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Day: October 6, 2017

Bend schools coming to GVC?

Final decision Oct. 16

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary student athletes, coaches and parents may soon become more familiar with the Bend area.

In its final recommendation, the Oregon School Activities Association Classification and Districting Committee placed Bend High School, Mountain View and Summit in the Greater Valley Conference with the Celtics, McKay, South Salem, Sprague and West Salem beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

The decision came after 12 meetings over the course of about a year. The committee looked at everything from dropping to five classifications, to putting the three Bend schools in the Southwestern Conference with southern Oregon and Eugene schools or with east Portland schools.

In the end, the committee stuck with six classifications and chose the GVC.

“Though it has become evident that no current league is interested in adding the three Bend schools, the group believes that choosing the shortest of the three travel options makes the most sense when applying the criteria (safety of athletes and spectators, minimizing loss of class time, minimizing expenses, and school enrollment,” the committee wrote in a release.

The committee also noted that a standalone three team Central Oregon league was not a viable option, nor was separating the three schools into different leagues.

Bend, Summit and Mountain View are all moving up from 5A. North Salem has been approved to play down and will join the 5A Mid-Willamette Conference along with West Albany. Forest Grove and McMinnville would remain in 6A but play in the Pacific Conference.

The proposal is for the 2018-22 four-year time block.

“The committee understands that not all of the moves made and placements of schools are going to be ideal for each individual school,” the release continued. “The committee recognizes that any decision regarding placement of a school has the potential to substantially impact a school and its community. Placement of schools within classifications and league are interrelated. In some cases travel increases for some while decreases for others. There is simply no scenario that exists to positively impact every school.”

The recommendation is not the final step in the public process. The ultimate decision will come from the OSAA Executive Board and Delegate Assembly on Monday, Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville.

Schools and the public will have the opportunity to respond to the committee’s recommendation in writing or in person at the meeting.

Whatever the board decides, athletic director Scott Gragg said McNary will adapt.

“We will make things work,” Gragg said. “That’s what athletes do and that’s what athletic directors need to do. We face adversity or we face a challenge and we make the most of it and we get better from it.

“You can look at it two ways. You can look at it as a problem or a negative or you can look at it as an opportunity. I’m surrounded by leadership in our district that will use it as an opportunity and we’ll make the best and make sure that our kids are engaged and safe and successful.”

Gragg came to McNary from Montana, where his daughter played volleyball and the closest game outside of town was 108 miles away. Teams played on the weekends and some of the smaller schools even went to a four-day school day to avoid missing class time.

“I don’t think we’re in the realm but there’s all kinds of ways and I feel fortunate to have experienced that model firsthand,” Gragg said. “I think I might have some ideas that maybe haven’t been tried in Oregon and maybe works for us, if we’re traveling long distances.”

McNary currently has block schedule on Friday, where student athletes would miss a lot of class time if they’re traveling on a regular basis.

Gragg is looking forward to the OSAA making its final decision. He estimated teams are two to three months behind scheduling next year’s fall sports waiting for classification.

“Whenever there’s a proposal made, you start brainstorming and right now that’s all we can do because we don’t know what the final say is going to be,” Gragg said. “Once that final says happens, then we will start and those brainstormings will have to formulate into real plans moving forward.”

DEQ responds to public comments on dirt move

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has responded to concerns regarding the potential trucking of contaminated dirt through Keizer.

From July 1 through Aug. 14, DEQ officials asked for public comment on the movement of dieldrin-tainted dirt from a development site in northeast Salem through Keizer to abandoned quarries northwest of Keizer.

Dieldrin is an insecticide developed as an alternative to DDT in the 1940s. It was used primarily on fruit, soil and seed. The U.S. Department of agriculture banned use of dieldrin in 1970, but it is a legacy pollutant that remains in the environment long after being introduced.

The planned path will take an estimated 14,000 truckloads of dirt past four schools, but after testing and observation by DEQ toxicologists, the risks appear to be low.

Excavation has already started on part of the development site – which will become an estimated 500 homes along with duplexes and apartments – and DEQ officials monitored air samples while the dirt was being moved. Dieldrin was not detected in any of the samples.

Anderson Geologic, the environmental consultant on the project, has called for temporary roadways to be constructed to minimize disturbance while the dirt is loaded and all trucks will be inspected as they leave the site with loose dirt being removed.

When as little as a pound of dieldrin enters the environment, the federal government’s National Response Center (NRC) must be notified immediately.

In response to questions about the impact of so many heavy trucks traveling the same route, DEQ officials said those issues would have to be taken up with local jurisdictions, like city and county governments.

To control dust en route to the quarries, the DEQ response is that the soil will be wetted down prior to travel and then trucks will be cleaned at the quarry site before returning to Salem.

Regarding why the soil has been labeled as “clean fill for farm use” despite the contamination, the DEQ responded that a residential gardener would come into contact with the soil much more frequently than a farmer on a tractor plowing a few times a year. Once moved to the quarry, the dirt will be used for hazelnut orchards, which the Oregon Department of Agriculture said poses less concern for food contamination. Crops grown in or closer to the soil, such as pumpkin, squash, zucchini or carrots, would be more problematic.

Review by hydrogeologists and licensed geologists determined that there was no potential for groundwater contamination because dieldrin binds tightly to soil.

“If (dieldrin) were soluble, it would have washed out of the soil and no longer be present.” the report stated.

While the process is moving forward, Nancy Sawka, a senior project manager with DEQ, said permits still need to be obtained from Marion County and the Oregon Department of State Lands. The Army Corps of Engineers may also need to issue a permit because one of the quarries is considered wetlands.

McMinnville visits McNary for homecoming

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Jonny Williams ruined McMinnville’s homecoming last season, catching a game-winning touchdown pass with only 1:25 remaining.

This Friday, the McNary senior wants to make sure the Grizzlies don’t return the favor.

“I’m pretty confident coming into this game,” Williams said. “I like playing against McMinnville. I’ve always played a pretty good game against them. I’m feeling pretty good about this week.”

Last season’s contest was a coming out party for Williams, who entered the game with only two catches, but had receptions of 41 and 30 yards in the final three minutes, including the game-winner when he out-jumped a McMinnville defender in the end zone on fourth-and-25.

“It definitely boosted it (my confidence) a lot,” Williams said. “It definitely made me realize I mean something to the team.”

Dealing with a quad injury, this season, Williams missed the McKay game and played sparingly at Forest Grove but he expects to be a full go against McMinnville, which will be a welcomed sight to a McNary offense that has been inconsistent in the past three weeks, largely due to turnovers and penalties.

But Williams saw other issues on the Forest Grove film as well.

“A lot of times we ended up throwing check down routes when we could have hit a deep ball and a few bad routes, so we’re working on fixing that,” Williams said.

The Celtics will face a McMinnville defense that has allowed an average of 38 points over the past three games, the latest a 39-37 loss to South Salem on Friday, Sept. 29.

Watching the Grizzlies play McKay, a game they won 35-14 on Sept. 8, Williams believes McNary has the skill players to exploit McMinnville’s defense.

“Watching that film, I think we can definitely take advantage of some opportunities in the secondary,” Williams said.

The Celtics defense is playing at its best, having allowed just one touchdown to both McKay and Forest Grove the past two weeks.

McNary head coach and defensive coordinator Jeff Auvinen said the key has been getting all 11 players on the same page.

“Kids are flying around and starting to trust their neighbors and starting to disguise what they’re doing and I think it’s paid dividends,” Auvinen said.

“It’s a combination of our blitzing and our D-lineman doing what they should be doing and our linebackers getting to the right spot at the right time. Our coverage looks better. Kids are starting to understand their zones.”

The Celtics also hope to get senior Tim Kiser back, after the defensive lineman suffered a concussion on Sept. 15 against Sprague.

McMinnville graduated quarterback Wyatt Smith and running back Cedric Agcaoili-Ostrom, who rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s game.

“They do a lot of different things on offense so I think it’s going to be quite a bit to contend with there,” Auvinen said.

“They have some skill players that are pretty good. I like their best receiver. They’re throwing the ball a decent amount. They seem to be passing a little more than their run this year. Still, they want to run as well. They’d like to be a split team. I think they still are. I just don’t think they’re as physical as they have been sometimes in the past.”