms.

The exact look of the renovations is yet to be determined, but Mike Wolfe, the district’s chief operations officer, said committees would be established at each school to hammer out the details.

McNary is one of the more land-locked schools in the district which would likely mean purchasing additional land for expansion.

All-city swim meet Saturday

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Holiday swimmers continued to break club records as they neared the all-city meet.

Swimming at home versus Jan Ree on Thursday, Jan. 20, Jack McCarty set a new record in the boys 13-14-year old butterfly, finishing in 24.56 seconds. McCarty won the individual medley and breaststroke for Holiday’s boys as well.

McCarty also swam on the winning free relay with Jackson Colyer, Ryan Bethers and Tony Gonzalez and the fastest medley relay with Bethers, Gonzalez and Landon Gerig as Holiday’s boys outscored Jan Ree 97-75.

Bella Beard led Holiday’s girls team, breaking the 13-14 breaststroke record in 26.43. She also had the fastest time in the IM and backstroke and swam on the record breaking medley relay with her sister Alex along with Emma Privratsky and Kassy Winters.

The girls finished with 208 points to Jan Ree’s 132.

Kyra Norstrom also improved on her 11-12 butterfly record, finishing in 13.75, and won in the backstroke. Erika Robinett had the fastest time in the 11-12 IM. Norstrom, Robinett, Ashlynn Hughes and Maya Privratsky teamed up to win the free relay.

Alex Beard won the 13-14 free and fly. Alex, Bella, Emma Privratsky and Abby Grossman had the fastest time in the free relay.

In the 15-18 girls division, Sydney Bethers won the IM and Kylie McCarty took first in the fly. Bethers, McCarty, Delaney Rothmeyer and Rosa Oliver also won the medley relay.

Alex Wilcoxen placed first in the 9-10 fly and backstroke. Wilcoxen, Emery Love, Ella Gerig and Emma Anderson also won the medley relay.

Evelyn Hales dominated the 7-8 age group, winning the fly, back and free while Olivia Anderson was fastest in the IM.

Jacob Castronovo was just as dominant in the boys 7-8 division, winning the IM, breaststroke and free. Landon Gerig took first in the 11-12 IM. Xavier Grantham won the backstroke.

Gonzalez swam the fastest times in the 13-14 back and free.

Holiday hosts the all-city meet on Saturday, July 29 at 10 a.m.

Northwood, which has won the last two all-city championships, defeated Northview Terrace 337-259 on Thursday, July 20.

However, Northview’s girls were able to edge Northwood 170-167.

Ally and Carly Castaneda teamed up with Felicia Guptill and Mary Ann Halliday to win the 7-8 free relay. Carly, Taylor March, Taylor Sponable and Jadeyn Cornell won the medley relay.

Halliday took first in the 7-8 fly and breaststroke. Guptill had the fastest time in the backstroke and Ally Castaneda won the IM.

Ava McNeely placed first in the 9-10 breaststroke.

Kara and Jana Everitt joined Brianna Barker and Lily Castaneda won the 11-12 medley relay.

Jana swam the fastest time in the breaststroke. Hannah Halliday won the free and backstroke.

Madison Hoffmeister took first in the IM and Anna Sponable touched the wall first in the fly.

In the 13-14 age group, Kiana Staley won the IM and fly. Anna Kosiewicz had the fastest times in the 15-18 fly and breaststroke.

Swimming for Northview’s boys, Tyler Barker, Xzavier Parker, Nick Kosiewicz and Dylan Guptill won the 7-8 free relay.

Barker also took first in the backstroke and Parker won the breastroke. Michael Halliday swam the fastest times in the free and fly.

In the 11-12 division, Zach Kilby won the free, Jeremy Becker placed first in the backstroke and Evan Cornell swam the fastest time in the breaststroke.

Tyler Guptill won the 13-14 backstroke. Daniel Reed took first in both the 15-18 back and breaststroke.

Northview, Northwood and Holiday will compete against three Salem teams for the all-city championship.

McNary finishes second, third in 4-H

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Both of McNary’s girls soccer teams reached the championship game in their respective 4-H league divisions this summer. But that’s not what has head coach AJ Nash excited about the upcoming fall season.

“There’s three rules in summer league soccer and they’re don’t get hurt, don’t get hurt, don’t get hurt,” Nash said. “It means nothing. It’s just to stay fit and it’s more recreational in nature. It’s meant for fitness and relationship development, not for adding to the trophy collection. That trophy is not the one we care about.”

Instead, Nash’s takeaway was how many girls came out for the 4-H league, including 20 freshmen.

Last summer, McNary had 36 players between the two teams. This year, the Lady Celts had 45. Adding the girls that played club or other sports and Nash is expecting around 65 to tryout this fall.

“A strong freshmen class, that’s the highlight,” Nash said. “We’ve got another strong incoming class, which will make the third in a row.”

Nash coached McNary’s Division-II team, which was made up of mostly freshmen and lost 2-0 to McMinnville in the finals.

“It gives me some extra time to see the freshmen without the stress of tryouts and get them acclimated to me,” Nash said.

Jaime Gonzalez coached the older team, which finished fourth in league play but upset No. 1 Sprague 3-2 on a last second goal by incoming sophomore Julie Dieker in the semifinals. Dieker and Abbie Hawley had the Lady Celts other two goals. Dieker and Hawley each struck again in the championship game but McNary lost to South Salem 3-2 on penalty kicks.

“It’s not really a representation of how the season is going to go because there’s a whole lot of players missing,” Nash said. “However, I was pleased with how both teams played this summer.”

McNary’s boys defeated South Albany 4-2 in penalty kicks on Thursday, July 20 to place third in the 4-H league.

After a 0-0 tie, Miguel Bravo, Francisco Rios, Luis Lopez and Michael Reyes each scored goals. Goalkeeper Alejandro Villarreal saved two penalty kicks to seal the victory.

Tryouts for both programs begin Aug. 14. Blue Day is Aug. 19.

McNary choir, band kids tour Europe

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary choir director Joshua Rist was walking through Paris with a small group of high school students when they came across a medieval-style cathedral.

Open to the public, Rist and the students decided to walk in and give an impromptu performance of Locus iste by Anton Bruckner.

“We had a song ready to sing so I just conducted these seven kids,” Rist said. “You could just see them experience with their own voices these incredible acoustics. It was special for those kids.”

Rist was in Europe as part of an Oregon Ambassadors of Music trip. Sponsored by Voyagers International, 347 high school choir and band students and 45 staff from across Oregon spent two weeks, July 3-18, traveling and performing in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. They spent three nights in Paris and London.

The McNary contingent included Rist, his wife Jessica, band director Jennifer Bell and nine students from the choir and band.

“People need to get out of their hometown for a little while,” Rist said. “Choir offers a unique opportunity to travel in a meaningful way where it’s not just scraping the surface of cultures through tourism but if you’re singing their music, if you’re singing in their spaces, if you’re sharing musical culture with other people. My empathy and my picture of the world grows much richer and more beautiful and I’m hoping I can offer that to them (McNary students), too.”

The choir performed five different times throughout Europe, including in the town center of Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

“People in Switzerland, they loved us,” said Ethan Schra, an incoming junior at McNary who went on the trip. “The chapels we got to sing in were amazing. Singing in a chapel in Europe is way different. It feels different, too. You could hear the songs echo and bounce.”

Schra’s favorite was St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

Rist agreed.

“The sound just keeps ringing beyond you,” he said. “It’s a really empowering feeling as a singer. As a choir nerd, that’s where it’s at. Music was just meant for these kinds of halls. It expands yourself when you’re in a place like that, your capacity to experience beauty, especially because you’re making music in the places, you’re not just a tourist. You’re interacting with these spaces in a really profound way.”

Oregon State choir director Steven Zielke directed the choir on the trip while Todd Zimbelman of West Salem conducted the band. The choir sang classical pieces as well as multi-cultural with high energy and American folk songs and spirituals. The band played classical marches as well as medleys from the Wizard of Oz and America the Beautiful. They finished each performance with The Stars and Stripes Forever. The band and choir combined for performances in Switzerland and Germany.

The group also explored the Swiss Alps, which was another of Schra’s favorites, toured the Eiffel Tower, various museums and saw Les Miserables at the West End Theatre in London.

The trip gave Schra a new appreciation for music.

“I thought it was absolutely stunning,” he said. “It was a life-changing trip. The sites, the sounds, the smells, seeing something new.”

Push is on for eclipse volunteers

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

With the Keizer Eclipse Festival less than a month away, the push is on for local volunteers to help with the efforts.

The Keizer Parks Foundation is hosting a campground at Keizer Rapids Park for visitors hoping to catch sight of the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. The Keizer Festival Advisory Board discussed many of the plans at a meeting Monday, July 24.

Volunteers are needed throughout the weekend for a variety of tasks, but also beforehand. Volunteer Allen Barker is looking for assistance at the park in the evenings of Aug. 14 and 15 to help mark off campsites.

Those interested in volunteering during the festival for grounds maintenance, merchandise sales, parking assistance, equipment check out and registration can sign up at www.keizereclipse.com.

Reservations for camping are also ramping up. About 120 of the 169 available spaces have been reserved with more coming in each day.

Keizer City Councilor Marlene Parsons, who is heading up the organizing efforts, said about 10 new reservations came in the day of the meeting. Reservations are coming in from all over the United States. Visitors from Hawaii, Maryland, Chicago, Texas, California, Washington and Idaho have booked spaces. There is even a small group coming from Europe.

“They are backpacking across the United States and this is going to be a side trip for them before they continue on,” Parsons said.

Parsons said she also fielded a call wondering if the camping options were a scam given the availability and the relative bargain price compared to what other spaces are going for in the days leading up to the eclipse.

Some plans are being scaled back slightly while others for the event are becoming more fully-formed. Originally, there were plans for two food trucks in addition to meals being served by the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre. Plans are now for a shaved ice and ice cream truck along with a food stand provided by El Patron.

Organizers are also looking for donations of bottled water to be sold in the park. Parsons said she already has about 60 cases, but would like 100. If businesses are interested in donating, logos on the bottles are permissible. Contact Parsons at [email protected] to plan drop-off.

Commemorative T-shirts will be available for $15.

Earlier discussions included possible volleyball tournaments and a frisbee golf tournament, but concerns about parking, crowds and general traffic associated with the eclipse have altered the plan. Visitors will likely be able to check out equipment for use in both locations, but no formal events will be scheduled. A family bike ride is slated Sunday, Aug. 20.

There will also be three free concerts the weekend of the eclipse. Syco Billy will perform Friday, Aug. 18; Ty Curtis is slated for Saturday, Aug. 19, and violinist David Klinkenberg will perform during the eclipse Monday, Aug. 21.

“I’ve heard some people saying they will stay away from the park that weekend, but we want all of our regular Keizer and Salem people to come for the concerts – especially on Friday and Saturday,” Parsons said.

Never forget Korean War veterans

To the Editor:

A time to remember. This year marks the 64th anniversary of the cease fire of the Korean War. A war by executive decision beginning 25 June, 1950, and continuing to 27 July 1953. This brutal conflict lasted 37 months and claimed more than 37,000 American lives, averaging 1,000 combat deaths per month. This equates to the population of the city of Keizer. (Something to think about.) The cease fire became effective at 2200 (10:00 p.m.) July 27, 1953. A truce had been signed, an armistice had been agreed upon, however a peace agreement has not been completed, therefore, the Korean War has not officially ended.

There are three memorials in the Willamette Valley dedicated to those men and women who fought and died in Korea fighting the war under the United Nations command. The first memorial completed is located at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland and was the project of the Chosin Few, survivors of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Located in a beautiful setting and easy to find.

The second and largest memorial, sponsored by the Oregon Trail Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association and dedicated in 2000 is located in Wilsonville. Engraved in the wall are the names of Oregonians who died in combat in Korea. A recent addition to the memorial is a life-size statue of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander during the early part of the war. The Korean Memorial Foundation of Oregon funded this project.

The third memorial in the Willamette Valley is located on the grounds of the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs at 700 Summer Street in Salem. The former Iron Triangle Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association arranged for the funding of this black granite center piece flanked by granite benches. Another fine tribute to those who served. None of these memorials are intended to glorify war but are to remind us that “freedom has neever been free.”

Bob Wickman
Keizer
USN/USMC
Korea, 1953-54

Council’s fee votes violate city charter

To the Editor:

“The law is reason free from passion.”

—Aristole

The city council of Keizer has just voted to add a fee for the police and parks to our water /sewer bill. I am quite sure their actions in doing so are heartfelt and justified in their own minds. They are even considering changing the name of, Water and Sewer Fee to a more all encompassing title of City Services Bill.

In doing this, an illegal act occurs by adding a third party to our Water and Sewer Bills.

To do so legally requires amending the city charter (a contract between a governing body and its citizens), which was last done by public vote in November, 1993.

The Keizer City Charter has two specific sections: 36—“Special assessments for public improvements or other services to be charged against real property;” and, 43—“Water revenue use—All revenue, shall be used exclusively to pay for the water department fund expenses.”

The city charter is a contract between a city’s governing body and its citizens, and cannot be altered, nor added to, in any manner, without the consent of the governing body and the vote of its citizens which is the will of the people.

In all service agreement contracts, including the state of Oregon’s own contract, there is a ‘no third party beneficiaries clause’: “Nothing in this contract gives any benefit or right to third person (parties) unless such are identified and described as beneficiaries of this contract.”

The question to be asked by vote of the citizens is: “Do we need additional police services and parks and recreation personnel and how do we share the cost reasonably and legally among Keizer’s citizens?”

The law is clear—it cannot be done in the manner chosen. If this is allowed, we must consider what is to prevent the adding of streets and sidewalks, homeless shelters, drug treatment programs and all else from being added to our water and sewer bills?

The purpose behind the law of all parties involved in a contract is that one party cannot change or alter the  agreement.

Lynn B. DeSpain
Keizer

Who will be fired next in Washington?

To the Editor:

Before the most recent recession there was another recession that had a huge negative financial impact on the Boeing Corporation, then still headquartered in Seattle. So many fewer planes were being ordered and built that thousands of Boeing employees got pink-slipped. Someone with a flare for the sarcastic bought a message on a billboard in Seattle.  It read: “Will the last person to leave Seattle please turn off the lights.”

It reminds this writer that we now have a president who rather obviously does not want an investigation into whether he and his cohorts colluded with Russia to help him win the 2016 election.  He has made a number of moves making it clear that anyone in law enforcement who threatens him with revelations of complicity will be fired, including the current special investigator, Robert Mueller, and the recused U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

Now the reminder of Seattle from a few decades ago and what looked to some prognosticators like the end of a great American aircraft-building company, appears to apply to federal law enforcement officials where a billboard in Washington, D.C. might appropriately provide this message: “Will the last person fired from U.S. law enforcement please lock up the J. Edgar Hoover Building.”

Gene H. McIntyre
Keizer

Twin threats to our republic’s health

By E.J. DIONNE JR.

The news is being reported on split screen as if the one big story in Washington is disconnected from the other. But President Trump’s lawless threats against Attorney General Jeff Sessions have a lot in common with the Senate’s reckless approach to the health coverage of tens of millions of Americans.

On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, we are witnessing a collapse of the norms of governing, constant violations of our legitimate expectations of political leaders, and the mutation of the normal conflicts of democracy into a form of warfare that demands the opposition’s unconditional surrender.

Trump’s latest perverse miracle is that he has progressives—along with everyone else who cares about the rule of law—rooting for Sessions. The attorney general is as wrong as ever on voter suppression, civil rights enforcement and immigration. But Sessions did one very important thing: He obeyed the law.

When it was clear that he would have obvious conflicts of interest in the investigation of Russian meddling in our election and its possible links to the Trump campaign, Sessions recused himself, as he was required to do.

Trump’s attacks on Sessions for that recusal are thus a naked admission that he wants the nation’s top lawyer to act illegally if that’s what it takes to protect the president and his family. Equally inappropriate are his diktats from the Oval Office calling on Sessions to investigate Hillary Clinton and those terrible “leakers” who are more properly seen as whistleblowers against Trump’s abuses.

Our country is now as close to crossing the line from democracy to autocracy as it has been in our lifetimes. Trump’s ignorant, self-involved contempt for his duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” ought to inspire patriots of every ideological disposition to a robust and fearless defiance.

But where are the leaders of the Republican Party in the face of the dangers Trump poses? They’re trying to sneak through a health care bill by violating every reasonable standard citizens should impose on public servants dealing with legislation that affects more than one-sixth of our economy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have little time for worrying about the Constitution because they are busy doing Trump’s bidding on health care.

Let it be said that two Republican senators will forever deserve our gratitude for insisting that a complicated health care law should be approached the way Obamacare—yes, Obamacare—was enacted: through lengthy hearings, robust debate and real input from the opposition party. In voting upfront to try to stop the process, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski demonstrated a moral and political toughness that eluded other GOP colleagues who had expressed doubts about this charade but fell into line behind their leaders.

The most insidious aspect of McConnell’s strategy is that he is shooting to pass something, anything, that would continue to save Republicans from having a transparent give-and-take on measures that could ultimately strip health insurance from 20 million Americans or more. Passing even the most meager of health bills this week would move the covert coverage-demolition effort to a conference committee with the House.

The Senate’s unseemly marathon thus seems likely to end with a push for a “skinny repeal” bill that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates and its medical device tax. But no one should be deluded: A vote for skinny repeal is a vote for an emaciated democracy.

A wholesale defeat for what might be described as the Trump-McConnell-Ryan Unhealthy America Act of 2017 is essential for those being served by the ACA but also for our politics. It was disappointing that Sen. John McCain’s passionate plea on Tuesday for a “return to regular order” did not match his votes in this week’s early roll calls.

But McCain could yet advance the vision of the Senate he outlined in his floor speech and rebuke “the bombastic loudmouths” he condemned by casting a “No” vote at the crucial moment. Here’s hoping this war hero will ultimately choose to strike a blow against everything he said is wrong with Congress.

And when it comes to the ongoing indifference to the law in the White House, Republicans can no longer dodge their responsibility to speak out against what Trump is doing. They should also examine their own behavior. The decline of our small-r republican institutions can be stopped only if the party brandishing that adjective starts living up to the obligations its name honors.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

I’m still a less government legislator

It has been an honor to serve you in the legislature this past session and I wanted to take a moment to fill you in on some of what has happened.

During the regular 2017 session I ended up introducing more bills than I did in my freshman year. I still tried to keep that number low however, as I am still a firm believer in “less government.”  All of my bills were centered on freedom and cutting red tape in state government. Sadly, the one that meant the most to me, my “Sudafed bill” (which would have sent Sudafed-related drugs back to “behind the counter”) did not go anywhere. In fact, most of my bills didn’t even get hearings in committees.  Here are some of the bills I found success with and a couple that I wasn’t happy with from the 2017 session:

My House Bill (HB) 2598, expanded the offense of vehicular assault to include contact with motorcycle, motorcycle operator or motorcycle passenger.  As a biker myself along with many of my constituents, it amazed me that bicyclists and pedestrians were covered but not motorcyclists.

Another important bill I was involved with passed: HB 2732, affectionately called the “hot dog in a car bill.” There has already been a case in Oregon where the passing of this bill saved a dog’s life.  I was also successful in getting Senate Bill (SB) 677 passed which allows cider businesses to be on cider farms in Oregon.  Sort of like the wineries and breweries we have now.

• HB 2017: The Transportation Package. I voted no on the package for many reasons. I was disappointed in the amount designated for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass, the fact that it didn’t do a whole lot for Keizer or St. Paul, the 0.5 percent tax on new car sales (which by the way goes right back to the “better off” as a rebate for electric cars) and generally the fact that once again, the Metro Portland area gets the lion’s share of the projects.  The bill passed 39-20 and my vote didn’t stop it.  I just didn’t think you wanted more taxes.

• HB5517: The K-12 Budget. This budget was entirely inadequate to properly fund our teachers and provide the education our kids desperately need so I voted no on it.

• HB3464: Sanctuary State bill. Restricts the ability of state and local agencies, including law enforcement, to inquire about an individual’s immigration status. The bill specifically prohibits public agencies from disclosing information to the federal government except in certain circumstances. I voted no.

SB719: A well-intentioned answer to veteran suicides but allows courts to compel an individual to surrender their firearms on the word of a judge or others.  I voted no.

HB3391: Provides $10 million for on demand abortions even for those who are undocumented. This bill disturbed me more than anything I’ve done or seen in my two terms.

Overall, I saw this session as the most hyper-partisan in recent memory.  No matter which party it is, the state as a whole suffers when one party has complete control. When one party controls all the committees, all the bills and all the processes, Oregon is not being properly represented.

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