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Month: November 2017

Keizer turns out for bond forum

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Of the Keizertimes

Of the first four bond measure forums, Lillian Govus, director of community relations for the Salem-Keizer School District, said McNary High School’s drew by far the largest crowd as more than 70 people packed into the library on Monday, Nov. 13 to see how Keizer schools would benefit from a nearly $620 million bond package.

About half of the attendees were focused on McNary, which would receive $42 million to build 14 new general classrooms, one new science lab, one flexible lab space and two Career and Technical Education spaces.

The money would also go towards reconstructing office space so it’s easier to check students in and out and relocating softball/soccer fields and tennis courts to the nearly 4.5 acres purchased from St. Edward Catholic Church, which would allow for parking expansion and give McNary a blank slate to reconstruct the school’s entrance.

But it was an item that wasn’t on McNary’s list that led the discussion—a new orchestra room.

“It’s a storage space and it can’t be anything more than that with our current number of students,” McNary senior Emma Snyder said of the current orchestra room, adding that the orchestra consistently finishes top five in the state.

Matt Haymowicz, an orchestra parent, said, “In the same way you can’t add a sink to a room and call it a science lab, you can’t add a music stand to a room and call it an orchestra room.”

McNary principal Erik Jespersen said he was all ears.

“We have a choir room, a band room, and an orchestra closet,” Jespersen said. “That sort of thing is what we’d like feedback on.”

Everyone at the meeting was given a survey with four questions: Does the concept meet your vision for the growth of the school? Does this concept support your child’s learning? Does this concept support your child’s safety? And knowing that there isn’t much flexibility with the budgeted amount, are there changes you would recommend?

The results will be shared with the school board and used to finalize the bond package.

In order to make changes to the orchestra room, McNary would have to take money away from other projects.

The new construction at McNary would take place on the turf field side of the campus. Jespersen added spending money in the current building, where the orchestra room is currently located, is more expensive because of code compliance.

Construction would begin in the summer of 2019 and be completed in September of 2020.

Michael Wolfe, chief operations office for the school district, led the forum.

“This is not a wish list, these are real needs,” Wolfe said.

Salem-Keizer School District has grown by 1,745 students since the last bond passed in 2008 and is expected to grow by another 1,000 in the next five years.

Wolfe said if the district did nothing, there would be no room for 1,300 high schoolers and that number jumps to 2,200 without portables.

The needs for each school were determined by an 18-member citizen’s facilities task force over three and half months, who recommended a $766 million bond.

However, a community survey showed that price tag, which would result in an increase of $3 per thousand of accessed property value, was a little too high.

Wolfe added that polling showed for the first time in decades that people were willing to pay more, just not that much. A $620 million bond would be an increase of $1.28 to $1.39.

The majority of the money, $433.5 million, would go towards adding capacity to support enrollment and educational programs.

Construction at Claggett Creek Middle School, which would begin in 2020, includes cafeteria expansion and repurposing two general classrooms into science labs. Whiteaker would also turn a general classroom into a science lab as well as replace its gym floor.

Two elementary schools, Gubser and Keizer, would get new cafeterias, kitchens and classrooms. Cummings is set to expand its cafeteria. Construction at Cummings and Gubser would begin in 2020 and at Keizer Elementary in 2022.

Weddle Elementary is already over capacity but has no room to expand due to wetlands. However, other elementary schools, like Kennedy and Forest Ridge, are under capacity.

“There will need to be changes in Keizer’s feeder system,” Wolfe said, referring to boundaries.

Increasing the safety of schools in the event of a seismic event like an earthquake would cost $66 million.

Wolf said each structure was evaluated for risk of collapse and $56 million would be used to make sure people can get out of buildings in case of an emergency. The other $10 million will increase the design standard of new additions to an immediate re-occupancy standard.

The rest of the bond would go towards an increase in safety and security ($33 million), non-routine maintenance ($73.5 million) and technology and upgrades that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act ($13.2 million).

“These numbers are not final. That’s what these sessions are about,” Wolfe said.

The school board will finalize the bond package in January to be put on the May ballot.

To follow the developments, go to


A glorious holiday for every home

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Does anyone need to be reminded that next week is Thanksgiving? Television is filled with soft-focus ads showing families enjoying preparing and eating the holiday dinner.

This weekend every store that sells groceries will be packed with shoppers picking the fixings for dinner. Many of us will step back and marvel at the sight of the table with its themed-holiday centerpieces, the ‘good’ china and cloth napkins.

After dinner many will either be cleaning up, suffering a food coma or watching a football game. Some, though fewer of us, will be preparing for the frenzy of the Black Friday sales at stores and malls throughout the region.

Roll back the tape of that Norman Rockwell-esque scene and start over at a Keizer household where abundance is rarely seen and the reasons to give thanks seem to belong to someone else. In a rich nation there are too many families who can’t take part in the great American pageant of our Thanksgiving rituals. The lucky families are able to get to the food bank for generous donations of food. The unlucky families treat Thanksgiving as just another Thursday.

We ask that as Keizer families shop for their Thanksgiving dinner, they add extra items to their basket that can be donated to help every family enjoy the holiday.

Every store has a bin for food donations that will be donated to Marion-Polk Food Share or Keizer Community Food Bank. When we have plenty it should not be a heavy lift to help our neighbors who may not be as fortunate as we.

Other ways to help this season is to volunteer at Wednesday’s community dinner at St. Edward Church from 3 to 6 p.m. Or help out in downtown Salem locations to feed the needy. Thanksgiving will take on a whole new meaning when we help our brothers.   —LAZ


District should pay for Newberg

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To the Editor:

On Oct. 12, I attended a meeting at McNary High School regarding parking and traffic issues on Newberg Drive.

The meeting was hosted by McNary Principal Erik Jespersen and Salem Keizer Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Michael Wolfe. Each of these individuals stated that they were concerned about the safety of students arriving at McNary High School, and wanted to stress that keeping the gate open to MacArthur Street was allowing a safe entrance. All the individuals that attended the meeting stated that this is not correct, and leaving the gate open to MacArthur is unsafe. Newberg Drive has no sidewalks or street lights for the safety of the students walking to school, whereas Celtic Way and Dice Lane both have sidewalks with street lights providing a safer entrance for the students.

They then claimed that the students that live on Newberg would have to walk that much further to get around to these streets, which is also not true. There is only one student that lives on Newberg Drive, and his parents agree that the entrance on MacArthur is unsafe with all the cars driving in and out of the school parking lot. They prefer their student walks around, and he always has. The fact is, leaving the gate open on MacArthur is creating an unsafe environment to the students that are walking in the street on Newberg without proper lighting, and subjecting them to possibly being hit by a car some morning. There are also cars driving on Newberg to drop their kids off at the corner of Newberg and MacArthur that are making the situation even more unsafe. Does a child have to get hit by a car and possibly killed before the Salem Keizer School District stands up to take notice of this unsafe situation? Several people have signed a petition and attended Salem Keizer School District meetings, and Keizer City Council meetings to address this issue of unsafe habits caused by the gate being left unlocked, only to be ignored and told that the entrance is safe. Even Chief of Police John Teague will not send an officer to the neighborhood as the traffic congestion is too obstructive. Please feel free to sit anywhere in the vicinity of MacArthur and Newberg and see for yourself how unsafe this has become. When talking with Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, she states that the city is trying to get the residents of Newberg Drive to pay for street lights and sidewalks on Newberg. Why should the neighborhood have to pay for this if the school wants to provide safety for the students to use the MacArthur gate? Why doesn’t the school district pay for it?

Jeff Weekly


Morally and intellectually exhausted

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Political commentators are supposed to be somewhat objective and analytical when it comes to tracking trends. In that spirit, I find the polling snapshot of President Trump at one year since his election to be interesting—if “interesting” is defined as a downward spiral of polarization, pettiness and prejudice that threatens the daily functioning and moral standing of the American republic.

Our times are not normal—and it is a disservice to the country to normalize them. In a recent Washington Post-ABC News survey, Trump’s approval rating is worse —far worse—than any president at this stage in seven decades of polling. About half of those surveyed strongly disapprove. The public assessment of Trump’s leadership, character and competence has grown harsher in every category.

All this is true following two quarters of more than 3 percent economic growth, with the stock market booming and unemployment at 4.1 percent. Practically, this means that Trump has no cushion or margin of public support when economic circumstances worsen.

And yet.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that if the Trump/Clinton presidential race were re-held today, it would be a tie. Think on that. Arguably the worst president in modern history might still beat one of the most prominent Democrats in America. This indicates a Democratic Party in the midst of its own profound crisis. During the Obama years, it collapsed in large portions of the country. Its national establishment has been revealed—with extensive footnotes provided by Donna Brazile—as arrogant, complacent and corrupt. But the only serious ideological alternative to that establishment is frankly socialist—the fatuous and shallow sort of socialism held by college freshmen and Bernie Sanders.

We have reached a moment of intellectual and moral exhaustion for both major political parties. One is dominated by ethnic politics—which a disturbingly strong majority of Republican regulars have found appealing or acceptable. The other is dominated by identity politics—a movement that counts a growing number of Robespierres. Both seem united only in their resentment of the international economic order that America has built and led for 70 years.

Normally, a political party would succeed by taking the best of populist passion and giving it more mainstream expression. But in this particular, polarized environment, how is that possible? Do mainstream Republicans take a dollop of nativism and a dash of racism and add them to their tax cuts? That seemed to be the approach that Ed Gillespie took in the Virginia governor’s race. But this is morally poisonous—like taking a little ricin in your tea. Do mainstream Democrats just take some angry identity politics and a serving of socialism —some extreme pro-choice rhetoric and single payer health care—and add them to job training programs?

The lead ideology of the Republican Party at the national level is now immoral and must be overturned—a task that only a smattering of retiring officeholders has undertaken. The lead ideology of the Democratic Party is likely to be overturned—by radicals with little to offer the country save anger and bad economics.

Where does this leave us at year one of the Trump era? With two very sick political parties that have a monopoly on political power and little prospect for reform and recovery. The stakes are quite high. If America really develops a political competition between ethno-nationalism and identity socialism, it will mean we are a nation in decline—likely to leave pressing problems (educational failure, unconstrained debt, a flawed criminal justice system) unconfronted. Likely to forfeit global leadership, undermine world markets and cede to others the mantle of stability and firm purpose.

There is a serious prospect that the president will truly crash and burn in a colossal fiasco so disastrous as to be undeniable proof against all things Trump. But that would be so bad for the country that it is hard to wish for.

So what should we wish for? It is a measure of our moment that this is not obvious. It is quite possible that moderate conservatism and moderate liberalism are inadequate to explain and tame the convulsive economic and social changes of our time. Which places America’s future —uncertain, maybe unknowable—on the other side of an earthquake.

(Washington Post Writers Group)


Mandatory reporting in our schools

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The front page article, Law Professor on SKSD mandatory reporting in last week’s Keizertimes resulted in a “Do I laugh or do I cry?” reaction.  There were several reasons for being torn asunder, the most notable being the hypocrisy angle, what a modern day U.S. public school district will do to curry favor with local persons of conservative interests even though the Salem Keizer School District is a secular-founded public organization.

But let’s get to the meat of this matter.  The hypocrisy between what so many of us Americans say and what we do may be unparalleled in the rest of the world.  There is in fact so much hypocrisy in America that one must only scratch the surface of life here to know its depths.  For one, Americans will tell pollsters they’re in church when they’re actually sleeping in or watching a ball game; similar examples could fill a book. Politicians don’t dare talk about legalizing certain drugs because Americans are reputed more likely to use drugs than other nations where use is accurately reported. Meanwhile, American hypocrisy is possibly most bizarre when it has to do with sex.

Facts show that Americans are sexually active because Americans are human beings, as is true of every other species on earth. As humans we can’t help ourselves as sex usually strikes like a bolt of lightening at puberty, although curiosity about it gets underway often long before it can result in a pregnancy.  Yet, so many Americans object to other people engaging in it that our local school chief administrator and others there want to make the school environment here not unlike a religious dictatorship.  So much so that they will intrude with threat of law enforcement into the private lives of the most vulnerable among us, our youth.

American prudery means that both tabloid and actual news media are regularly dominated by sex scandals.  These are often conducted as though the worse thing a person of any age can do is to have consensual sex with someone to whom he or she is not married. Most of what happens regarding this topic in this country seems actually to be controlled by middle-aged spinster-resembling persons, trying to force our youth into strict 19th century lives.

Facts on the subject reveal that Americans have sex on average 2.3 times a week, while 19 out of 20 Americans have had premarital sex, not holding back from getting started during the years of intense, internal fires burning, the teenage years that get well underway in middle school and hugely drive the high school years.  Americans like to have sex for pleasure as indicated by the count of contraception devices sold in the U.S.  Another revelation from research is that Americans love porn, while conservatives, who denounce other people’s sexual choices, have themselves been discovered, when anonymously surveyed, to be avid consumers of porn.

Americans just love judging other people, even when they themselves behave in similar, if not identical ways.  Abortion clinics receive an earful of how common the hypocrisy is when sharing stories about anti-abortion patients telling how they deserve an abortion when “Those sluts in the waiting room don’t.” Meanwhile, statistics inform us that 99 percent have used contraception; yet, 38 percent of women want to take away funding from Planned Parenthood and 46 percent of men want contraception subsidies cut while they benefit from their use.

A not small number of Americans are a study in extreme hypocrisy.  They wanted and participated in reckless unmarried sex as a teenager but escaped the peril of an enraged father seeking justice for his pregnant daughter. Then, they get older and purportedly “wiser” and suddenly are rabidly against teenagers having sex.  This attitude in view of statistics that show that teenage sex is not as rampant as it once was and actually has been in free fall for the last half century.  The facts point out that teenagers in the 1950s, for example, were a whole lot less chaste.  Yet, no matter the prohibitions and denunciations, it goes on everywhere.

Holding back on judgments, it’s probably a good guess that those in charge of the schools here in Salem-Keizer are overzealous and far too aggressive in application of SKSD Mandatory Reporting Guidelines; instead of a light touch, they’ve chosen the nuclear option.  Offering counsel, they are strongly advised to back off and substitute educational means instead of an effort at total control which will only drive the whole matter further underground where secrecy substitutes for good sense. Should Superintendent Christy Perry, her immediate subordinates and board member decision-makers feel they must interfere in the lives of youth to the extreme suggested by them they want to do so, then they are respectfully encouraged to seek positions in non-secular schools where religious behaviors rule.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)


Rotarians plant arboretum at KRP

Of the Keizertimes

Members of Keizer Rotary and a battalion of about 60 community and McNary High School volunteers planted a whopping 36 trees at Keizer Rapids Parks in a little less than an hour Saturday, Nov. 4.

The trees line a walking path in the southwest area of the park and will serve a dual purpose, one for neighbors and one for the city at large, said Rotarian Mark Caillier.

“When they are full-grown they will act as a sound barrier for the neighbors, but we also selected the trees from the list of the city’s recommended trees. That means when some one is looking for a tree to put in their yard, they can come down here and be able to see what the recommended trees are and what they look like in person,” Caillier said.

Placement of the trees was also done with an eye toward future growth and avoiding becoming a nuisance to neighbors.

“We didn’t want them growing over fences or shading someone’s garden,” Caillier said.

Eventually, a sign denoting Rotary involvement and housing pamphlets identifying the trees will also be installed. The Rotarians are not finished planting either, Caillier expects volunteers to return in January to plant another 40 trees from the list.

“This all started with a call from the International Rotary president for each local club to plant one tree for every member by Arbor Day 2018,” Caillier said.

In addition to planting new trees, the crew removed older ones and discovered that many had grown root balls that were unnatural to the species, the result of poor planting when they were originally put in.

Wilbur Bluhm, Keizer’s resident expert on things green and leafy, directed the planting this time around to ensure healthier growth.

The project is being funded by the Keizer Rotary Foundation, a grant from Rotary District 5100, and the Keizer Tree Fund as well as donations from HERC and Claggett Creek Watershed Council. No Keizer Parks funding was involved.

The McNary softball team made a big contribution of volunteers as a “thank you” for the recently-completed dugouts on the varsity softball field. The dugouts were also a Rotary project.

The light at the end: Keizer man clean and sober two years after speaking about heroin addiction

Of the Keizertimes

Curtis DeVoursney has felt more human lately.

That might seem like a small accomplishment but, when we met for the first time two years ago, Curtis was deep in the throes of heroin addiction. He had watched numerous friends and associates die of overdoses in the preceding months. At 24 years old, he was still standing and that made him feel invulnerable and godlike.

The day after we talked, he was reporting to jail for violating his last parole and even then the drug use didn’t stop.

“It’s difficult to remember because the amount of drugs I was on. I went to jail and continued using. I was smoking meth and smoking weed. Everything I wasn’t supposed to do,” Curtis said.

He was let out shortly before New Year’s Day 2016. He was staying with his father, but that came to an abrupt end. On New Year’s Eve he left his father’s house with the clothes on his back, a pair of shoes on his feet and another pair in his hand in search of drugs. He walked five miles into Salem in 30-degree weather in a last ditch effort and then began walking back to Keizer.

“It’s bad when you can’t get drug dealers to answer the phone. I couldn’t get any drugs because I had robbed every drug dealer I knew. I had burnt every bridge possible. The only options were going back to jail or to be homeless and walk the streets,” Curtis said.

He was walking on Cherry Avenue near his mother, Mary’s, home when he sent her a text message because she wasn’t picking up the phone. Curtis didn’t blame her.

Curtis told Mary he had no where to go. Mary asked if he was willing to go to treatment. Curtis said he would. The next time he called, Mary picked up the phone and told him to get to her house.

“I wasn’t going to put myself out, I’d been there and done that. Once he was here, Mom kicked in and I was trying to feed him and get him to take a shower. Then I told him he needed to call the treatment center. I didn’t call anyone,” Mary said.

Curtis made the call and detoxed on Mary’s couch while waiting to check in at Pacific Ridge: Residential Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center.

“It wasn’t hard to get in. They knew me and this time I knew what I wanted. I just knew anything was better than what I was doing. I didn’t know how to live life. I knew how to do narcotics and lie, cheat and steal. And, obviously, get arrested,” Curtis said.

He’d also gone through treatment before. He knew the things he was supposed to say and do, but not how to apply them to the way he lived. Part of the problem was he could never find someone to connect with at treatment centers.

Early attempts with treatment also left him feeling cynical about the process, he met with one counselor who told him he understood what Curtis was going through because the counselor had smoked pot.

“I asked him if he’d ever stuck a syringe in his neck and his mind was blown. I told him to shut the eff up,” Curtis said.

However, in a strange way, the encounter set him on the path he’s following now.

“From that day on, I knew that if I was able to get to the place I wanted to be, I would be able to tell people I did understand,” Curtis said.

After two weeks at Pacific Ridge, Curtis got permission to transfer to Oregon Trail Recovery (OTR) in Portland. His days were filled with mandatory group and individual therapy meetings at OTR and he was encouraged to find others he’d be willing to attend. He earned his first shot at a job in years. He worked in construction, then in a paint shop, then in fast food.

The program required him to do many things he found uncomfortable like find a sponsor he could be open and honest with, re-establish relationships with family and even pray. Custis’s hackles went up at the latter, but he gave in to that, too.

“I said I didn’t come here to pray and then my sponsor reminded me I said I was willing to go any lengths to get this. Once he said that, I knew I would go stand on my head in the corner for three hours if that’s what they told me to do,” Curtis said.

He soared in his recovery and in his responsibilities at work. Curtis was contemplating moving into fast food management when OTR hired him as a client support specialist, house manager and addiction interventionist. He’s been doing that for almost a year now and is approaching his second anniversary clean and sober.

“I am the front line of the treatment center. I live with the clients and have to lead as an example. I have a level of accountability that is unbelievable,” Curtis said. “My clients are either fresh off the street, fresh out of detox, fresh out of jail or fresh off of treatment.”

Curtis runs their group meeting, helps them with transportation and has even traveled to Tennessee and California to guide others through intervention training.

When his clients relapse, Curtis is the one to confiscate their drugs and paraphernalia. He is able to dispose of it without giving into temptation by keeping his focus on the needs of the clients.

“I put myself in their shoes knowing what it would have been like to have had someone step in and take away the thing that was killing me,” Curtis said.

Recently, he’s found himself buying more button-up shirts than he’s ever owned in his life. He keeps giving them away to new clients headed to job interviews.

“The professional part of it is still a challenge. What was really difficult was transitioning between the ways I talk on the street and how to talk in meetings,” he said. “When you put me in a situation with clinicians, they almost have to decipher my language.”

He knows the odds are against most of his clients, but his favorites are the ones with long criminal histories and lots of experience with drugs.

“That stuff fires me up. I live for watching these guys who come in filled with hatred and fear and anger and watching them turn into people who are happy and joyous and free. Living a life they didn’t know was possible,” Curtis said.

His experience with addiction has led to insights he now shares freely. Curtis laments the current way society chooses to deal with addicts, by tossing them in jails and and prisons.

“You’re punishing people for killing themselves. Why do you want to kick me when I’m down? If we could put people in treatment rather than prison, prisons wouldn’t be so full,” he said.

For those who encounter addiction among friends and loved ones, Curtis cautions against trying to relate when there isn’t enough common ground.

“Don’t act like you know what it feels like. If my clients have gone through something I haven’t gone through, I tell them that. I tell them I don’t understand that, but tell me what that is like. Come from a place of compassion and understanding and love,” he said.

Of all the changes in Curtis’ life over the past two years, this enthusiasm for other people and their needs – ones who arrive in his life as complete strangers – is the most stunning. When I met him in November 2016, Mary and his younger sister joined us. At one point in the conversation, his sister broke down crying when she talked about fears of being the one to find him dead of a heroin overdose. Unprompted, Curtis said he felt nothing about his sister’s tears any longer.

He sees more clearly now how he was able to be so callous.

“I had learned to disconnect myself. I had watched people die over and over. In my eyes other people were a liability. It was my way of protecting myself. If I showed emotion, it meant I was weak,” Curtis said. “When I was cleaning up my mess – and I’m still doing that – I was talking with her she told me all she wanted was for me to be there for her children. She has kids now and I’m there for them. I am able to be present in their lives and money can’t buy that.”

Mary said the changes are a complete 180-degree turn.

“What I know is that this is where he needs to be and his life up to now has led to this. It was hell living through it, but he’s giving back in amazing ways. His life was so dark and it’s not now,” Mary said.

McNary youth football team wins gold bracket

Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—McNary’s fifth and sixth grade blue team came from behind to defeat Lakeridge 9-8 on Saturday, Nov. 11 in a Tualatin Valley Youth Football League gold bracket championship game.

Playing at South Salem High School, McNary trailed 8-0 at halftime but a deep pass to Christopher Cortez got the young Celtics deep into Lakeridge territory. Jesse Dyer then cashed in with a 6-yard touchdown run but the extra point was blocked with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.

“We had good opportunities early on in the first quarter. We took that first drive down and got stopped inside the 5, so we knew we could move the ball,” McNary head coach Kyle Hughes said. “We talked at halftime about staying with it and don’t get down and they came out in the second half and put a drive together and made some big plays.”

After McNary’s defense got a stop, two more catches by Cortez, including one from Dyer on a fleaflicker, got the Celtics back inside the Lakeridge 10-yard line.

But the drive stalled at the 9 and on fourth-and-8, Dyer kicked a 26-yard field goal to put McNary on top 9-8 with 5:46 remaining.

“Last week was the first time we actually tried one and he made it,” Hughes said of Dyer kicking field goals. “It was a little closer in but only about two yards. He’s kicked all the extra points. He’s a great, great kicker. He has a very strong leg.”

Dyer then showed off his all-around kicker skills, delivering an on-side kick, recovered by Pierce Walker.

After a Celtics punt, Lakeridge took over at its own 39-yard line with 3:27 left to play.

The Pacers drove the ball to the McNary 12-yard line with 1:20 remaining. With Lakeridge coaches debating how close they needed to be to attempt their own field goal, Davis Olsen sacked the quarterback for a five-yard loss.

After losing four more yards to force a fourth-and-long at the 21, Keenan Chase intercepted a pass with 16 seconds remaining to seal the Celtic victory.

McNary finished 7-1 in the nine-team Percich-Valley division, outscoring their opponents 257-82.

As the No. 1 seed, the Celtics shut out West Linn, the No. 2 seed in the Harrison-Pacific, 19-0 on Saturday Nov. 4 in the first round of the playoffs. Lakeridge, who entered the championship game undefeated, was the No. 1 seed out of the Harrison-Pacific.

“We had a lot of good competition. We won a lot of games big and got kids tons of playing time,” Hughes said. “The biggest thing is just creating a love for the kids so they keep coming back.”

McNary’s playoff run ends at West Linn

Of the Keizertimes

WEST LINN—A touchdown followed by a sack and fumble recovery gave McNary a spark late in the third quarter but West Linn immediately put it out to finish off the Celtics 41-6 on Friday in the second round of the state playoffs.

After gaining 64 total yards and punting on its first six possessions, the Celtics offense finally found some holes in the West Linn defense. McNary marched 70 yards on 16 plays, capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Junior Walling on fourth-and-goal to get within 28-6 with 1:48 remaining in the third quarter after the extra point was blocked.

Walling then sacked West Linn quarterback Ethan Long, forcing a fumble and Tim Kiser recovered, giving McNary the ball at the Lion 30-yard line.

However, the Celtics then turned the ball over on downs and West Linn connected on a 45-yard touchdown pass, ending any hope of a McNary comeback.

“They’re better than us and they made a lot more plays than we did,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said of West Linn. “I think our kids had a gritty effort.”

The Lions added a 71-yard touchdown pass with 4:29 remaining to complete the scoring.

“Tonight, much better than our Sprague and West (Salem) games,” Auvinen said. “I think we battled tonight. They left their starters in and were throwing bombs with four minutes to go because they were still scared.

“It’s the playoffs. You don’t mess around. I’m not upset at their coaching staff or anything. It just shows that they were still worried about what we could do.”

McNary’s defense started the game fired up after holding West Linn on fourth down at the Celtic 15-yard line. But after punting the ball back to the Lions, West Linn running back Dawson Jolley broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run to give the home team a 7-0 lead.

Long punt returns, which gave the Lions starting field position inside McNary’s 15 and then 6-yard line, set up the next two scores as West Linn went into halftime up 21-0.

In between, the Celtics forced two turnovers as Kiser sacked Long to force a fumble, which Joshua Schmeltzer recovered. Jacob Jackson then intercepted a tipped pass.

But McNary’s first drive of the second half ended with an interception and West Linn capitalized with a 5-yard touchdown run to expand its lead to 28-0.

“Our offense really struggled in that first half,” Auvinen said. “We got it going a little bit in the second half. We weren’t maintaining our blocks. We would have a little crease and then they would end up closing that gap and they’re pretty good defensively. They go really, really hard and they run. They go laterally really well.”

West Linn entered the game allowing only 101 points in 10 games, the least of any 6A team in the state.

McNary finished with 248 yards.

Walling rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries.

Erik Barker was 17-for-37 for 145 yards and an interception.

Jonny Williams caught five passes for 52 yards.

West Linn hosts Tigard on Friday, Nov. 17 in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

The Lions lost to Tigard 9-0 during the regular season.

“They’re a good team. It will be interesting to see what ends up happening with them,” Auvinen said.

McNary finished the season 7-4, reaching the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

“I think these two weeks are going to help us down the road,” Auvinen said. “We saw some young kids competing and battling against our older kids. I’m very pleased with our efforts and how we got better this year.”

Wyden talks taxes, Trump, more at Keizer town hall

Of the Keizertimes

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) stopped by Keizer to host a town hall meeting on Saturday, Nov. 3. Talks were wide ranging, but Wyden repeatedly illustrated the ways in which disagreement in Washington, D.C., is not as bad as it might seem to the nightly cable news viewer.

“TV media doesn’t give any attention to anything that isn’t a fight,” Wyden said.

He talked briefly about several bipartisan efforts he is actively involved in. He is engaged with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on two fronts. The first is the Corporate Transparency Act that would prevent individuals from using anonymous shell corporations to engage in illicit activities like money laundering, sex trafficking, fraud and terrorist financing. Wyden, Rubio and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) have also authored the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, which would provide new tools for comparing colleges and universities on measures such as total cost, likelihood of graduating and potential earnings.

On the wildfire front, Wyden and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) have introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act that would end borrowing from fire prevention funds to fight ongoing blazes and leaving prevention efforts underfunded.

On healthcare, Wyden and Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the Keeping Kids Insurance Dependable and Secure Act that would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years. CHIP coverage provides specific funding for functional family therapy that has been proven to cut re-arrests in half and multi-systemic therapy, which has been shown to cut violent felony arrests by 75 percent.

About 70 area residents turned out for the town hall held at McNary High School, many of them from Keizer. In an effort to cover as much of the meeting as possible, Keizertimes is presenting Wyden’s mostly unedited answers on numerous topics he talked about.

On the rising costs of college education:

“The first thing to do is not make things worse for working families. The House republican tax bill is hard on working families and students. If you get out of school with debt, you can deduct the interest you pay on that debt. Under the new proposal, you would no longer be able to deduct. If you are a multinational corporation shipping jobs overseas and you rack up some debt doing that, you get a write-off. There have been a lot of people who have been told they are going to get manna from Heaven. The No. 1 example used this week was that a family that makes $59,000 would get 1,100 back. On a perfect day, that couple might get a little sliver, but if they have medical expenses or student expenses or they get hit by a wildfire, they are going into a hole. For older people who might rack up big medical bills, they will lose their medical deductions. There’s going to be an effort to move this bill very fast and as the ranking democrat, I’m not going to stand by and let Grinch steal the middle class Christmas. I’m going to spend a whole lot of time between now and the end of the year trying to hold off a badly-flawed tax bill which basically gives the vast majority of the money to folks at the top and sticks it to middle class people.”

On bringing jobs back to America:

“We have to get rid of tax deferral. There’s about $2.3 to $3.1 trillion parked overseas because of flawed tax policies. It’s an enormous sum and the reason for it is that you can park it over there and not pay any taxes. I would like a policy to repatriate that money and a significant portion of it to go toward transportation. Unless we step up and deal with the tax system more and more money will leave.

The Republicans want to go to a territorial system where corporations don’t pay taxes on money made outside the United States. What I propose is a bipartisan bill where we get rid of territorial taxation to have more red, white and blue jobs.”

On the environment:

“The president woke up yesterday to find his federal agencies don’t agree with him on climate change. They pointed out that the last three years have been hotter than any point in history. We’ve had fires that are bigger and hotter, hurricanes and it seems to me that they are ignoring the science.

The question is are we going to use the science. What has come out of late is that middle schoolers will learn the most about science from non-classroom activities. The Trump Administration is trying to cut the funding for the National Science Foundation for non-classroom education. I’m going to use my seat on the budget committee to do everything I can to fight for that kind of education.”

On the possibility of ending the war on terror:

“With respect to intelligence policy. We need to make sure we have the resources to get good, objective information to stay out of wars. We have a lot of issues in the intelligence field: we have an aging workforce, we still don’t have enough people who have mastered the languages we need in the field and we have a big problem with cybersecurity.”

On wildfires and fire prevention:

“Mike Crapo and I have been working on a bill that would end fire borrowing. What that means is that the government underfunds prevention that produces jobs. Then it gets hot and dry and all of the sudden you have an inferno. Then the government borrows from the prevention fund to put the fire out.  The 1 to 2 percent of big fires would be fought with the Natural Disaster Fund.

What has come up most recently is that some have said that’s fine, but what we want to do is more forest management which is sometimes code for not complying with environmental regulation.”

On the biggest threat to the country:

“Political change starts bottom up and the biggest challenge we have is to mobilize when core values are at stake. Nobody thought that we could beat Trumpcare 1, Trumpcare 2 or Trumpcare 3 and we kept going back with marches and calls and letters. That’s the way you make political change.”

On relations with North Korea:

“I strongly favor expanding financial sanctions against North Koreans. Today, for all practical purposes, you can  make it impossible for them to do business unless they pay in cash. The North Koreans continue to do a lot of business with countries around the world and I think we need to make it clear that you either do business with us or North Korea. I have always felt that smart security policy is a combination of soft power and hard power and the rhetoric you use is really important. I thought it was a significant mistake for the president to call Kim Jong-Un ‘rocket man.’ We need to lower the decibel level and see if we can open up some channels to have some conversation.”

On fixing the Affordable Care Act and the possibility of single-payer:

“There’s a provision in the ACA that would allow any state to set up a single-payer system. Oregon, if it wants to, can go set up its own thing. Oregon, Washington and California could also do it together and that would be a powerful experiment. Those can be put in place without any federal action. There have been a whole host of progressive proposals with different approaches and pieces to the puzzle. What I want to make sure is that there isn’t a repeat of what happened with Republicans. For seven years, they talked about repeal and replace and then the Republican dog caught the Republican car and they didn’t know what to do.

The fastest growing part of Medicare today is Medicare Advantage, which is private insurance. No one has explained that Medicare Advantage will depart (under a single-payer system) and that employer-paid healthcare insurance would go away. I think people deserve to hear that.

I want to do some things right now. I want to get tough with the pharmaceutical companies so that Medicare can bargain for the costs. I also want to go after the middle men like the pharmaceutical benefit managers. I also want to make sure we don’t bring back Graham-Cassidy and bills that don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions. The concentration among insurers and hospitals has gotten way out of hand and I think the healthcare industry by-and-large is really ripe for taking out the anti-trust laws. The first step is busting up monopolies and require that anti-trust apply to the insurance industry.

I think we have to come up with a uniquely American system, I don’t think we can take one of the other systems and plop it down here.What we’ve got to do is be very specific about how we get from here to there. I’m not ruling out anything.”