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Day: July 21, 2017

Northwood, Holiday win swim meets

Of the Keizertimes

Northwood Park Swim Club dominated relays to defeat Jan Ree 322-160 Thursday, July 13.

Sayje Castronovo, Kaitlyn Schaffer, Meili Skipper and Kylie Wells won the girls 9-10-year-old medley relay. Castronovo, Skipper, Wells and Kaitlyn Roop also placed first in the free relay as Northwood’s girls outscored Jan Ree 175-112.

Melia Wells, Brooke Junker, Ella Ditchen and Ainsleigh Pack had the fastest time in the 11-12 medley relay.

Wells, Pack, Ditchen and Molly Eisele won the 11-12 free relay.

Junker swam on the winning 13-14 free relay with Madie Trammell, Ellie Auvinen and Kailey Wilcke. Trammell, Auvinen, Wilcke and Isabella Walker took first in the 13-14 medley relay.

Grace Trammell, Rioanna Zeller, Alyssa Garvey and Ashley Hawley won the 15-18 medley relay.

Paris Boyd had the fastest times in the 13-14 individual medley, free and breaststroke. Wilcke won the 13-14 backstroke. Eisele placed first in the 9-10 IM and free. Roop won the 9-10 backstroke.

Zeller touched the wall first in the 15-18 IM and fly. Junker won the 11-12 backstroke.

Northwood’s boys won six relays to easily outscore Jan Ree 147-48.

Cameron Harrington, Jeffery Olsen, Caedmon Christensen and Grant Schaffer finished first in the 9-10 medley and free relays. Elijah Clendening, Riley Auvinen, Andrew Zeller and Conner Roop also swept the 11-12 medley and free relays.

Bryce Junker, Ethan Whalen, Jackson Alt and Riley Mahoney took first in the 15-18 medley relay. Whalen, Alt, Junker and Zachary Harrington then won the 15-18 free relay.

Individually, Alt placed first in the 11-12 fly, free and IM. Olsen won the 7-8 free and breaststroke. Schaffer had the fastest times in the 9-10 IM and backstroke. Zeller won the 9-10 free.

Whalen touched the wall first in the 13-14 free and breaststroke.

In the 11-12 division, Caleb Skipper won the backstroke and Zachary Harrington took first in the breaststroke. Junker won the 13-14 backstroke.


Holiday Swim Club edged Cambridge 318-239 Thursday, thanks to another strong showing from its girls, who won all eight relays.

Emma Anderson, Ella Gerig, Alex Wilcoxen and Addison Castronovo took first in the 9-10 free relay. Anderson, Gerig, Wilcoxen and Emerly Love won the 9-10 medley relay.

Ashlynn Hughes, Evylyn Hales, Jaelynn Love and Maya Privratsky had the fastest time in the 11-12 free relay. Hughes, Privratsky, Erika Robinett and Kyra Norstrom won the 11-12 medley relay.

Norstrom, Tessa Talento, Kassy Winters and Abby Grossman placed first in the 13-14 free relay. Grossman, Winters, Bella Beard and Alex Beard won the 13-14 medley relay.

In the 15-18 division, Bella, Alex, Rosa Oliver and Kyle McCarty took first in the free relay. Talento, McCarty, Oliver and Delaney Rothmeyer won the medley relay.

Individually, Hales took first in the 7-8 backstroke. Wilcoxen won the 9-10 fly and free. Emerly Love touched the wall first in the 9-10 IM.

Norstrom won the 11-12 IM and free. Robinett took first in the 11-12 breaststroke. Jaelynn Love had the fastest time in the 11-12 fly. Privratsky won the 11-12 backstroke.

The Beards dominated the 13-14 division, with Alex winning the free and backstroke and Bella swimming the fastest times in the IM, fly and breaststroke.

McCarty won the 15-18 fly and free.

Jack McCarty led Holiday’s boys team, winning the 13-14 IM, fly and breaststroke. Tony Gonzalez took first in the 13-14 backstroke and free. McCarty and Gonzalez also teamed up with Ryan Bethers and Jackson Colyer to win the 13-14 free relay. McCarty, Gonzalez, Bethers and Landon Gerig had the fastest time in the medley relay.

Individually, Colyer won the 11-12 fly. Jacob Castronovo took first in the 7-8 fly and breaststroke. Jonah Strunk touched the wall first in the 7-8 backstroke.


Northview lost to a deep Madrona squad 427-228 Thursday.

Ana Kosiewicz won the 15-18 girls free and fly. She also swam on the winning 15-18 medley relay team with Hayley Guptill, Caraline Guptill and Sydney Epperly. Caraline also took first in the 15-18 backstroke.

Kiana Staley swam the fastest time in the 13-14 IM and fly as well as the 11-12 breaststroke.

Staley, Kat Kosiewicz, Anna Sponable and Sydney Smith won the 13-14 free relay. Hannah Halliday, Erin Seyfried, Miranda Guptill and Macy White took first in the 11-12 free relay.

Xzavier Parker led Northview’s boys team, winning the 7-8 fly and backstroke. Tyler Barker, Michael Halliday, Will Oglesby and Dylan Guptill took first in the 7-8 free relay.

In the 11-12 division, Luke Staley won the IM and Jeremy Becker placed first in the backstroke. Gavin Gasperini won the 13-14 fly.

Safeway gas gets council OK

Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer City Council unanimously approved Safeway’s request to put in a fueling center at their River Road North location at its meeting Monday, July 17.

The decision is most noteworthy because the council permitted the grocer to construct a small 450-square-foot convenience store alongside the fueling center. Both city staff and the Keizer Planning Commission had opposed the inclusion of the accessory structure.

The specific action the council took was to modify an overlay zone that prevents automotive-related businesses from occupying an area around the intersection of Chemawa Road and River Road. The zone predates even Keizer’s development code and was put in place for reasons ranging from safety to aesthetics. The change approved allows gas stations as a conditional use.

In the final vote, Mayor Cathy Clark walked back her original position on the matter when she voted against even allowing a conversation about the change to happen. Clark had hoped to see more mixed use spaces, e.g. offices and retail, appear.

“I love the dream of more mixed use, but the reality is the funding. One thing that has not happened is a business coming in and put down money to help achieve that. This is a long-established business in Keizer willing to invest and add a service that is clearly in demand,” Clark said.

The decision also went against the wishes of the Keizer Fire District whose officials were unhappy that a traffic study submitted with the plan did not take into account the location’s proximity to the Keizer Fire Station and impacts on emergency services. No one representing the fire district spoke at the meeting, but Fire Board President Joe Van Meter submitted a letter opposing the change. In an effort to allay some of the district’s concerns, the zoning changes approved include a mandate that Safeway representatives work with fire district officials to mitigate traffic problems.

“In particular, I know the amendment calls out working with the KFD and we look forward to working on that,” said Seth King, a land use attorney representing Safeway at the meeting.

The fueling station is expected to generate an additional 600 daily trips through the area, but those numbers did not take into account the arrival of a second grocery store, Waremart by Winco, sometime in the near future.

Todd Paradise, a real estate manager for Safeway-Albertsons, the “c-store” associated with the fueling center, would not be what most think of as the traditional convenience store.

“We see a big difference between a c-store and a traditional convenience store of 3,000-4,000 square feet. This will carry a small selection of drinks and other items, no beer or wine,” Paradise said.

Paradise also noted that one of the already-permitted uses for the space would be an actual convenience store.

“I also know that if I had to walk up to a vault and push payment through a thick window, I would be concerned about safety in the area,” Paradise said. “That would indicate potential crime problems.”

The council also heard from some residents on the matter.

Hersch Sangster, chair of the Keizer Planning Commission, said commissioners had some disagreement on making the changes to allow the gas station but had a united voice against allowing the auxiliary sales building.

Mike DeBlasi, another member of the planning commission spoke as simply a resident, saying, “We need to think about the adaptability of the building. A gas station can only ever be a gas station.  If you say yes you are saying no to good development. A no vote puts Keizer on a path for financial stability and a better quality of life.”

Jerry McGee, who was on the council when the original overlay zone was put in place, encouraged the council to revisit the reasons for creating it.

Developers may have to pony up for community beautification

Of the Keizertimes

Imagine for a moment sitting atop one of the 100 largest private employers in the nation according to Forbes magazine. Last year, revenues for your company clocked in at $6.3 billion.

On a local level, fans of your company  launched social media campaigns hoping to court you to their city where only one other major competitor exists. When you make a decision and announce a new store opening it is – without hyperbole – the biggest story of the entire year for that town.

But, when the city’s community development director sits down with you to discuss the designs for a $2.3 million remodel of the building, you tell him that putting trees in the parking lot is a “dealbreaker.”

A similar conversation laid the groundwork for the most recent meeting of the Keizer Planning Commission. Along with city staff, the group spent almost two hours discussing the intricacies of the city’s landscaping codes as it relates to new and re-development.

“When you have Taco Bell gut their building, there was no requirement for them to bring the site up to (landscaping) compliance. When Waremart comes in, they are doing interior remodeling and there’s no requirement to do landscaping in the parking lot. Our intent is to say if you are doing a remodel, you need to address the landscaping requirements,” said Nate Brown, Keizer community development director.

The changes, which were approved in a 5-1 vote, will now go to the council. If approved there, developers – regardless of size – will pay an additional 1 percent of their costs into the city’s public art fund. That fund can be used for a wide variety of public amenities ranging from highly-visible major efforts like the Iris Festival Parade mural to more subtle additions like public benches. Developers would get to choose whether to invest the money somewhere in their own property or pay into the fund, which would allow the money to be used elsewhere in the city.

While there was some quibble over whether the charge was a tax or something else, the amount is somewhat negligible. On a $100,000 construction or remodeling project, the city would collect $1,000. Brown said a public bench like the ones currently along River Road costs $1,400.

He added that conversation about collecting the fee would also be a tool to prompt engagement on the part of the business community.

“Right now, we can’t go to them and tell them they need to think about how they are participating in the community or raising the level of livability,” Brown said. “Keizer is growing up and we are a significant city, and I honestly think we need to start paying more attention to our sense of place. This is a way to start moving that dial just slightly.”

While city staff recommended collecting the fee on projects only worth $100,000 or more, the recommendation from the commissioners would apply it to all projects.

Commissioner Hersch Sangster asked whether such a fee could be a financial dealbreaker for a business choosing between Keizer and a nearby city.

“Our SDCs (system development charges) are 50 percent less than neighboring jurisdictions. We are significantly less. This doesn’t even push us close to that territory,” Brown replied.

Commissioner Garry Whalen, who was the sole no vote, suggested that the fee would be seen as a negative in the business community, and wanted assurances the money wouldn’t sit and accumulate for years on end.

“If we are going to exact a 1 percent fee, there needs to be a commitment back from the city that it will be spent within X years. If it isn’t spent, don’t just rathole the money and have it not doing any good for anybody – give it back,” Whalen said.

The consensus was that placing a deadline on spending the money collected would limit the scope of public amenity projects that could be considered.

Commissioners also deliberated on where such amenities should be placed. Brown originally envisioned the majority of them being placed on the subject property, but it raised concerns about ownership, maintenance, and liability/safety, for some commissioners.

Commissioner Kyle Juran, who recently completed remodeling his own space on River Road North, suggested he would rather not have a public amenity placed on his property.

“I wouldn’t want a fountain or park bench that the public can use because of the tightness of the space,” Juran said.

The council will take up the recommendation at a future meeting.

Paying for Keizer’s livability

The Keizer City Council has passed new fees to support the police department and the city’s 19 parks. Each fee is $4 per month that is added to the water/sewer bills (the bi-monthly addition to invoices total will be $16).

The collection of the new fees will start in November. Instead of receiving a water bill, homeowners and business owners will receive a city services invoice which include the two new fees.

The approval of the two fees was not done in a vacuum; it was not done in the dark nor away from public scrutiny. The discussion of a parks fee has been in public arena for more than a year; both hearings and public forums have been held to unveil the current state of our parks as well as how much money is needed to maintain them.

Both the parks fee and the public safety fee will be dedicated—meaning revenues from each fee may only be used for parks or police and cannot be diverted to any other part of the city’s budget.

The city’s charter and state law allows the council to impose a service fee. It is the imposition of a tax that requires a vote of the people. Again, the council did not approve the two fees lightly. A detailed survey about parks was sent to every Keizer home earlier this year asking about everything from park amenities to frequency of use by members of the household. It gave options for a monthly fee and what each one would pay for. Interested persons could also fill out the survey online.

The state of Keizer parks and the impact of a fee were the topics at neighborhood meetings, parks board meetings and other gatherings.

There was no lack of transparency when it came to what why and how the parks fee would be. There was no survey regarding a public safety fee, but again there was transparency in the effort to add $4 a month to water/sewer bills to add the five people Police Chief John Teague says is needed to keep up with the needs of Keizer’s police department.

Early in the process Mayor Cathy Clark was on the record saying that it should not and must not be a choice between parks and police, that it was vital to fund both for the betterment of the city and its residents.

They say that freedom isn’t free, well, neither are city operations. Keizer has the lowest tax base of any full service city in Oregon; the rate was locked in with passage of several state-wide measures in the early 1990s. Keizer’s founding fathers were content with a rate of $2.08 per $1,000 of valuation. The city has lived with that rate for more than 30 years. Some in the private sector say that the city should live within its means. That’s a nice view but no one foresaw in 1982 (when Keizer was incorporated into a city) how PERS and health insurance would affect municipal budgets in 2017. The city is mandated to pay into PERS, an expenditure which increases every year. To be a preferred employer the city has to offer health insurance, and increases in that field are a given.

Some people wanted voters to have a say on the fees. There is no guarantee that voters would approve either fee; the city needs extra money now to fund two items that are crucial to the livability and marketability of Keizer. Those are the key points: homeowners need to feel secure that their investment will grow in value. That’s accomplished with keeping Keizer the most desired address in the Willamette Valley.

The city should not behave as it has received a big infusion of cash to play with; parks will get better, public safety will be more secure. Keizer has shown to be a good trustee of the taxpayer dollar, but city leaders must understand that their budget decisions in the coming years will be under the citizen’s microscope.


Will Republicans break from Trump?


“Will he tell the president ‘no’?”

This question was at the heart of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s opening statement at last week’s confirmation hearing for Christopher Wray, President Trump’s nominee as FBI director. Wray was there because the man who appointed him had fired James Comey for failing, as Feinstein put it, to “pledge his loyalty” to Trump and to soft-pedal inquiries involving Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.

The test for Wray, Feinstein said, will be his “willingness to stand up in the face of political pressure.”

There is good reason to feel uneasy about having anyone appointed by Trump lead the FBI at this moment. It is obvious to all except the willfully blind that we now have a president who observes none of the norms, rules or expectations of his office and will pressure anyone at any time if doing so serves his personal interests.

We also know beyond doubt that this team will lie, and lie, and lie again whenever the matter of Russia’s exertions to elect Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton arises.

Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer connected to the Putin regime after he received an email from an intermediary promising “sensitive information” about Clinton that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” His decision exploded the president’s claims that neither he nor his campaign had anything to do with Russia’s efforts to tilt our election his way.

The son’s response to the invitation, “I love it,” will become the iconic summation of the Trump apparat’s attitude toward the assistance the president received from Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Almost as instructive were the number of outright lies the Trump camp concocted to try to disguise the real motivation behind the encounter. Their story changed as New York Times reporters developed more information as to what happened. The White House initially seemed to think it could get everyone to buy its fiction that the conversation—which also involved Trump’s then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner—had focused on policy toward Russian adoptions.

Feinstein’s suggestion that telling this president “no” has become the true measure of patriotism applies far beyond Wray. So far, Republican politicians, with a precious few exceptions, are failing this ethics exam.

The revelations about Trump Jr. might have been the moment when Republican leaders at least started to grab their luggage in preparation for disembarking from the Trump train. After all, as Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent underscored, there is evidence that the president himself cooperated in putting out the original lies about his son’s meeting. This may prove to be the wedge that opens up a larger examination of the president’s determination to cover-up.

Yet the GOP is having trouble kicking its Trump habit.

While some Republican senators see the administration’s dysfunction as a barrier to their Obamacare repeal efforts, others are hoping the Trump Jr. distraction will lower the level of scrutiny of their forthcoming second draft of a health care bill. Could scandalous political behavior provide a shield for scandalous public policy?

Vice President Pence’s effort to stay loyal to Trump while tip-toeing away from the latest disclosures is another sign of chaos. Marc Lotter, Pence’s press secretary, attempted to draw a bright line, saying of the vice president: “He is not focused on stories about the campaign, particularly stories about the time before he joined the ticket.”

But there is no bright line. This statement should widen, rather than narrow, interest in Pence’s behavior because denying any relationship with Russia was central to the campaign that he was part of. It was also Pence who (in theory, at least) was in charge of vetting Michael Flynn, the national security adviser who had to resign after 24 days because of his own dissembling about Russian contacts. Pence publicly defended Flynn, and then pleaded ignorance as to what was going on.

Pence cannot be allowed to slink away from the administration whose cause he has advanced. If he’s starting to see reasons for breaking with Trump, he’ll have to do it outright and end his own collusion with one of the most disingenuous White Houses in our history.

The same applies to Republican leaders in Congress. When will they tell the president “no”? Feinstein’s question is the right one for Wray. It should haunt Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, too.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Who will bring us all together?


After Rodney King came infamously close to death by police officers’ beating, later, he famously asked, “Why can’t we just get along?”

I wonder the same these days about a number of matters, one of the most poignant is getting along without a nuclear war with North Korea.  Such a war would mean near total obliteration to Koreans, both North and South, while further threatening the world’s climate to human long-term survival.

It is imagined tiresome to the average person throughout the world that certain persons among us rise to positions of power and influence which for centuries has meant nearly constant readiness for war and, in more recent times, total world war.  World War I for example got underway by the assassination of an Austrian archduke and his wife but really had to do with the fight among European nations for hegemony.  World War II began by Hitler’s Nazi Germany invasions and Japanese war mongers, talking the Emperor into an attack on Pearl harbor.

The world has been on the verge of more world war since 1947 with the founding of the Warsaw Pact by the Soviet Union and its counterpart, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  When Russia replaced the USSR in 1991, the next crisis was founded by Mao Zedong’s Chinese government which staged a series of bold nuclear and missile tests.  More upstarts to war again have brought tense years with the prospect of another world war dominating the world in recent years.

Meanwhile, most people throughout the world want to enjoy family lives that can be lived in loving peacefulness with a home, children, recreational and educational opportunities and a long life.  Although these conditions may never have been experienced by most people in North Korea, it’s imagined that daydreams of such a life by the average North Korean is commonplace.

Paths to a lasting world peace are constantly being identified.  Most of these have been tried again and again, this time regarding North Korea, with consideration given to “surgical” military strikes, imposed sanctions and isolation, diplomacy and pushing China to do more. To date, nothing has worked in what’s become known as “The Land of Lousy Options.”  President Trump criticized war before becoming commander-in-chief but has since his inauguration added American troops to already existing numbers of them in Afghanistan and Syria and has not closed Guantanamo any more than reducing troop numbers all over the world.  He’s also proven himself in all matters unpredictable, a pledge loyalty from every American his most important objective.

However, what bothers me most at present and will do so into the foreseeable future has a little less to do with more war as much as does global warming, out of which the Paris (climate) Accord President Trump has now withdrawn the U.S.  It’s not just the rising of sea levels and the fleeing of coastlines alone.  Indeed, based on what’s anticipated to happen, parts of the Earth formerly ideal for human habitation will become close to uninhabitable while other parts will be totally inhospitable.  These human eradication conditions are, without a world community-of-interventions, forecasted before the end of this century.

Yes, most assuredly we must stop warring with each other (that state of peace would help decisively) devoting ourselves instead, all of us, to finding more successful ways to get along.  Immediately, that’s today, we earthlings must put our heads together to save the Earth from most of it being inhospitable while those remaining parts being too hot and stormy and too contaminated of air, water and soil to support human life anywhere on this planet.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)