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Day: September 8, 2017

DEQ decision hinged on how the soil would be used, not where

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) looked at several options for handling contaminated soil at the site of a residential development in Salem before determining that moving it to two abandoned quarries north of Keizer would be the best fit.

The decision boiled down to how the soil could be accessed by the public, said Nancy Sawka, a senior project manager with DEQ. The owners of the Northstar development, Granada Land Company, LLC, proposed several options for dealing with the pesticide-contaminated dirt: moving to a low-lying area of the property and capping it, which would require ongoing monitoring; treating the soil onsite to reduce contamination; excavating it and moving it to a landfill; or moving it to the quarry pits for future continued agricultural use.

Moving it to the quarries was the cheapest option on the board, but it had other benefits, Sawka said.

“Even if the contaminated soil was capped (onsite), there would always be a chance that residents or children could come in contact with the soil by digging or that the soil could be exposed during outdoor projects or subsurface work,” she said.

It would require that every home on the property come with a deed restriction notifying all future owners of the dieldrin contamination (see sidebar: What is dieldrin?). While that might work fine for immediate owners, the likelihood of forgetting over time makes it a problematic solution.

“This can result in people being exposed to contamination in the future, often without knowing about it. Especially for a site like this with contamination over a large area, with many different future land owners, capping and managing soil in place would be very difficult to implement and not as protective as removing it in a controlled manner under DEQ oversight,” Sawka said.

Sawka said the owners did not look at alternative sites for dumping the soil.

Aside from cost, each of the possible solutions was scored on: the effectiveness and protectiveness of the clean-up, the long-term reliability, how difficult or easily the plan could be implemented, any risks associated with performing the actions.

DEQ officials also paid attention to the how the soil would be used in the quarries – for growing hazelnuts. To that end, DEQ consulted the Oregon Department of Agriculture regarding the possibility of the resulting nuts containing dieldrin.

Sawka passed along the following response from ODA officials: “People are primarily exposed to dieldrin when eating certain crops grown in soils where dieldrin was previously used. Crops such as squash, pumpkin, zucchini, and carrots are most apt to uptake dieldrin from the soils. Many crops do not uptake dieldrin or do so at very low rates. Hazelnuts are proposed to be grown at the new location. It’s unlikely that hazelnut (filbert) trees uptake significant levels of dieldrin.”

Moving the dirt through Keizer, and past four schools, drew outcry from those responding during a public comment period about the plan. Sawka does not expect contamination during transport to be a problem and is basing the conclusion on monitoring of the current site while soil was being moved.

“The dust and air was monitored during the preliminary soil excavation activities that were conducted on the east side of the site between August 7 and 15, 2017.  Dieldrin was not detected in any of the air samples,” she said.

She added the trucks moving the dirt will remain on graveled temporary roads during loading to minimize dust.

“The trucks will be washed to rinse the exterior as well as lightly wet the soils to help suppress any dust during transport. The soil in the truck will be securely covered with a tarp. After the soil is unloaded at the receiving site, the trucks will be swept clean before returning to the road. Dust suppression will also be done at the site receiving the soil,” Sawka said.

I & E Construction, the main contractor, will also need to have a spill prevention, response and safety plan in place.

Prior to August, DEQ officials had not visited the quarries, but have done so since a meeting with Keizer representatives on July 31. Sawka said no testing was done because it is not required and was not requested by the owners, but the visit was intended to help DEQ better address some comments received during the public comment period.

One of the outstanding conflicts is where the water table begins on the quarry property. According to the property owner the quarries are about 17 feet deep, and well logs from 2005 show workers first struck water at a depth of 17 feet.

“Hydrogeologists and licensed geologists from DEQ reviewed the application for the placement of the soil in the quarry pits and came to the conclusion that there are no potential groundwater impacts because dieldrin is not very soluble and binds tightly to the soil. This is why dieldrin is still present at low levels in the soil on the site and in other agriculture soils in the Willamette Valley even though it was banned. If it were soluble, it would have washed out of the soil and would no longer be present,” said Sawka when asked about the possibility of dieldrin leaching into Keizer’s water supply.

Even with all that in place, it is unlikely that trucks will begin moving through Keizer very soon. One of the quarries contains mapped wetlands and will require permits from the Department of State Lands and the Army Corps of Engineers before it can be filled.

Lady Celts start volleyball season 4-1

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—Another close first game turned into a blowout as McNary went on the road and defeated North Salem 3-0 on Thursday, Sept. 7.

The Lady Celts looked like they would easily win the first set, taking a 15-8 advantage.

However, unforced errors gave North Salem life and the Lady Vikings took full advantage, tying the game at 23-23 after McNary missed on back-to-back kills, one wide and another long.

The Lady Celts were able to regroup and win the next two points to take the first game 25-23.

“We started slow but we picked it up at the end of the game,” libero Sophia Salinas said. “We talked way more and started playing less frantic and more disciplined. It was just our energy level.”

MHS head coach Crystal DeMello agreed the Lady Celts energy wasn’t where it needed to be.

“North had amazing energy and we need to mirror that,” DeMello said. “That’s something that they need to learn from this. They know better.”

Slow starts have been a common theme this season. McNary played a similar match at McKay.

“They have to find their groove right off the bat,” DeMello said. “It’s something that we’ve been working on. It’s the goal they set every single game. They just need to come out strong straight from the get go and remember routines when we’re at away games.”

The Lady Celts had less trouble in the second and third games, winning easily 25-12 and 25-13.

“We were looking to clean up our passes,” DeMello said. “They were really tight to the net. We need to make sure that we clean that up as well as everything you do before you touch a ball. We started connecting. We got our middles on. We started distributing the ball and defense, they made their adjustments. The girls finally started getting where they needed to be. Sometimes it’s the difference between one step whether or not you can make that play.”

The win improved McNary’s record to 4-1 with the only loss coming to undefeated South Salem.

“We’re just taking it one day and one game at a time,” DeMello said. “I always see what we can improve on. Right now they’re serving well. They’re taking advantage of what they can and when they get momentum we tend to get runs. That’s all I can ask of them right now.”

Polluted dirt could move through Keizer

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The City of Keizer is asking for more information before the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permits a contractor to truck 152,000 cubic yards of polluted soil through Keizer.

“The city is not opposing the project, we just want questions answered and to make sure that our citizens are protected and our neighbors are protected,” said Elizabeth Sagmiller, manager of Keizer’s environmental and technical division.

The main concern is the presence of a pesticide called dieldrin (see sidebar: What is dieldrin?). The soil contains several long-lasting pollutants, but dieldrin is the only one that exceeds health standards for residential use. The current plan is to haul the soil – in approximately 14,000 truckloads – from a development site off Hazelgreen Road Northeast in Salem, west on Lockhaven Drive and then north on Windsor Island road to fill in two abandoned quarries. The route travels near hundreds of Keizer residences, directly past three schools (Chemawa Indian School, Whiteaker Middle School and McNary High School), and a block away from Keizer Elementary School.

Granada Land Company, LLC, has already begun work on a planned 500-home residential development at the Hazelgreen site, known as Northstar. Windsor Island Company, LLC, which is owned by the Zielinski Family Trust owns the planned disposal site at 6848 Windsor Island Road North, which is outside Keizer city limits. Visitors to the development site can see where several inches of soil have already been removed in the southeast corner of the 150-acre development. For now, the tainted soil is being stored on the site.

Despite public notices in traditional outlets, Keizer officials were unaware of the plan to move the dirt through the city until an article appeared in the Statesman Journal in July, with a deadline for public comment looming, Sagmiller said.

Nancy Sawka, a DEQ senior project manager, said that DEQ mailed out more than 200 public comment notices and the exclusion of Keizer was unintentional.

“I would have expected that the developer or project engineer contact us regarding how their plan was going to work. They aren’t under any obligation to do that because they aren’t getting a permit from Keizer, but it would have been nice to get the heads up,” Sagmiller said.

DEQ officials and Keizer representatives met on July 31 to discuss the matter, but Sagmiller said she was hesitant to put any faith in the commitments made until she saw it in writing. DEQ officials also admitted they hadn’t visited the disposal site during the meeting, but have done so since.

The public comment period was also extended so Sagmiller could respond with questions she had.

One of Sagmiller’s biggest concerns is monitoring the trucks that will move the soil.

“You haven’t told me how you are going to do dust suppression, how you are going to monitor the trucks and the plans in case of a spill,” Sagmiller said.

Sagmiller requested a report on complaints and accidents involving the contractor handling the prep of the Northstar site, I & E Construction. Only one complaint regarding “service quality,” from March 2017, was logged on the Oregon Department of Justice website. Sagmiller is still waiting for an official report.

The lack of study on the disposal site leads Sagmiller to other unsettling questions. However, DEQ officials are not required to test the disposal site and the owners have not asked them to.

At the development site, the DEQ studied the position of the contaminated soil in relation to groundwater, which is about 60 to 80 feet below the surface. At the disposal site, the abandoned quarries are estimated to be about 17 feet deep and well logs from 2005 demonstrated that the water level is also 17 feet deep.

“The disposal site is also part of the National Wetlands Inventory, a database that looks at all the wetlands in the United States and determines whether there are wetland features,” Sagmiller said.

While the property falls outside the the wetlands mapped by Salem and Keizer, which are generally more accurate, Sagmiller said the area bears telltale signs of the presence of wetlands.

“I can look at that area and see standing water and the vegetation like willows and sedges and a lot of weeds. Anything that tolerates wet feet,” Sagmiller said.

After the plan made headlines, Sagmiller said she received a number of calls regarding the situation from all over, including several in agricultural areas in Oregon and Idaho. Aside from specifics about dieldrin, the conversations seemed to signal a fear of setting precedence for moving tainted soil.

“In this case, for the city, what we are saying is DEQ needs to do their due diligence. We want to know why they made the decisions they made,” Sagmiller said. Sagmiller said.

McNary goes to South Salem thinking revenge

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

From a snap over the quarterback’s head to a blocked punt inside the 10-yard line to a fumble in the end zone to a critical 12 men on the field penalty in the final minutes, last season’s South Salem film was a hard re-watch for McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen.

“We made so many mistakes last year,” Auvinen said. “It was one thing after another and we did not play very well.”

What makes matters worse is if McNary defeats South Salem, the Celtics finish tied for first in the Greater Valley Conference with Sprague and West Salem.

“We owe them one if not more than one from previous years,” Auvinen said.

McNary last beat the Saxons in 2013.

Auvinen isn’t sure what to expect from this South Salem team, which just like last season, is coming off a more than 40-point loss to Sprague to open the season.

“There’s a lot of mystery at the moment,” Auvinen said. “I don’t know how good North is because they’ve only played one game. I don’t know how good South is because they’ve only played one game and I don’t know how good we are because we’ve only played one game. I think Sprague is pretty good but besides that I’m not sure.”

Alex Sanchez, a 265-pound defensive lineman, tight end and running back, will lead the Saxons as they welcome McNary Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. South Salem has a new quarterback in junior Elijah Enomoto-Haole.

Auvinen would like to see his team take a step up in all three phases of the game.

While the defense gave up only seven points to North Salem, thanks in large part to two goal line stands, the Celtics allowed too much yardage.

The offense left too many points on the board due to dropped passes and penalties.

Like last season, Auvinen expects a tight game at South Salem.

“I think it’s going to be very competitive,” he said. “It’s two good teams that will play hard and be well coached and try to progress from Week 1. It should be interesting.”

Gorge fire started by ignorance?

With half of Oregon seemingly on fire, it is no surprise that Keizer—miles from the nearest wildfire—suffers from smoke hanging over us.

The irritation of unhealthy air is minor compared to those who livelihoods and homes have been destroyed or damaged by fire. There is no fire threatening Keizer yet we are all horrified by the speed and size of fires. Many wildfires are started by lightening, something people understand. It is the wildfires that are started by humans that is hard to grasp and elicits feelings of anger, revenge and even vigilantism.

A 15-year-old is suspected of lighting and throwing a firecracker into a ravine in the Eagle Creek area. From that one immature act more than 10,000 acres have burned in the Columbia Gorge, threatening some of Oregon’s most cherished historical and hiking sites.

Some want the young suspect to sit in jail, others want the parents to pay restitution for their kid’s crime. These feelings are understandable when one sees Oregon’s natural playland go up in flames, but we all must take a step back for a moment and consider what has happened.

First, in America, a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Did the teen confess when questioned by law enforcement officers? Was there more than one eyewitness to the firecracker throwing incident? Prosecutors may decide not to file charges against a minor in a case of what could be determined to be youthful ignorance.

Is it ignorance? Is it possible that the teen who allegedly threw a lit firecracker into a tinder dry ravine did not understand the consequences? How old does a person have to be before they understand that any kind of uncontrolled fire and a forest do not mix? Is this one of those incidents that happen because our youth don’t get the kind of real-world learning that people received in the past?

Who teaches our kids that in the summer our forests are dry and flammable? Who teaches our kids not to play with fire in the forest? These lessons should be taught along with other lessons that those of a certain age know by heart: walk against the traffic, for example; or, tie something red on an item protruding from the back of your vehicle.

Grown ups know what they know but they may not necessarily know what kids know. Young people are battered with information all day long but one cannot be sure that some of that information is life lessons. Each day offers countless teaching moments for our youth; adults can tell kids or they can set an example with their own actions. That is a definition of being a parent, teaching our kids how to live, treat other people and their surroundings with respect.

If it is proven that the teenager did, in fact, start the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge by throwing a lit firecracker into a dry ravine,  he should be held accountable. A sentence in a juvenile  correctional facility isn’t the answer. Excusing the whole thing due to the age and history of the suspect doesn’t cut it either. If convicted, the suspected teen—and any teen convicted of a crime—should be sentenced to community service work, as an editorial in The Oregonian suggested this week, in which he would be working to repair the damage his carelessness wrought.

—LAZ

Willie Jane Jakob

June 28, 1942 – June 27, 2017

Willie Jane Jakob was born June 28, 1942 to Medford Newton “Tex” and Ida Mae Wilson in Salfridge Field, Mich.

She graduated from Saint Monica’s High School in Santa Monica, California. On June 2, 1962 she married Helmut “John” Jakob. They moved to Oregon in 1963 and settled in Keizer in 1964. She had two daughters Mary Louise and Christine Marie and several foster children including her daughters Phyllis “Lori” and Donna.

She attended Chemeketa Community College getting certified and becoming a self-employed licensed massage therapist. Willie Jane and her family became early members of St. Edward’s Catholic Church where she continued as a parishioner until her death on June 27, 2017. Funeral mass and rosary were held July 5, 2017 at St. Edward Parish. Internment at Claggett Cemetery.

Jakob is survived by her four daughters Mary Page (Tim), Christine McClellen, Phyllis “Lori” Merchant and Donna Blakley (Jerry). She has 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Additionally, she is survived by her sister-in-law, Marie Wilson. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brother, Thomas Luke Wilson.

Chemawa plants are weeds

To The Editor:

I totally agree with Lorna Moore’s letter to the editor (Chemawa Rd. plants) on the plants along Chemawa Road N.  I agree with all the descriptive adjectives she used in the article which appeared in the September 1 issue.   I call these plants weeds.

Terri E. Pace
Keizer

Striving to bring great entertainment

To the Editor:

In August the Solar Eclipse Weekend become one of the greatest events that took place in Keizer. World class violinist David Klinkenberg played at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre on Sunday and again on the morning of the eclipse.

I am trying hard to bring top bands and performers to the amphitheater within our budget.

I hope you will join us Saturday, Sept. 9, at the amphitheater for another great event:  the band JFK will perform.

Clint Holland
Keizer

Waremart in Keizer

To the Editor:

Not sure what landscaping/art Winco should be responsible for (Landscaping code revamp meets skepticism at council, Sept. 1).

I am sure of the benefit that they will provide to the community in savings to the annual grocery budget of Keizer residents, should they decide to support the addition of Winco (Waremart) to the Keizer community.  Perhaps, instead of airing the dirty laundry of the city council’s development code and recognizing Winco’s extensive remodel of the previous Albertsons’ location in a positive light, we could report the positive impact that Waremart’s substantial remodel will provide.

I am a loyal supporter of Winco as an extremely positive cost alternative to the grocery shopping experience.  Many communities offer incentives for companies to expand into their communities. It appears that Keizer is fearful that they may leave small amounts of money on the table that they might have squeezed out of future tax paying entities.

Ted Steinke
Keizer

Immigration policy working

By DEBRA SAUNDERS

Arguably the most successful element of Donald Trump’s presidency involves a campaign promise that hasn’t been enacted or funded by Congress. The mere threat of a wall —a “big, beautiful” wall—along the Mexican border has transformed the immigration equation, as fewer undocumented immigrants cross the border into the United States.

The number of illegal border crossings was down 47 percent in July compared with the same period last year, and the number is down 22 percent for the 2017 fiscal year, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Meanwhile, the number of total orders for voluntary departures or removal of undocumented immigrants between Feb. 1 and July 31 is up 31 percent.

In other words, the policy is working even if no bill has made it to the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office desk favored by many presidents.

At last week’s White House press briefing, reporters questioned press secretary Sarah Sanders about the wisdom of Trump threatening to shut down the federal government if Congress does not fund his plans for the wall. After all, Trump promised Mexico would pay for it.

Reporters also frequently ask whether building a wall is a smart use of taxpayer dollars given that illegal immigration crossings are down. Ditto for Trump’s plan to hire 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers as well as 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

Those are questions even people who want to boost enforcement against illegal immigration have been asking.

The spurt in unauthorized immigration reached a high of 12.2 million in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center. During President Barack Obama’s tenure, the number sagged from 11.3 million in 2009 to 11 million in 2015.

That is, the number of unauthorized immigrants fell even as the president argued for laws that set a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants and signed executive orders that authorized undocumented immigrants to live and work in the United States.

Trump did not roll out the welcome mat when he announced his candidacy in 2015. He said Mexico was not sending its best residents to the United States, but rather, drug dealers, criminals and rapists. Trump promised a wall and tough immigration enforcement.

After winning election, Trump wavered on his campaign pledge to revoke Obama’s executive order that shielded some individuals brought into the U.S. as the minor children of undocumented immigrants. But Trump never stopped pushing for his “big, beautiful” wall or his plans to boost enforcement.

It’s no wonder then that the Border Patrol has apprehended markedly fewer individuals trying to cross the border illegally. By focusing on enforcement beyond the border, the Trump plan reduces the incentive for immigrants to come to the United States without authorization.

“Individuals who once thought that if they could get by the Border Patrol or get smuggled in and not apprehended they were home free, that is no longer the case,” an administration official said. “An individual who crosses the border illegally and gets past the Border Patrol should no longer feel secure that they’re immune from any future enforcement.”

So does that mean Trump should abandon his pricey plan to hire more staff for ICE and the Border Patrol?

Don’t expect knee-jerk support for the Trump hires from Mark Krikorian, executive director of the pro-enforcement Center for Immigration Studies. When governments decide to hire too many cops too quickly, they sometimes drop their standards, Krikorian warned.

What Krikorian calls “the Trump effect” could argue for the hiring of fewer extra Border Patrol agents, he said, but perhaps more ICE officers responsible for enforcing immigration laws beyond the border. Krikorian also wonders whether the Trump effect might wear off, which could result in a surge of illegal border crossings.

An administration official who spoke on background during a Tuesday press call argued that immigration enforcement has been historically understaffed for its oversize job, so the new positions should be filled. Krikorian also sees the value in using new employees to bury a backlog of nearly 1 million cases that developed during years of chronic understaffing.

And the wall itself? When Trump visited Yuma, Arizona, last week, officials noted that authorities expanded the border fence in 2006 from 5.2 miles to 63 miles and border apprehensions fell by 83 percent.

Krikorian never was a big enthusiast of the fence promise.

“I’m not averse in principle to additional barriers along the border,” Krikorian said. “I just don’t necessarily think it’s job one.”

“There are places where we have a decent fence but we need a second layer. There are places where we have just a joke fence and it’s falling apart,” Krikorian added. And there are places where nature takes away the need for a fence or other barrier.

Of course, Krikorian warned, the Trump effect can discourage illegal immigration only as long as the rest of the world believes Trump will ride enforcement hard. Words alone cannot do the trick.

(Creators Syndicate)