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Day: August 30, 2018

Supporting the local team

To the Editor:

I feel someone needs to reach out to say thanks for your sports section. Your sports department has always shown great support of our team (I feel it should encourage people in our community to go to more games).

The Volcano players have tried as well as they can, even though they have faltered at times. They may not win first place in their division but their win/lost record is in a good shape to reach the playoffs.

Their manager, Hector Borg, is doing an outstanding job trying to cope with decisions handed down by the San Francisco Giants, beyond his control. He also has to deal with three players now on the disabled list, due to being hit by opposing teams.

It is the Keizertimes, not the Salem newspaper, who I personally feel has taken more time showing support “stepping to the plate” to cover the Salem-Keizer Volcano baseball team.

Congratulations Keizertimes and your sports section for such support of our local team.

Sam La Masa

An inconvenient truth

The Keizer City Council and Keizer Planning Commission will be discussing the most recent findings of a revitalization study focused on Keizer’s business corridors at a work session Monday, Aug. 27.

The goals of the study are two-fold: determining how can the city promote new and redevelopment and how can it capture more housing units in the process. While both are important, the council should be paying close attention to the ramifications of the housing component.

Three months ago, this paper ran an article looking at some of the early results of the study that showed Keizer moving in the direction of gentrification—the process by which low-income families are pushed out of an area as redevelopment occurs. In the preliminary findings, the number of households making less than $25,000 dropped 5 percent since 2000, and the number of even moderate-income households is decreasing steadily. In the past 18 years, the number of households making less than $75,000 declined rapidly while the growth of households making $100,000 steadily increased. More worryingly, low income families find themselves relegated to certain pockets of the city and even rental rates in those areas are rising meteorically—more than 50 percent in the past five years.

The more recent results of the study show continued warning signs. Two of the three scenarios of growth the council will discuss Monday call for redevelopment of many existing properties into multi-story, multifamily developments like apartments and townhouses. New developments along these lines would most likely replace existing structures in the dwindling pockets of affordability with top-of-market spaces that current residents and their families will no longer be able to afford.

In the wake of our last article on the topic, we heard from several readers who suggested we got it wrong. They wanted more gentrification, a more elite status for the neighborhoods of Keizer.

That is understandable, but it ignores an inconvenient truth: In a capitalist society, a certain segment of the population must inhabit the lower rungs of the economic ladder for those at the top to flourish. Ideally, those at the low income end of the spectrum can work their way up, but chances at upward mobility in America are drying up and not every “American Dream” looks the same.

Keizer must continue to have housing available for those with challenged incomes. It’s a matter of decency and compassion at its core, but city councilors and residents should remember that even those with modest incomes contribute to the success of our local businesses and the fabric of our community.

— Editorial Board

Great expectations: Lady Celts return 18 varsity players

Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s girls soccer team will see its most difficult schedule in years, maybe ever.

But with 18 returning varsity players, including 15 of them upperclassmen, head coach A.J. Nash believes he’s got the talent to face those challenges.

“We’ve never had that (experience),” Nash said. “We’ve got high expectations. We’ve got an ability to compete with any team in the state.”

Instead of just one 6A team on its non-league schedule, which the Lady Celts have seen the past two seasons, McNary will face seven, all playoff teams that advanced to at least the second round of the 6A state tournament last season.

Lincoln, who the Lady Celts will travel to on Sept. 18, reached the semifinals.

“The level of competition for the non-league has went through the roof,” Nash said.

McNary earned the tougher schedule by qualifying for the state playoffs the past two seasons.

“We’ve been fighting to get a more difficult 6A schedule the last four of five years,” Nash said. “You have to have a proven track record, which isn’t one year of success, it’s multiple years’ success. It’s hard to get those teams to come play you. It’s an example of what we’ve earned. That is not a gift or a request. It has to be earned.”

Conference play will also be tougher.

Gone are McMinnville, McKay and North Salem, three of the four bottom teams in the Greater Valley Conference last season.

In is former 5A powerhouse Summit, which last year won its sixth state title since 2010 and Bend, which reached the 5A state quarterfinals last season.

Mountain View is only one of two opponents on McNary’s schedule that didn’t play in the postseason last year.

“There’s a lot on the line every game,” Nash said. “One of the big differences we’re going to see this year is often in that first six games we can have a larger rotation of players to get them looks on the field. Every single game this year is meaningful. We don’t have any easy wins on the schedule.”

Led by Sydney Snapp, a four-year starter at goal keeper and Sam Alfano, a three-year starter, the strength of McNary’s team should be its defense.

“Our defense, I feel solid with,” Nash said. “I know we’re going to compete in every game because of our defense. We’re bringing back a much more tenured defense group that has both playoff experience and age under their belt now.”

While last season’s leading goal scorer, Abbie Hawley returns, the Lady Celts are less proven in the attack.

Natalia Gonzalez and Izzy Haselip, both seniors, enter the year healthy after missing large parts of last season with injuries.

“I need to be the person to also push my teammates to think they can score as well, not just me,” Hawley said.

Seniors Gina Munguia and Katy Wyatt will lead the midfield.

For the first time in three years, no freshmen made the varsity team.

“It’s a sign of a good program,” Nash said. “We don’t have any rules against it. We want freshmen to earn it but with 15 returning upperclassmen there’s not a whole lot of room.”

That experience has already shown in tryouts when Nash said the team was in midseason form.

“Our starting point, we feel like is ahead of any year we’ve had,” he said.

McNary opened the season on Tuesday, Aug. 28 with a 2-1 win at South Medford.

Haselip scored both goals with assists from Munguia and Wyatt.