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Month: August 2017

Legislature can learn from Keizer

As I write this column, it’s Sunday afternoon, the day before the Eclipsealypse or whatever it will be called in the future. By the time you read this, you’ll have experienced something that is, maybe, a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I hope it was everything you wanted it to be.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to many people in our little town called Keizer.  Our Mayor Cathy Clark, our city councilors: Laura Reid, Bruce Anderson, Amy Ryan, Roland Herrera, Kim Freeman and Marlene Parsons. The man who seems to get everything to happen in Keizer: Clint Holland.  Our wonderful police department led by Chief John Teague. Our fantastic fire district and its chief Jeff Cowan. I know I’m missing many but lastly Lyndon Zaitz and the crew at the Keizertimes.  These people and as I’ve said, many others, are part of what make Keizer the best little town in Oregon. As a state representative, I don’t try to get involved too much in city business but when I do have the opportunity I find that all of these folks and others, really help me to understand what “the volunteer spirit” truly is.  You see, though some of the people I’ve listed are, of course, paid employees, all of them do so much more than “their job” and go “above and beyond” to make Keizer the place that it is.  Sadly, so many times in the state legislature, our political differences keep us from working together to make Oregon better.  From what I’ve seen in my second term in the Oregon House, both sides can be right and both sides can be wrong but they can’t always seem to see that. Working together can also be something that does great things yet if it means compromising your principles, it can be a disaster. An example of that is Gov. Kate Brown’s recent line item veto of certain projects that were negotiated as part of a deal made by both sides.  Though I am not a fan of political deals,  there is a time for them and both sides must keep their word.  Rep. Sal Esquivel of Medford kept his word, the governor did not. I’ve written many times in this space that I feel that one-party rule is detrimental to Oregon. I contend that with either party this is true as there was a time, not long ago, when my party was in control of the Oregon Legislature and I am ashamed to say, made many of the same mistakes and pulled many of the same tactics that the current party in charge are doing.  If I could wave a magic wand I’d make the legislature just like Keizer.  We may come from differing political ideologies here, but we come together to help each other when it counts.  This eclipse event is exactly what I mean. So much has been done by so many to make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience here in Keizer, I am just so proud of our town.

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

Eclipse event hits it out of Keizer Rapids Park

By MARLENE PARSONS

Thank you,  Keizer!

The Keizer Park Foundation’s solar eclipse event fundraiser at Keizer Rapids Park was a huge success and the citizens of Keizer were welcoming to our out-of-town guests. There are several people that helped pull all of this together and I would like to acknowledge them.

David Louden for his tireless work on preparing the camping field for campers, providing security at night alongside his son Chris, and being available to the campers

Allen Barker for his tireless work on preparing the camping field for campers, and being available to help the campers find their spots.

Rich Palmer from the Keizer Parks Foundation gave up a few days of his time to also help out with staking out the camping spots to working the registration booth.

Tom Thiele saved the day by bringing out his quads so that we could get around better in the fields and then he stayed and helped us for a few days.

Trudy Thiele, Teagan, and Tyler for their help showing guests their camping spots.

Bob Shackleford for bringing in sponsors: (Les Schwab, Keizer Vision Clinic, Earth Tech Landscape Solutions, Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center, Keizer Elks, JC’s Pizza, Brian and April McVey Coldwell Banker, Mommy and Maddi’s, Home Smart Realty, Oregon Finest Custom Tile, Odd Moe’s Pizza, Building Materials Bargain Center Inc., Battle Storm Funcional Fitness and Defense and Rich Ford with Windmere Realty, thank you again for your support)  to help offset the cost of the event and for being available to help out in the field to give our other folks a rest.

Matt Lawyer for getting the trash cans donated for the facility.

Kriss Lawyer for not only organizing the registration booth but for helping out in whatever was needed.

Clint Holland for providing three nights and one morning of amazing entertainment at the Keizer Rotary Amphitehatre.

Maria Kelly helping in registration and the HOST Camper.

CERT, especially Linda Pantalone for organizing her teams to protect our campers.

Keizer Police Department for patrolling and always being present.

Keizer Fire District for patrolling and always being present. The campers were grateful that we took care of them.

The Keizer Chamber of Commerce who lent us their trailer for registration, and for providing signage from the freeway to the park.

Bob Parsons for traffic control, trash control and manning the Camp Host trailer.

Jeremy Turner for creating the website so that our campers and volunteers could sign up on line.

The Keizer Parks Foundation for manning the registration booth and getting our campers checked in.

There were numerous volunteers who worked every day on picking up trash, traffic control and helping the campers find their spots. Special thanks to these folks:

Amanda Buenz, Kristie Sears, Carla Schultheis, Kevin Dial, Jeremy Turner, Judi Liechty, Andrea Bland, Kris Bland, Tim Reid, Allison Reid, Evan Harvey, Heather Roberts and Megan Dulong, I appreciate all of these folks because without volunteers we could not have pulled this off.

Councilor Laura Reid  volunteer coordinator, traffic control, trash control, you name it she was there rolling up her sleeves.

Councilor Kim Freeman—Doing everything we asked of her and just being present to help where needed.

And special thanks to the Keizertimes for advertising our event and printing off maps in a special edition for our guests to get around town.

We had campers from all over the world: Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland and folks that came from Texas, Oklahoma,Washington,California, Idaho, Maryland, Alaska and Florida.

The campers were excited to be at our park and some of the comments that they wrote were:

“Thank you for welcoming us to your party.”

“Nice park.”

“Great organization! Definitely would visit again.”

“This is a great experience! So impressed with all the Keizer people volunteering and how organized it all is.”

These are just a few of the comments that our campers wrote in our guest book.

It is amazing how our little town came together for the most amazing eclipse ever. Awes and tears; I hope that I didn’t forget anyone and if I did thank you again.

I’m very grateful to serve this city and call it my home. Keizer, we did well!

(Marlene Parsons is the president of the Keizer City Council and spearheaded the eclipse-related events at Keizer Rapids Park.)

ECLIPSED: Celestial event draws global audience to Keizer

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After months of build-up, and more than a little anxiety, the Great American Eclipse came and went all too quickly for most viewers Monday, Aug. 21.

“It’s was a whirlwind, but we were able to pull it off. Everyone was respectful and friendly and took great care of our park, and the big payoff this morning made it all worth it,” said City Councilor Marlene Parsons, who spearheaded the organization of the Keizer Eclipse event at Keizer Rapids Park.

Parsons and other city councilors who participated in the all-weekend effort recapped the event at the Keizer city council meeting the evening following the eclipse.

The Keizer Eclipse event in Keizer Rapids Park drew visitors from several continents and numerous states and all of them turned to stare at the sun as it appeared behind the moon, eliciting, oohs, ahhs, and a general excited ruckus.

Alan O’Connell, along with wife Emma and daughter Rudy, traveled all the way from London to snag a spot on the big lawn.

“I definitely wanted to see it, there was one years ago in the UK, but it was cloudy and I missed that chance,” said Alan, who described himself as a astronomy enthusiast, but by no means a die-hard. “We looked at many places, but it came down to here or Solarfest and this was a bit cheaper.”

The O’Connells arrived at 1 p.m. on Saturday and already had rave reviews of the park’s Big Toy.

“It’s brilliant and the xylophone thing is great. That’s probably the best playground we’ve ever been to,” Alan said.

“We’ve only been in this park so far, but it’s really beautiful. We are really happy that we came here because the set-up is just perfect,” Emma added.

Denis Vrba and Judson Barnes traveled down from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Vrba  brought with him a friend, Denis Stoltz, from Sudetenland. The trio visited and took pictures with Mayor Cathy Clark before settling in for the night.

Vrba was most impressed with the people he’d seen around the park as volunteers.

“There are so many people active and involved,” he said.

Barnes said there were some things not that different from home.

“Most of B.C. is on fire right now and we came to Oregon and it’s the same thing,” he joked.

Manon and Maarten Van Wamel, who also live in B.C., were hosting a nephew from their native Netherlands and decided to make the trip to Oregon almost on a lark.

Manon said the reasonable price for the location made it ideal.

She and Maarten had both seen an eclipse in 1991, but they were more prepared to enjoy it this time around.

“I was working at an airport the first time and the biggest thing was everything went silent, which is unusual for an airport,” Manon said.

“I was in a forested area and we were laying down on ground. You could see the shadow approach and go away,” Maarten said.

Their nephew Floris Reininga and his girlfriend Laura Vingelvein already planned to visit Canada but the eclipse opportunity came up unexpectedly.

“We had no clue,” Floris said.

The group took advantage of the trip to Oregon to visit the Canby Rodeo, which was another highlight for Laura, a horse enthusiast.

“It was awesome and so cool,” Laura said.

Visitors from Brazil, Tijuana, Japan and Australia had all checked into the camp by the end of the weekend. The event, a fundraiser for the Keizer Parks Foundation, is expected to bring in upward of $30,000 when the final tallies come in, Parsons said.

Keizer’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) provided a variety of services 24/7 at Keizer Rapids Park, including patrolling the area for fire hazards and an around-the-clock first aid station.

“We saw at least 25 patients with issues ranging from a cracked collar bone to heat stroke and tons of bandages and bee stings,” said Linda Pantalone, CERT coordinator. “We provided a great customer service station where folks stopped by to visit or get directions and information. Our central location made it a great stop for families and their pets.”

Across town, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes made the most of the eclipse by hosting the first-ever eclipse-delayed baseball game. The Volcanoes hosted visitors from six continents, 34 states and even representatives of NASA who spoke about the eclipse-related science before the game.

Clark said viewing the eclipse with the nearly 6,000 people in attendance at the stadium helped her understand the hubbub surrounding totality.

“It was absolutely phenomenal, and I understand why people want to be in the zone of totality,” Clark said.

Conflicting dedications prompt debate for parks board

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

New visitors to Keizer Rapids Park might not realize that the sand volleyball courts replaced a smaller court installed by an Eagle Scout as his service project.

How and whether to honor that contribution sparked some intense debate among the members of the Keizer Parks Advisory Board Tuesday, Aug. 8.

The conversation had its start during public testimony when former city councilor and parks board member Richard Walsh provided an update on the Willamette Water Trail Committee and then switched hats as the father of Michael Walsh, the Eagle Scout who installed the original sand volleyball court.

“We encourage the scouts that – when they make something that lasts – it’s a big deal,” Richard Walsh said.  “We want to encourage people to donate their time and energy. I do have a conflict, but my preference would be for there to be something mention his name and the project.”

During the meeting, parks board members voted to name the new courts after the Hans and Vicki Schneider family, who donated time, effort and financial support to installing the new courts and are in the process of adding a covered shelter nearby. However, the fate of Michael Walsh’s recognition was left undetermined.

Richard Walsh suggested that something in smaller type could be added to the final dedication plaque. Michael Walsh’s original contributions are currently commemorated with a metal sign that hangs on a fence near the courts.

Parks Board Member Clint Holland said he spoke to the Schneider family and they preferred that the Walsh dedication remain separate from theirs.

“(Hans) said they were fine with leaving the current marker in place,” Holland said.

While the parks board has previously-adopted policies regarding dedications, the volleyball court dedications threw a wrench into the works.

“We have the parameters, but this is unprecedented because it was something that was replaced,” said Matt Lawyer, a parks board member.

Keizer Public Works Director Bill Lawyer saw the dedications as two separate issues: naming the current courts and new shelter, and recognition for projects that have been replaced.

Matt Lawyer also saw the issue arising again in the near future, which he said was reason enough to establish new policy.

“The skate park is going to be something where we might encounter the same issue. It was great for this area, but the times and needs have changed. Memorialization of prior work is important,” Lawyer said.

Carlson Skate Park is in need of substantial repairs for safety reason, which are being prepped, but a larger remodel might be in the works. It’s named after a family that contributed substantially to the $360,000 effort. The city may end up paying for all of the new work with a parks fee, but other donors could arise prompting the need to rethink dedications.

A motion to table the discussion until a future meeting failed, and the dedication was approved in it’s place. However, parks board members planned to invite Schneider and Michael Walsh to a future meeting to discuss how the older commemoration could be handled for the volleyball courts.

Volcanoes suffer one run loss to Canadians

By HERB SWETT
Of the Keizertimes

Vancouver’s big inning in Sunday’s middle game of the series produced four runs, the Volcanoes’ three.

That was the difference in a game that was tied 1-1 after 5-1/2 innings and ended with a Salem-Keizer 5-4 loss. The Canadians had their rally in the sixth, and the Volcanoes had theirs in the seventh.

Stet Woods, Salem-Keizer’s starting pitcher, struck out seven and allowed three hits and two walks. He left the game after throwing 80 pitches in five innings and would have pitched to no decision had his team won.

Nate Pearson, who started on the mound for Vancouver, pitched no-hit baseball for three innings with one walk and six strikeouts, throwing his fast ball at 100 or more m.p.h. several times.

Such a record is more typical of a closer, and he may have shown signs of tiring after those innings.

The Volcanoes’ Malique Ziegler, leading off in the top of the fourth, hit his fourth home run of the season off Brayden Boucher to left center field for the first run of the game. Bryce Johnson followed with a bunt single, but Bouchey retired the next three batters.

In the Vancouver fourth, Kacy Clemens walked with two out and went to second base on a single to right by Riley Adams. Samad Taylor doubled to left, scoring Clemens, and the game was tied.

Brody Rodning took the mound for the Canadians in the top of the fifth and retired Salem-Keizer in order.

Vancouver threatened in the fifth, with Bryan Lizardo leading off with a double to left. Woods struck out the next two batters. A wild pitch moved Lizardo to third, but Woods fanned the next man.

In the top of the sixth, it was the Volcanoes’ turn to threaten.

Tyler Brown led off with a triple to right, and Ziegler walked.

Johnson, however, hit into an unusual double play, with third baseman Lizardo throwing to second baseman Samad Taylor, who put Ziegler out and threw to catcher Riley Adams, who tagged out Brown.

With Johnson at first on the fielder’s choice, a pitch hit Logan Baldwin, but Ryan Kirby flew out to center.

Garrett Cave took the mound for the Volcanoes in the sixth. The Canadians’ rally started with a one-out single to right by Clemens. Adams and Taylor walked, loading the bases. Owen Spiwak drove in Clemens and Adams with a single to center, with Taylor reaching third. A wild pitch scored Taylor, and Lizardo got Spiwak home with a single to center.

In the Salem-Keizer seventh, Orlando Garcia and Shane Matheny walked. Junior Amion doubled to right, scoring Garcia and moving Matheny to third. A ground out by Dylan Manwaring drove in Matheny, and moved Amion to third.

A ground out by Brown scored Amion. After Ziegler and Johnson walked, Yordano Herdenez relieved Rodning and struck out Baldwin to end the threat.

Vancouver sought an insurance run in the eighth. Reggie Pruitt led off with a double to left and went to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Matheny, on a fielder’s choice that put Logan Warmoth on first, threw out Warmoth at home.

John Russell pitched the ninth for the Volcanoes and retired the Canadians in order. Orlando Pascual pitched the bottom of the ninth and did the same to Salem-Keizer.

Rodning was the winning pitcher with a 4-1 record, and Pascual had his third save. Cave took the loss at 1-1.

Sign code revisions get first look

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Planning Commission wrangled with the fallout from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision during its Aug. 9 meeting.

City staff presented a host of changes to Keizer’s sign code that brings the city into line with the Supreme Court’s decision, clears up some areas of ambiguity, and will grant additional latitude to business owners regarding signage.

In the Reid vs. Town of Gilbert judgement, the Supreme Court determined that sign codes need to be content-neutral, which is another way of saying the code cannot suppress freedom of speech. That caused an issue for Keizer because it has rules applicable only to real estate and political signs.

Community Development Director Nate Brown said that staff was suggesting small adjustments rather than a major overhaul because “every adjustment has ramifications. The main objective of any sign code is identification of place and balanced visual access to the public.”

A public hearing on the issue will be continued at the commission’s September meeting, but the commission reviewed and offered input on the suggested changes.

Some of the proposed alterations include:

• Allowing for a wider variety of geometric shapes.

• Placing signs for real estate, elections, government signs and non-profit signs into a larger category of temporary signs.

• Allowing temporary signs, such as banners, to be attached to buildings for up to 120 days within a 12 month period.

• Allowing portable signs and feather flags to be placed one-per-storefront with a 10-foot separation.

• Creating a new section that permits special signage for grand openings and special sales.

• Allowing electronic signs to change once every 60 seconds – the current code limits changes to once every 15 minutes – and allowing them to be attached to walls.

• Allowing smaller, secondary frontage signs for all businesses. The current code only allows such signage in Keizer Station.

The proposed changes are the result of staff input and conversations with the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.

The most-talked-about change was allowing electronic signs to change more frequently. The current limit of once every 15 minutes falls far outside the industry standard of once every eight seconds. In Keizer, there is even greater limitation on electronic signs associated with public entities, such as Keizer Fire District and McNary High School. Those messages can only change once per day, but would be treated the same under the new code if the changes are approved.

Jonathan Thompson, speaking on behalf of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, told commissioners that the Chamber preferred the eight second standard.

“One of the reasons that folks want the eight seconds was what we saw when police went up and down River Road asking businesses to put up messages about the fee hearing. It would be easier to post something like that in with a message from my business,” Thompson said.

Testimony from Justin Briley, one of the new owners of Keizer Mart on River Road North, revealed the need for one of the changes in the code and a space where conflict between competing goals has arisen.

Keizer Mart is located in Keizer Plaza with 12 other businesses and Briley drew the ire of some of them when he began placing signs outside promoting new ownership and other aspects of the business.

“We were unaware that there was any kind of restriction and I later found out that we had to share between everyone in there,” Briley said. That’s one of the reasons for the proposed change to portable signs and feather flags. If the change is approved, a space like Keizer Plaza will be allowed more overall signage.

Briley also said he has trouble attracting attention of southbound drivers on River Road North despite having a sign on his River Road frontage wall. The problem is that a tree planted for the purpose of beautification now completely obscures the sign.

“Our urban renewal program sought to plant green trees along River Road, but that competes with the visual space available for business,” Brown said.

As far as input from the commission, there was some support for both the more rapid change of electronic signs and some that preferred longer times, but the majority appeared to feel a 60-second rate of change was ideal.

Chair Hersch Sangster told staff “you’re on the right track.”

Doling out hope one food box at a time

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

I’m helping my third client of the Keizer Community Food Bank (KCFB) collect items for a food box when I notice that we’ve run out of laundry detergent.

It’s not an absolute necessity, but it’s not the only thing that’s disappeared. There wasn’t much bar soap to begin with, ranch dressing is dwindling and the quarts of 1 percent milk left can be counted on one hand.

My third client of the night means we’ve only helped about a dozen of the 20 families waiting for food boxes. There’s plenty of bread and even fresh fruit and vegetables still available, but it’s the extra items that can add a lot to a grocery bill I wish the food bank had in greater supply.

It’s Monday, Aug. 14, and it is not the first time I’ve “muled” for KCFB. “Mules” are the food bank lingo for the volunteers that help clients collect items for their food boxes and then assist them with loading into their vehicles. I sincerely doubt it will be my last time.

Tonight the members of the Keizer City Council and City Recorder Tracy Davis visited for a tour of the facility. Davis, Councilor Roland Herrera and Mayor Cathy Clark stayed for volunteer shifts. No one asked me to stay, but I’ve seen the work that this food bank does, talked with volunteers and directors past and present, volunteered alongside them, and come to realize that what happens here is less about food and more about hope.

Even so, it’s been a time of change for the food bank and for clients, says Rev. Curt McCormack, the director of KCFB, a interfaith collaboration of five Keizer churches.

“Right now our numbers are down over last year, we used to see about 220 families a month and now it’s about 175. The difference is we are seeing more new clients each month,” he says.

He’s uncertain how to interpret the data. It could mean that some families are finding jobs easier to come by, but it seems that others (maybe those in other industries) are finding themselves in need for the first time.

On the other hand, there is a healthy amount of food on the pantry shelves. In the past, I’ve seen it as bare as a few cans and boxes per shelf. There are, of course, needs. Canned fruit or pre-packaged cups of fruit or applesauce are always hard to come by here. Those items are often more expensive per ounce than canned vegetables or proteins.

KCFB gets about 80 percent of the food it provides to families from the Marion-Polk Food Share, another 5 percent is donated directly to the food bank, which is housed at Faith Lutheran Church on River Road North. The remainder is purchased with financial donations, and McCormack can purchase about $3 worth of food and other items for every $1 in donations. Recently, it’s become more important to have the financial donations to purchase specific items when the food bank runs low.

“There are times when we have more rice than we can give away, but it’s a low rice time right now,” McCormack says.

The food bank also deals with an unpredictable schedule in terms of orders from the Marion-Polk Food Share, which are completed two weeks before a truck delivers it, and needs of clients that change from week-to-week.

McCormack could take advantage of a local cannery that will sell canned food cheap in bulk, but he would have to buy it by the pallet and then figure out how to transport it to  Faith Lutheran and store it until it is all given away.

“That’s why dollar donations work better. We can buy what we need when we need it and the dollar goes a lot further,” McCormack says.

I don’t feel like it’s a stretch to say that those dollars buy hope. Food on the table or less stress around it means families can have one more day when life in general is less of a struggle.

Visiting a food bank for the first time is likely a pride-shattering choice for anyone, but what has always impressed me is the collective character of the volunteers who welcome them into the fold without judgement or pity and do their best to send them on their way able to hold their heads a little higher than when they came in.

As a volunteer, being around others so willing to see the best in every person feels like redemption for some of the other horrors the world foists upon us. That’s what keeps me coming back. I suspect the experience is the same for others, and it’s a huge return on a $1 investment.

For more information on donating to KCFB, call 503-871-9100. Sustainable giving options are available.

McNary to reward positive behavior

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School is pushing a more positive behavior system, where instead of only focusing on the students who are doing something wrong, kids will be rewarded for making good choices.

The system, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), was brought to McNary by former assistant principal Jay Crystal. But new assistant principal Dan Borresen wants to take it to another level.

“It’s a system that takes several years to put into place and get kids to buy into,” Borresen said. “He (Crystal) started it and we’re just tweaking it and adjusting it and making it more school-wide. We’re going to really push those supports where kids can see it.”

Borresen and behavioral specialist Brad Emmert will do that by using ‘bold cards,” which are named after McNary’s mission statement of  “Bold enough to be the best educating, nurturing and inspiring.”

Staff will have the cards to be given to students they witness making good choices. The kid will then write their name on the card and turn it in for a monthly drawing.

“I’ve got a lot of businesses now that are supporting us with coupons, gift certificates and even money to buy some things for the kids,” Borresen said. “Our community is so supportive of this school. It’s amazing.”

A business or anyone wanting to donate to the bold card program can contact Borresen at 503-399-3233.

“We want to encourage our kids to be a part of our McNary family and be good people and help one another while they’re doing it,” Borresen said.

McNary also has a new option for students struggling with behavior—a new study area called the Celt Center.

“Instead of taking a kid that normally may have been in trouble or sent home, I’m not going to send them home,” Borresen said. “We’re going to get them in that room (Celt Center) and let them cool off and calm down and then we’re going to get them work from their teachers.”

Since many teachers use Google classroom, the Celt Center will be equipped with computers as well as an aide proficient in study skills.

“The system is designed not to get kids and remove kids from school,” Borresen said. “We want to keep them in a school setting for as long as we possibly can. There are times when a kid is going to make a series of choices that ends up getting them sent home but we want to do everything we possibly can to keep the kid engaged in classes.”

McNary staff has also been asked to try to understand what a student might be dealing with at home and build relationships and work with kids that traditionally they might have written referrals for.

Last school year, 2016-17, McNary cut its teacher referrals down from 649 to 405.

“This is teachers doing everything they can to keep the kid in class,” Borresen said. “Our staff has bought it. Because this is a lot of work, we’ve got 35 kids in a class and a young woman or young man who’s really struggling to follow directions. That’s asking a lot of them. Teachers already I think get asked to do too much but the fact that they were able to do everything they can says a lot about how good our staff is. Our staff is amazing.”

Volcanoes to celebrate eclipse with BrewFest

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

When news got out that the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes were going to be the first professional sports team to delay a game for an eclipse, NASA was so impressed that they decided to send six scientists from all over the country.

On Monday, Aug. 21, gates to Volcanoes Stadium will open at 5 a.m. Breakfast will then be served for $10  from 6 to 9 a.m. From 6:30 to first pith at 9:35 a.m., NASA will give six different presentations.

The Volcanoes will play one inning of baseball before delaying for totality of the eclipse, which is scheduled for 10:17 and set to last 1 minute and 57 seconds.

NASA is live streaming the game worldwide on its website at www.nasa.gov/eclipselive.

Admission to the game includes top-of-the-line NASA eclipse glasses.

“You’re never going to find a better situation for glasses than to get those,” Lisa Walker, co-owner of the Volcanoes said.

As of Wednesday, only a select number of tickets were available for Monday’s game through the Totality Eclipse Package, which for $50 includes general admission to all four games Aug. 18-21. Another option is the Party Patio, which are $50 for Monday only.

“It’s a beautiful location between the dugout and bullpen,” Walker said.

For availability, call 503-390-2225 or visit volcanoesbaseball.com.

“We have no intention of selling tickets the day of the game,” said Walker, who also recommended purchasing parking beforehand.

EclipseFest will begin Friday, Aug. 18 with BrewFest at 3 to 10 p.m.

A NASA presentation is scheduled for 5 p.m. The baseball game against the Boise Hawks starts at 6:35 with fireworks afterwards.

BrewFest, which includes more than 30 beers from 15 breweries, will continue Saturday at noon.

More NASA presentations are planned for 1 and 5 p.m. JT and the Tourists are performing live music from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Former major leaguer Ken Griffey Sr. is signing free autographs beginning at 5:30.

The Volcanoes play the Hillsboro Hops at 6:35.

Sunday is Bike to the Park Day, beginning with BrewFest at noon. NASA presentations are again scheduled for 1 and 5 p.m. A Backyard Baseball Barbecue with ribs and chicken will be served for $10 from 1 to 3 p.m. The baseball game begins at 2:05.

Admission to BrewFest on Aug. 18-20 is $10 and includes a ticket to that day’s game.

City employee raises cause stir

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Salary surveys for unrepresented employees spurred debate among members of the Keizer City Council during a meeting Monday, Aug. 7.

The city conducts salary surveys of comparable employees at other agencies on a regular basis and then adjusts compensation packages to bring them in-line with average pay for the given type of work. The city is required to perform such surveys for union-represented employees, but conducts the surveys for non-union employees as a matter of policy every four years. Unrepresented employees generally perform supervisory roles.

This time around Human Resources Director Machell DePina recommended raising compensation in nine of the city’s 39 job classifications, affecting 14 employees in six departments.

“The last time we performed the survey (2013) we recommended adjustments in more than half the classifications,” DePina said.

The total cost of the cost of living (COLA) and merit adjustments – which will affect positions including the event center coordinator, legal assistant, accounting technicians and Keizer police sergeants, among others – is $52,300. The city will absorb the additional costs through better-than-expected revenues from franchise fees and liquor taxes and lower-than-expected health care costs, said Tim Wood, city finance director.

DePina said the raises only bring current Keizer employees within 5 percent of averages.

“It doesn’t even bring them even,” DePina said. She suggested failing to do so could be more costly in the long run because of increased turnover, reduced productivity and morale issues. “We do the same work as other cities with a third of the employees, and lower salaries would make it difficult to recruit the exceptional candidates.”

Councilor Amy Ryan took issue with the timing of the raises, which will be retroactive to July 1, and the ask itself.

“I think we have some great quality people, but as a budget committee member we approved (COLA) raises at $67,000 in June,” Ryan said. “The timing is poor – not because of employees – but because we just approved fees for police and parks. That’s $120,000 in raises right when we are asking for (residents) to help us make right our police and parks.”

The approved 2017-18 budget included $67,400 in cost-of-living and merit-based raises.

Ryan questioned why the salary survey was not included as part of budget talks that took place in May.

“The budget committee is going to look at the allocation of resources, but I don’t think it is up to the budget committee to determine whether (unrepresented employees) should be paid competitively,” responded Mayor Cathy Clark. “The compensation is a policy decision that we have chosen to take care of (non-union) in same manner as unionized employees.”

It still did not sit well with Ryan who voted against the implementation of pay adjustments.

“$119,000 in increases when we are asking our tax payers to step up is very unfair,” Ryan said.

The increases were approved with a 5-1 vote. Councilor Laura Reid was absent.