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Month: July 2018

Can’t foster a child? Here’s how to support those that do

By CASEY CHAFFIN
Keizertimes Intern

According to data published by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education in 2014, the percentage of 17 to 18 year old foster youth who want to go to college is 84 percent, but the percentage of foster youth who graduate high school and actually attend college is 20 percent, and the estimated percentage of former foster youth who actually attain a bachelor’s degree ranges from two to nine percent.

The message is quite clear: foster youth have the motivation to achieve more, but not the support system. The take-away for many who work in this system is: We can do better, and we need to do better. But to make that happen, there must be community buy-in even among those who aren’t currently fostering any children.

“Foster parents provide a community service.  They are Marion County foster homes caring for Marion County children,” said Gwen Slippy, of the Marion County Child Welfare office, and as a result they need the support of those in the community to support that service. She added, “We want to partner with the community to meet the needs of children and families.”

Slippy curates resources to support foster families, because the responsibility for fostering falls on more shoulders than just those who currently open their homes to foster youth.

There are too many foster youth in the system and not enough adults to support them. This lack of engagement extends beyond actual foster parents, and into the support system that allows the foster system to function. Yet, foster parents and the Department of Human Services (DHS) cannot create the best environment for youth without the support of the community.

This mindset of DHS is a new one. Billy Cordero, director of the DHS GRACE grant, seeks to use data known about children in foster care to recruit foster parents that are tailored to specific needs. “It used to be we were an organization that said foster care or nothing and we’re trying to change that,” Cordero said.

Considering a youth who ends up in care is already steeped in extenuating life circumstances that impede their path to success, it’s important to acknowledge the ways the system can change a child’s life for the better, even if the situation is inherently not ideal.

Cordero experienced foster care as a young person, due in part to his parents’ drug addiction. Cordero and his siblings spent some time in what he calls “orphanage-style care,” followed by a stint on the streets, before he was placed with relatives. “They were dedicated to me and they loved me,” he said. That changed his life. It wasn’t ideal — being born into a safe, loving environment to begin with would be ideal. But being placed in a safe, loving foster home gave him a second chance at success.

After moving to Oregon from California to attend college, he learned “things don’t have to go the way the statistics say” for youth exiting care.

Shelly Winterberg, the director of field engagement for Every Child Oregon, an organization that seeks to serve as a launch-pad for people wanting to get involved in the foster care system in any capacity.

“We invite anyone and everyone to bring what they have to the table,” she said, whether that’s material resources, monetary resources or time. The Marion County chapter of Every Child is still in the process of being set up, but visit everychildoregon.org for updates.


Assist with Foster Parents’ Night Out

Burn out among foster parents is high, but burn out can be mitigated when they have the right support system, so they’re not doing it alone. Foster Parents’ Night Out (FPNO) is an organization dedicated to providing foster parents with a childcare break. Two FPNO chapters currently run in Marion County, based in the Salem Heights Church and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, both in Salem.

Billy Cordero, who in addition to working within DHS is an FPNO board member and coordinator of the Salem Heights Church FPNO chapter, said, “Sitting in a DHS seat, I’m very aware we can’t do everything to make families successful.”

Organizations such as FPNO have been created by the community to fill that gap and support local foster families. Once a month, a host organization puts together a night of dinner and entertainment for all children in a foster home, whether they’re foster kids or the family’s biological or adoptive children. For four hours a month, FPNO allows foster parents to do “whatever they need to do to take care of themselves,” Cordero said.

FPNO has been successful because the task of running the once-monthly events falls to the host organization, which is usually a church but can be a different organization, who provide the space, funding and volunteer power to make the program run.

Prior to participating in an FPNO event, organizer host a a three-hour volunteer orientation covering the basics of foster care, how to interact with kids who have suffered abuse and neglect, discuss what the purpose of FPNO is, and what expectations exist for volunteers.

Volunteers usually come from within the host organization, but unaffiliated community members can reach out to FPNO if they’re interested in getting involved with an existing chapter or starting their own. But the organization has other needs aside from volunteers, including donations and discounts on entertainment and catering. Local businesses and businesspeople who are willing to provide services to FPNO can reach out to the chapter they’d like to support directly.

For more information on FPNO and getting involved, visit fpno.org.


Become a special advocate

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, are meant to serve children who are often lost in a system that is overburdened and understaffed.

In a courtroom, where a child’s voice can often be lost among competing adults, a “CASA volunteer is the only person who is there because they want to see the child’s voice heard,” said Shaney Starr, executive director of Marion County’s branch of the CASA organization. CASAs are foster youth advocates who are trained and sworn in by a judge to serve a foster child. The duties of a CASA involve reviewing the information in a foster youth’s case, spending time with the child, interviewing caseworkers, foster families, biological relatives, and making recommendations to the court on a child’s case to ensure foster youth have the best outcomes.

CASAs may have different recommendations for the child’s welfare than caseworkers, lawyers or others party to a child’s case. Because CASAs report directly to the judge, and have an average caseload of two foster youth, their perspective on a case differs from others party to the case. While “respectful communication and professional interaction” between CASAs, DHS, and other parties is a priority, there are times when a CASA will make different recommendations to a judge about how the child’s emotional, medical, and educational needs are met.

CASAs must have “a belief that every child has a safe and permanent home where they can thrive and the willingness to see that through,” Starr said. For these reasons, being a CASA is a two-year commitment, and if the foster child’s case stays open longer, CASAs are encouraged to stick with that case.

CASAs provide oversight in a system that has come under fire for a lack thereof in recent years. Unfortunately, there are currently not enough CASAs for every foster child in Marion County. As of last count, there were about 130 Marion County CASAs and over 600 kids in care. At the currently number of foster youth in the system, the Marion County CASA branch needs an additional 75 CASAs in order to make sure every foster child has a CASA volunteer working on their case.

For more information on training and getting involved as a CASA, visit casamarionor.org, email [email protected] or call 503-967-6420.


Volunteer with DHS

The Department of Human Services has a long list of material needs and service opportunities for those seeking involvement. Smaller scale material needs include toiletries, new clothing, gift cards, and safety equipment like fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms, for foster parents to install in their homes and meet DHS requirements. New car seats are also on the high-need donation list for DHS.

Larger scale needs include DHS’s Adopt a Visitation Room program, where groups or organizations can sponsor a visitation area in the DHS office. Gwen Slippy, who oversees this program, said that group or organization “would come in and clean, replace toys, and decorate a room with a theme for family visits that take place at our office.”

For those who may not have the resources to donate materials, DHS also facilitates direct service opportunities, like volunteer transportation for youth to get to appointments, making a meal for a foster family, and office buddies, “who come and sit with children, in our office, while they are waiting for a placement – so workers are able to get time sensitive work done for the removal,” Slippy said.  Volunteers of this type can help fill the personnel gap and allow DHS workers to be more effective at their jobs, while also making sure youth get the attention they need.

In addition to these ways of getting involved, DHS welcomes new ideas from the community.  “If people have service project ideas, they are welcome to share them with me and we can see if it would be a good fit for the agency,” Slippy said.

To get involved in any of these initiatives or for a full list of DHS’s donation and volunteer needs, contact Slippy directly at [email protected]

City fees go to work

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Nine months after enacting service fees to support parks and police in the City of Keizer, some of the major goals are close to becoming a reality.

In the last month, a roof replacement at the Gazebo in Chalmer-Jones Park was completed as was a complete renovation of the play structure in north Keizer’s Meadows Park.

In addition, four of the five police officers whose salaries are paid by the police fee graduated from the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training in early July.

While the officers are done with the police academy, they will be riding alongside partners for the next few months before getting certified for solo patrols. The new officers are: Michael Kowash, Garrett VanCleave, Jeremy Darst, and Chad Fahey.

The replacement play structure at Meadows Parks includes separate structures for smaller children and older ones, one additional regular swing and a disability swing, and a climbing web for general use. All of it is on top of a rubberized fall-protection surface. The cost was $232,870 for the new playground. The new gazebo roof – the old one was reaching the end of its useful life – cost $7,700.

Only one day for keepers

By G.I. WILSON
On The Wild Side

When I hear the excitement in Bob’s voice, I know it had to be about fishing.

“Going to be a one day season for keeper sturgeon in the Cascade Locks area of the Columbia, June 15,” he gushes without catching a breath. “How about you calling Koskela and see if we can book a trip. Maybe we can get the crew together we had for the Astoria trip.”

Donald Koskela, of Pastime Fishing Adventures, is a longtime guide we have fished with over the years. We had a trip scheduled for the Astoria area earlier, but it had to be cancelled. The Columbia was at flood stage at the time due to high snow melt.

Our initial crew was; Bob George, of Salem, Tom Jerold, of Keizer, and Paul Toole, of Canby.

We have all fished together before and are very compatible. They are excited about fishing in Koskela’s new 28-foot Alumnaweld boat.

We are eager to catch sturgeon we can eat. For a number of years we fished for “keepers” in the Columbia at Astoria.

Because of the decline in sturgeon numbers, due to heavy predation by sea lions, the season has been closed for a number of years. Now we have the possibility of, not only hooking into one of the most exciting fish in our rivers, but some excellent table fare.

We are lucky. Koskela isn’t booked for the day. All we have to do is wait for June 15.

Unfortunately, a few days before the trip, Bob has to cancel due to the death of a friend. This leaves three clients for Koskela. We need more anglers.

We try to recruit more friends. Koskela calls. He has two guys that fished halibut with him earlier this spring.

Then, came the word that typically brings negative reaction from Oregon anglers: Californians. Collectively, we groan and mutter under our breaths. Five anglers now, two from California.

“They are nice, hard-working guys,” Koskela assures us. “You will like them.”

June 15; Tom picks me up at 3:15 a.m.. We pick up Paul in Canby. Koskela wants us to be at the dock in Cascade Locks at Six.

“It will be a zoo at that small boat launch,” he explains over the phone. “When you turn off of I-84, drive under the bridge. I’ll meet you there.”

We are about to experience how directions may have different meanings to different people.

“Drive under the bridge. I’ll meet you there.” Sounds simple enough. Now, if you have ever been in Cascade Locks, you will remember “The Bridge.” The towering, massive, Bridge of The Gods.

We have a problem, no road under the bridge. Tom has been to the boat launch before. We go there. No Koskela. No one has his phone number. It’s 6:15. We are holding up fishing. Did I screw up directions?

I call home, startle Jo, get Koskela’s number, call his cell. “Back up the hill, turn right, go under the bridge.” There it is, a low railroad bridge that we had missed in the dark.

There sits Koskela and the two Californians-in the boat-hopefully, waiting patiently.

I keep thinking, he’s probably thinking, “The old man screwed up again.”

Quick greetings, hand shakes, and we are off to fish.Boats are racing off in all directions to anchor in their favorite “honey hole.”

Koskela and his friend Charlie, came up yesterday evening and Charlie showed  four spots where he has always had good luck. Charlie has guided this area for years.

First spot, taken. Now I feel more guilt. Did being late cause us to miss a hot spot? We drop anchor in the next spot. Koskela baits up four rods and casts them out. “Here is the plan,” he explains. “We will take turns. Oldest guy first.”

By now we have become comfortable with “The Californians.” Good guys. Working class, heavy equipment operators, same sense of values as we do. Equally important; they love to fish as much as we do. Have to, to drive all the way from the Bay area, fish, spend the night and drive back.

They have fished in Oregon before. Joe is the oldest. Kelly is on his quest to catch a keeper. On a trip last year with Koskela’s friend Charlie, Kelly was the only one in the boat that did not land a keeper.

By the time Koskela has finished his routine, one rod begins that slow rhythmic tug of a sturgeon bite.

“You’re up G.I.,” Koskela almost whispers. I ease the rod out of the holder and feel the heavy tugs as the rod loads up.

I set the rod as hard as I can and feel the power of a wild fish rip off 80-pound test line in heavy current. “Fish on.”

After an exciting battle, Koskela nets a beautiful 40-inch keeper. My fishing is over for the day at 7:30. I can sit back in the shade and watch the “younger guys” fight fish.

Bites come fast. Paul is up next. Two small by 1/4 inch. It is fun to watch. Joe releases another one 1/4 inch too short. The window for keepers is 38-54.

Gets a little hectic, two fish on at a time. Lines become tangled and fish are lost.

Lots of laughing, teasing, yelling encouragement.

Another boat has anchored about 100 yards from us. They have to be frustrated. No bites, and we have two or three on at a time, whooping, laughing, high fives, tossing fish back in the river.

Paul eventually lands a twin to my fish. Now he and I can sit back, eat lunch–at 9:00 a.m.–and offer advice.

Tom is the lucky/unlucky guy. His time up, obviously a heavy fish and a keeper. Half way through the battle the fish comes loose. Happened to him three times.

Smaller fish are being caught. Time to move. Quite a difference. We had been anchored in 60 feet of water. Now we are at 26 feet. We are close to an osprey’s nest. We watch the adult bring a small fish to the babies.

Charlie says the spot is always good for two fish. We hook two, loose one and Joe has a keeper.

Now the three of us can razz Tom and Kelly. “What’s wrong, you’re fishing four rods and can’t catch a keeper?”

We move into a heavy current spot that could become dangerous. Koskela has to run the motor to hold steady. Lines can become tangled easily.

Tom hooks into another heavy fish. He has caught sturgeon for years, but cannot gain line on this one. He is convinced it is an “oversize.”

Tom’s battle continues as Kelly lands and releases several that are close.

Finally, Tom somehow brings his fish to the net. It has managed to wrap around the line. He had to bring it in sideways against the current. A keeper, largest fish of the day.

Now, pressure is on Kelly, the only guy that didn’t catch a keeper last year.

He has to listen to; “You’re fishing four rods, what’s wrong?”

Two heavy fish on at the same time. Three boats are hovering around watching us hook fish, probably hoping we limit out and leave.

Kelly has a nice keeper. He has fulfilled a year-long dream. We are tagged out by 11:00 a.m.. We have lost count of how many fish we released.

Back at the dock, Koskela fillets out the fish. We each have a bag of beautiful fillets of one of the finest eating fish in the river.

As we watch Koskela make short work of the fish, we reflect back on the day. It has been so much more than just a day of catching fish. We have spent time on one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. We watched bald eagles and osprey dive for fish.

We have enjoyed this special day with old friends and new friends. The memories will last forever. One day for keepers has been good for us.

Keizer youth fourth in state

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

From Oregon City to Corvallis to Lebanon to Medford, Keizer baseball and softball teams made their presence known last weekend.

In its first trip to the state tournament in 19 years, Keizer Little League’s 10U AAA softball team placed fourth.

After a rocky start in Medford, which resulted in a 17-0 loss versus Redmond, the Keizer little leaguers came back with an 18-14 victory against Beaumont on Saturday, July 21.

Shayla Mendoza drove in four runs in the win. Annabelle Davis had three RBIs. Nine different players each scored two runs.

“It was a team effort,” said head coach Nathan Mcclenny. “After we lost the first game, I asked the girls if they wanted to go home or stay here and play. They stepped up and had the grit to get it done.”

Trailing OR CAL 5-0, Keizer scored three runs in the top of the fourth and three more in the sixth in a come-from-behind 6-5 victory.

Marlina Martinez pitched all six innings to earn the win.

At the plate, Pacia Winter was 2-for-2 and scored two runs.

On Sunday, Keizer got another shot at Redmond and jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first inning before ultimately falling 18-12.

Redmond scored 14 of its runs in two innings.

McNary Youth Baseball

Two McNary Youth Baseball teams finished fourth at their respective state tournaments.

Playing in Lebanon, McNary Junior Federal, coached by Dean Allen, went 2-2 at the 12U tournament on July 19-21.

The Celtics opened play with a 7-5 win against the Canby Cougars.

Tied 3-3 entering the seventh, McNary scored four runs in the top of the inning and held Canby to two runs in the bottom.

Jake Allen was 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and scored two runs. Gage Smedema and Carter Hawley also drove in two runs. Jesiah Bartlett delivered two hits, including a double.

Bartlett pitched the first six innings to earn the win. Hawley got the save.

After a 5-3 loss to McMinnville, McNary rebounded with a 7-1 victory against Westview on Saturday.

The Celtics scored all seven runs in the bottom of the third.

Register your National Night Out event by July 31

In partnership with the National Association of Town Watch, the Keizer Police Department will be co-sponsoring the 35th annual National Night Out event citywide on Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. More than 38 million people in 16,000 communities throughout the country will join forces to promote police-community partnerships, crime, drug and violence prevention, safety and neighborhood unity.

Registration for Keizer-based gatherings that would like police and city officials to stop by needs to be submitted by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31. Registration can be completed at https://bit.ly/2LIuhQA.

National Night Out is designed to:  heighten crime awareness; generate support and participation in local anti-crime efforts; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community relations; and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Residents in neighborhoods in Keizer and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police. Many neighborhoods will host a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, potlucks, dessert socials and youth activities. Neighborhood Watch block captains are highly encouraged to organize an event as an opportunity to contact their participants, meet new neighbors and update their rosters.  All other neighborhoods are also encouraged to participate.

For more information, contact Community Support Officer Dorothy Diehl at 503-856-3472 or [email protected]

Edsel fans inbound

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Naomi and Art Patershall’s infatuation with a castoff from the heyday of American cars began with regular trips past a neighbor’s house.

“We would drive by his carport and look at his Edsel (a 1958 Pacer) all the time. He and my husband worked out a trade and Art got it all fixed up,” Naomi said.

The Hillsboro couple’s foray into Edsel ownership grew to include membership in the Oregon Edsel Owners Club, of which Naomi is now the secretary. From July 31 to Aug. 5, the Edsel Owners Club will be hosting its convention in Keizer, bringing together owners from throughout the country and Canada.

It’s the second time in the past decade Edsel owners have chosen Keizer for their hub, but this time around will be particularly special, said Patershall.

“The Oregon Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the car has only been around for 60 years,” she said. Ford produced Edsels between 1958 and 1960. Fewer than 10,000 of the 116,000 produced are believed to have survived.  For more about the car and its place in infamy, see related story on this page.

Choosing Keizer again was easy despite looking at other locations along Interstate 5, she added.

“The hotel was really good to work with the last time we were there and Keizer is a good location to launch side trips that take us through covered bridges and the agricultural areas,” Patershall said.

The group plans to visit the Albany Historic Carousel and Museum and Powerland Heritage Park among other activities.

Keizerites will also have opportunities to gawk at the club’s crown jewels. Early arrivers plan to visit Sonic Drive-In on River Road about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31. On Friday, Aug. 3, the club will host an all-Edsel car show beginning at 9 a.m. in the Quality Suites parking lot. Professional judges will be handing out awards in several categories, but attendees will have the opportunity to vote on for the audience award.

The one topic that is sure to come up is how and why the cars they now love were snubbed so hard when they were widely available.

“Club members debate at length about why it failed. Every time we get together,” Patershall said.

Northwood outkicks Northview

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Northwood defeated fellow Keizer neighborhood pool Northview Terrace 375 to 241 on Thursday, July 19 as both teams enter the final stretch before the all-city meet.

Northwood’s boys racked up 196 points.

Jabez Rhoads won the 15-18 freestyle, butterfly and backstroke to lead the way. Zander Rhoads took first in the 13-14 individual medley and free.

Ethan Whalen won the 15-18 IM and breaststroke. Ben Diede placed first in the 9-10 free and back.

Pierce Walker won the 11-12 fly and back.

Jackson Alt finished first in the 13-14 fly. Madden Hughes won the 8-and-under back and Zachary Harrington took first in the 13-14 back.

Northwood’s boys won the 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18 free and medley relays.

Northwood’s girls added 179 points.

Paris Boyd and Evy Hales each won three events.

Boyd took first in the 15-18 IM, free and back while Hales won the 9-10 free, fly and back.

Molly Eisele won the 11-12 IM and fly. Brooke Junker placed first in the 13-14 back and breaststroke.

Ellie Auvinen took first in the 13-14 IM and Indy Gavthier won the 11-12 free.

Kaitlyn Roop finished first in the 11-12 back and Eliana Dean won the 13-14 free.

Haley Hughes won the 15-18 fly and Madie Trammell took first in the 15-18 breaststroke.

Northwood’s girls also won the 8-and-under, 11-12, 13-15 and 15-18 medley relays.

Cole Pedersen, Zach Kilby and Nick Kosiewicz led Northview’s boys, each winning three events.

Pedersen took first in the 9-10 IM, fly and breaststroke. Kilby won the 11-12 IM, free and breaststroke. Kosiewicz won the 8-and-under free, fly and breaststroke.

Jeremy Becker placed first in the 15-18 breaststroke.

Northview also won the 9-10 boys medley and free relays.

Ally Castaneda led the Northview girls, winning the 8-and-under IM, fly and breaststroke.

Ashley Stucker finished first in the 9-10 back and breaststroke. Mackenzie Hoffmeister won the 8-and-under back and breaststroke.

Madison Hoffmeister took first in the 11-12 breaststroke, Izzy Kilby won the 9-10 IM, Carly  Castaneda finished first in the 8-and-under free and Kianna Staley won the 15-18 IM.

Northview’s girls also won the 9-10 medley elay.

Holiday

Holiday Swim Club topped Jan Ree 381 to 218 on Thursday, July 19.

Emma Anderson led the girls, winning the 11-12 free, fly and breaststroke.

Claire Hicks (8-and-under IM and back), Emery Love (11-12 IM and back), Ella Gerig (9-10 free and breaststroke) and Olivia Anderson (8-and-under free and breaststroke) each won two events.

Ava Privratsky took first in the 8-and-under free and Kassy Winters won the 15-18 fly.

Holiday’s girls won five relays—8-and-under, 9-10 and 11-12 medley as well as 8-and-under and 11-12 free.

Carter Hollis, Vinny Arnold and Jack McCarty paced Holiday’s boys, each winning three individual events.

Hollis took first in the 13-14 IM, free and fly. Arnold won the 9-10 free, back and breaststroke. McCarty placed first in the 15-18 IM, fly and breaststroke.

Noah Williams finished first in the 8-and-under fly and breaststroke.

Holiday won three more 8-and-under events—Jacob Castronovo in the IM, Ozzy Arnold in the back and Michael Hudgins in the free.

Holiday also racked up points in the 9-10 and 11-12 age groups. Brody Hollis won the 9-10 IM and Aiden Vandre took first in the 9-10 fly. Xavier Grantham won the 11-12 back while Joshua Grossman finished first in the 11-12 breaststroke. Holiday’s boys won six relays—8-and-under, 9-10 and 11-12 medley as well as the 8-and-under, 11-12 and 13-14 free.

Holiday is hosting the all-city swim meet on Saturday, July 28 at 10 a.m.

School board mulls establishing district-based police department

By HERB SWETT
Of the Keizertimes

A resolution to designate the Salem-Keizer Public Schools Safety and Risk Management Services as a law enforcement agency received first-reading approval from the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday.

The resolution drew negative comments from 13 members of the audience, who said law enforcement status would worsen ethnic divisions in the schools and be contrary to the state equity lens policy, which aims at eventually eliminating inequalities in student performance.

No one in the audience spoke in favor of the resolution.

Michael Wolfe, chief operating officer of the district, quoted from a district staff report that a law enforcement agency “would significantly improve the overall safety and security of our schools and departments by providing the ability to perform accurate background checks on staff, potential staff, and volunteers.” The staff report noted that the Portland, Hillsboro, and Beaverton districts have this status, “allowing them greater freedom to conduct background investigations, perform authorized investigations, and liaison with local law enforcement agencies.”

The report adds that with the presence of a district police officer, “the district would be better equipped to support administrative staff during potentially contentious or dangerous meetings with the public and during emergencies.”

Board members raised questions about such a move, although none declared definite opposition or approval.

Marty Heyen said Nevada had tried such a move “and it was a disaster.” Saying she was all for having trained security people on the campuses, she asked where oversight of the school resource officer (SRO) would come from.

Jesse Lippold, saying the presence of an officer could be intimidating, asked how the district could ensure a good relationship between an officer and students. Wolfe said the SRO would not be uniformed.

Vice Chairperson Sheronne Blasi asked how the equity lens would be applied. Wolfe said the SRO’s function would not be applied through the equity lens.

Paul Kyllo asked about the cost to the district. Wolfe replied that there would be no budget impact.

Minority students speaking from the floor said a police officer would not be the answer, because they had been targeted because of their appearance. A retired teacher commented that the district needed more counselors and bilingual staff, not police officers.

In other business, the board approved purchase, for $950,000, of the property at 4130 Portland Road NE in Salem for the capital construction project that had been approved for Hallman Elementary School.

The board also approved reappointment of the law firm of Garrett, Hemann, Robertson, PC, represented by Paul Dakopolos, as its legal counsel.

In the Spotlight on Success portion of the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Kelly Carlisle honored the district Office of Community Relations and Communications for its honorable mention award from the National School Public Relations Association.

Personnel actions approved by the board included the following in the McNary High School attendance area:

• Temporary part-time status for Charles Kuerbis, McNary.

• Temporary full-time status for Jose Bautista, Keizer Elementary School; Pristene Delegato, Kennedy Elementary School; and Ruth Ochoa and Manuel Ruiz, Weddle Elementary School.

• First-year probation full-time status for Dawn Ferrera and Rebecca Tyler, Keizer Elementary; and Christopher Nelson and Brian Satern, McNary.

• Second-year probation full-time status for Erin Crauder, Claggett Creek Middle School; and Julie Jensen and Manuel Ruiz, Weddle.

Yes to intermodal transload facility

The Brooks-Hopmere area is one of the proposed sites in the Willamette Valley for an Intermodal Transloading Facility. Millersburg on the north side of Albany is another site close to our area.

Transloading is the process of transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another—in this case, from truck to rail, to be shipping to ports in Portland and in Washington state.

The Oregon Shipping Group is assisting with the Oregon Port of Willamette’s proposal for the facility.  That group represents 50 business stakeholders and is led by Kevin Mannix. The proposal to the Oregon Department of Transportation included supporting letters from a variety of area business organizations as well as the agriculture industry.

The rationale for transloading facilities in the Willamette Valley is to more efficiently move products to foreign markets. Currently farm products are shipped via truck to ports for shipment overseas. The freeways in and around the Portland area are experiencing increased traffic counts which results in higher shipping costs for producers whose goods are stuck in traffic.

It is more efficient for producers to bypass clogged roadways in the metropolitan area by utilizing a transloading facility here in the mid-Willamette Valley. If Brooks-Hopmere wins the nod from the state, which will hand down its decision in late September, it will be a win for ag business here in the northern valley but certainly also a win for ag business in the southern Willamette Valley; shipping to Brooks would be cheaper than going all the way to ports in Portland or points north.

The Oregon Shipping Ground has laid the groundwork with adjourning commercial and residential neighbors. They have solicited comments and ideas, particularly when it comes to the Brooks-Interstate 5 interchange.  If Brooks-Hopmere is chosen as the site for the mid-Willamette Valley site there certainly would be improvements at that interchange. One should not expect improvement on the level of the recent Woodburn re-do.

The proposed facility at Brooks-Hopmere is not designed to add lots of jobs. As currently design the facility would feature a handful of positions. Though it is not heavy with jobs there are other benefits—increased global trade for western Oregon growers, fewer big rig trucks on Portland area freeways (this is important because most Keizerites travel to Portland occasionally) and, eventually an improved interchange that many north Keizer residents use.

The proposed sites—one next to May Trucking Company on the west side of the freeway, the other north of Brooklake Road next to the NORPAC plant—will not adversely affect those who live or have businesses in the area.

Agriculture is Oregon’s primary business and anything that can make it more competitive is a good thing. We support the Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Transloading Facility whether it is approved for the west or the east side of the freeway at Brooks-Hopmere. —LAZ