Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Author: Candace Johnson

Iconic play roars into Ken Collins auditorium

Of the Keizertimes
Last year, the McNary High School theatre department put on a production of The Wizard of Oz for their annual winter musical.
This year, director Tom Cavanaugh wanted to be intentional about putting on a show that involved less “fantasy.”
Even though that is the case, the setting of California in the 1950’s is pretty far from reality for high school students.
Over the next two weekends, the McNary theatre department will transport their audience back to a time of hand-jiving and poodle skirts with their production of the famous musical and major motion-picture Grease.
The play opened on Thursday, Jan. 10, but there will be showings on Friday Jan. 11 and Saturday Jan. 12, as well as Jan. 17 through 19 at 7 p.m. There will also be matinee showings on the 12th and 19th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for students.
Greaser Danny (played by Steven Cummings) and nice girl Sandy (played by Ingrid Dunn) fall in love over the course of a summer and try to create that same magic when they head back to school and discover that they are both enrolled at Rydell High.
The classic story, along with the traditional outfits, singing and dancing that defined a generation will be sure to provide high-quality entertainment for all ages.
“It’s a fun, light-hearted musical, but it has enough depth to keep you interested,’ said Kennadi Joy Thomas, who will be playing the character of Marty. “It really provides a moment to just watch and enjoy a bunch of McNary high schoolers having a ton a fun, but also see how much work we put in.”
“There are a ton of sets and costumes, so there won’t be a second where they aren’t entertained.”
The props and the costumes, the well choreographed dances, plus the singing and dialogue reveal the hours put in on this project — students have been preparing for the musical since September.

This year, director Tom Cavanaugh wanted to be intentional about putting on a show that involved less “fantasy.”
Even though that is the case, the setting of California in the 1950’s is pretty far from reality for high school students.
Over the next two weekends, the McNary theatre department will transport their audience back to a time of hand-jiving and poodle skirts with their production of the famous musical and major motion-picture Grease.
The play opened on Thursday, Jan. 10, but there will be showings on Friday Jan. 11 and Saturday Jan. 12, as well as Jan. 17 through 19 at 7 p.m. There will also be matinee showings on the 12th and 19th at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for students.
Greaser Danny (played by Steven Cummings) and nice girl Sandy (played by Ingrid Dunn) fall in love over the course of a summer and try to create that same magic when they head back to school and discover that they are both enrolled at Rydell High.
The classic story, along with the traditional outfits, singing and dancing that defined a generation will be sure to provide high-quality entertainment for all ages.
“It’s a fun, light-hearted musical, but it has enough depth to keep you interested,’ said Kennadi Joy Thomas, who will be playing the character of Marty. “It really provides a moment to just watch and enjoy a bunch of McNary high schoolers having a ton a fun, but also see how much work we put in.”
“There are a ton of sets and costumes, so there won’t be a second where they aren’t entertained.”
The props and the costumes, the well choreographed dances, plus the singing and dialogue reveal the hours put in on this project — students have been preparing for the musical since September.

“We have been thinking about this show for five months now,” Cavanaugh said. “It can be hard to focus on something for that long, but the cast has been great to work with.”
“We have had some people drop out of the show, so we needed some people to step up. And the people stepping into to new roles were ready to go and they have all done whatever it takes to give the show what it needs.”
This production will feature several classical numbers from the movie, such as; Summer Nights, Greased Lightning, It’s Raining on Prom Night and Alone at the Drive-In Movie.

However, according to the cast, there will be plenty of material in the production that doesn’t follow the traditional formula.
Ingrid Dunn, who plays the role of Sandy, said that “we have similar iconic scenes, like the sleepover and the dances, but it isn’t the same script as the movie.”
Thomas also commented: “We’re trying to make it familiar, but also different enough that people will be excited to come again.”
Luckily, a surprising amount of members of the cast haven’t even seen the movie, so there will be a sense of originality with all the characters.
“It’s been fun to see everyone find their character and make them different,” said Jacob Fritts, who will be playing the role of Kenickie. “These characters aren’t normal individuals and they don’t act like normal people.”
Both Cavanaugh and vocal director Joshua Rist, beamed with pride talking about the final product these students are ready to put on display.
“Keizer should be really proud of its kids and the commitment they have to making a great work of art,” Rist said. “What we’re doing is really cool and I think this experience has enriched kids’ lives.”
Cavanaugh added: “I want to make this an event that the community is proud of and have it be something that will be on their calendar every year. If people come out and support the kids, I think they’ll watch something they can be really proud of.”

Guardian Shield & Arachnight: Heroes or Menace?

Of the Keizertimes

It’s Saturday, Sept. 30, roughly 11 p.m., when Arachnight suffers one of the many small indignities of being a community superhero: his kneepad comes loose.

Arachnight and Guardian Shield are out on patrol together, something that they do when they can, because there’s strength in numbers.

Patrol might be a bit too formal a term for what they are doing. In the past hour, they’ve walked up and down River Road turning on whims without a specific destination or planned course. They’ve walked in front of buildings, around buildings, and drifted into neighborhoods. Using tactical flashlights, the duo tries to scope out the areas where someone could be hidden, hatching nefarious plans, or simply in distress. Both men are still relatively new to patrolling in the area and they hope to develop a grid that they can use when they deploy over the next couple of weeks.

Arachnight attends to his wardrobe malfunction, then he and Shield continue walking toward River Road North on Cummings Lane. As they approach the River Road intersection, a pedestrian, Adam Hayes, is waiting to cross at the light when he looks up.

“Holy s–t, it’s Guardian Shield,” says Adam, drawing out the last syllable of ‘holy’ into “holeeee.”

Shield is easily recognizable to those who know about him. He wears a red spandex bodysuit with black boots, matching gloves, and a chest harness sporting his custom yellow logo. A black eye mask covers his face above the nose. The get-up is a kit-bashed homage, of sorts, to three of Shield’s favorite superheroes: Captain America, the Golden Age Phantom, and Mr. Incredible from the Pixar The Incredibles movie of the last decade.

Shield smiles through his thick beard, then asks if Adam would like a picture. Hayes already knew Shield because of a news article a few years back about Shield patrolling in Beaverton.

“Dude, would I?” responds Adam. “Just walking down the street and I bump in Guardian Shield. And who are you?”

The last part is directed to The Night Spider, Arachnight. It’s not hard to deduce which comic book hero influenced the man behind the full-face mask the most. Arachnight’s costume is a blending of two versions of Spider-Man and one of his most notable enemies, Venom.

After a brief introduction, Adam turns his attention back to Shield, telling him that he was thinking hard about joining the ranks of community superheroes a few years ago. Adam tells Shield about the design he came up with for a costume of his own.

“What stopped you?” Shield asks the question twice because he would eagerly welcome new people to the superhero movement. Strength in numbers, so long as the players take the mission seriously.

The mission, Shield says a few minutes later, is key.

“You gotta keep the mission small. Some community superheroes want to bust drug lords or fight ISIS. Our job is interrupting a purse-snatching, a person breaking into a car, or stopping an assault,” Shield says. “It’s about being eyes and ears when the police can’t be there. You can’t be a vigilante. We work within the law.”

Adam Hayes snaps a selfie with Guardian Shield and Arachnight during their patrol Saturday, Sept. 30. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald
Adam Hayes snaps a selfie with Guardian Shield and Arachnight during their patrol Saturday, Sept. 30. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald

Hayes snaps a picture of Shield and Arachnight and then the group crosses River Road together. Before putting some distance between them, Adam asks for one last picture, a selfie with the heroes.

“The most challenging thing, when you start out, is you have to learn to get past the name-calling and naysayers. You will be made fun of, but you have to recognize that there is someone out there who will think this is awesome,” Arachnight says.

Fortunately, for every hater, there are 20 Adams out there.


Their paths to becoming community superheroes didn’t intersect until they met online, but Shield and Arachnight feel they have common enemies in apathy and indifference.

“One of my big pushes to do this was seeing YouTube videos of people getting beat up while others stood there filming it. That is unacceptable,” says Shield.

Arachnight puts it more bluntly.

“If you were getting your teeth kicked in and looked up to see someone filming so they get likes on Facebook, how would you feel?” he asks.

Shield has patrolled for three years, Arachnight for two, and neither has been involved in a major altercation.

“We are not out here to replace the police. We are here to help and assist because it’s our community, too,” says Shield. Most people, he added, are deterred by the suit alone: “I’m already crazy enough to be out here by myself in spandex, how crazy are you?”

Being eyes and ears in the dark spaces can help prevent situations from escalating or catch them before they take a turn for the worse, said Arachnight.

A few weeks ago, Shield spotted a Ringo’s patron trying to coax a friend into the trunk of his car for the ride home. The man’s girlfriend was riding shotgun in the two-seater.

“I went up to him and told him that wasn’t going to work and everyone ended up in the car itself,” Shield said.

On one of his early adventures, Shield walked up on a domestic dispute and called 9-1-1, knowing the situation was beyond his abilities to diffuse.

Tonight, the patrol ends up being essentially a long string of good deeds: flickering a flashlight to get a driver to turn on his headlights, going into Shari’s to notify a patron that they left their headlights on, picking up large pieces of litter and leaving a pair of Gatorades next to a sleeping homeless man.

“We want to be a deterrent to violent crime,” says Arachnight.“If the bad guys notice you are there, the majority of them aren’t going to do anything, whether it’s assaulting somebody or breaking into a car.”

Secret Origins

Shield and Arachnight grew up on a steady diet of comic books and pop cultural representations of the characters found in them. Shield found something between the panels that felt like a higher calling.

“I’m not invulnerable or perfect, it’s that I’m willing to put myself between an innocent person and a bully,” says Shield.“I was on the MAX one time and a guy was talking to told me that he felt like he was talking to Captain America–like I was on that level–that was cool. People get excited to see a superhero and I’d like to think that goodness carries over into their lives.”

For Arachnight, comic books were an escape.

“I came out of a broken home and, when I needed a sense of hope, I cracked open a comic book. My mom’s death was the influence that told me I needed to become that hero I always wanted to be. I don’t think her death is the reason I do this, but I know she would support it if she were still here,” Arachnight said.

Shield is ex-military and felt his experiences while deployed in Afghanistan were something he could use once he got home. He began watching the rise of what was later known as the Real World Superhero Movement in 2006, but he waited nearly nine years to first don the spandex.

Still, there were stumbling first steps. He did practice runs in Colorado while stationed there, but he was as scared of any encounters with real people as they might have been suspicious of him.

“I basically had the red suit and belt and a mask. I was hiding behind cars and moving around them as other cars passed. I was totally creeping,” Shield says.

At one point, an enthusiastic preteen ran up to him and he froze. Shield stood up straight and just stared before the kid took off running.

“I realized after that I needed to be able to engage with people,” Shield said.

By the time he assembled his full costume in Beaverton, almost everyone got a wave and a reminder to stay safe at the very least.

Arachnight’s first contact didn’t go much better. He went out on patrol for the first time the day his mother died and, like Shield, he wasn’t quite prepared for new role he’d taken on. He wore a balaclava mask, a Spider-Man T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. For security, he slung a large metal baton across his back. The first two evenings were uneventful, which is one of the reasons the third is so memorable.

“I was walking down a suburban neighborhood and I heard this rumbling coming from the distance. It got closer and closer and then a pick-up truck full of teenagers switched on the headlights and drove past me honking. Then I heard this screech and I looked back and saw the truck reversing, spin around and head for me,” Arachnight says.

He did what any wise, nascent hero does. He ran. He ran for three-and-a-half blocks before turning a corner and diving into a bush where he stripped off his mask and webslinger T-shirt and left his baton behind. He re-emerged after the truck passed.

The truck came back and asked Arachnight, the civilian, if he’d seen anyone matching the description of the guy in a mask with a six-foot katana. Arachnight played dumb, but the high schoolers didn’t call off the search for another six weeks.

“I know because I was working at the local gas station and I would be filling up their tank while they told me about the masked man they were looking for. I had to play it off like ‘that guy sounds like a real freaking nutcase,’ then I would go out on patrol again that night.”

Both men found that donning a mask and superhero outfit gave them a sense of mission that stretched beyond what they encountered on the streets.

“When I look in the mirror now, I ask myself what would GS do? I can’t have a double standard or be a hypocrite, and I’ve definitely cleaned up my language,” Shield says.

“I suffer a lot of anxiety and low self-esteem issues. Putting on the mask awakened something inside of me. You act more professional and have a more heroic demeanor toward yourself,” Arachnight added.

Both said their heroic personas felt more like their destinies than their civilian lives.

“Patrol night comes along and it’s like this chance to be who you really want to be. A lot of times my everyday normal life feels less natural to me,” Shield said.

Identity Crisis

It might have been that comfort in his superhero skin that led Shield to try something new when deciding to patrol in Keizer. For the first time, he announced his presence and intent to patrol online.

The blowback that resulted from the posting was unexpected to say the least. Messages piled up questioning his motives, his mental state, and just about everything in between. It took minutes for someone to post a photo of him out of costume with a loved one. Shield isn’t trying to cover up anything in his past, but he is concerned about the possibility of upsetting someone who would target his friends and family.

“Keizer has been the hardest town to crack. I don’t want to get killed if I end up in a confrontation with someone,” Shield said. “No other town has come after me to unmask me. That makes me nervous.”

There are a number of people in Shield’s personal life who know of his activities. Arachnight has only a few.

“If I take the mask off then you know I’m just the guy who you see walking down the street and you don’t know I’m here to help,” Arachnight said.

The initial wave of online skepticism blew over in a few days and a few apologies even cropped up in the mix once some doubters had time to reflect.

Truthfully, community superheroes inhabit a grey area. Other community superheroes in other places have run afoul of the law and even the inhabitants of the communities they set out to protect.

Mat and Quentin Evans pose for a photo with Keizer’s new community superheores at a meet-and-greet in Claggett Creek Park. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald
Mat and Quentin Evans pose for a photo with Keizer’s new community superheores at a meet-and-greet in Claggett Creek Park. KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald

Shield carries a ballistic shield, a tactical flashlight, pepper spray, bad dog spray, utility knife, seatbelt cutter, glass breaker, Taser, a polypropylene sword that could defend against a crowbar or bat, and a personal medical kit.

Arachnight carries mace, a telescoping baton, tactical flashlight and stun gun along with his medical kit. He wears alloy-knuckled gloves, but he’s also CPR- and first aid-certified. He counts local police among his personal heroes.

The sheer amount of gear is costly, but also legal, and the totality of it in list form appears threatening. On the other hand, Shield finds it helps him make his case when law enforcement officers roll up.

“We’re already a joke and we look legit. Half of the battle is won when the police look at me and see that I’m well-prepared. If you dress like a clown, people will treat you like a clown,” Shield said.

When Shield went into Shari’s earlier in the night, the manager went pale and immediately said no face masks were allowed in the restaurant. They make it a habit not to go too far into any establishment to avoid those specific types of reactions.

There also aren’t too many spaces they see as out-of-bounds. Private residential property would be taboo, but they’ll check out dark spaces around businesses and apartments.

“I’ve walked around places on patrol I would never walk around in broad daylight,” Shield said.

They try to balance their appearance with friendly demeanor and a healthy dose of humor.

“You never hear of Batman obeying the ‘No Trespassing’ signs. You have to go where the bad guys are. It’s not like I’m going to yell over the fence, ‘You’re lucky you’re not over here obeying the law,’” Arachnight says.

“If you were, I’d shake your hand and congratulate you on being a good citizen,” quips Shield.

Shield and Arachnight don’t have a record of instigation and don’t intend to start in Keizer. More than anything, the pair just hopes to inspire people.

“I love seeing kids’ reactions and the awe on their faces. I have a lot of siblings and kids are a big deal for me. Knowing I can make someone feel good puts an insanely large smile on my face,” Arachnight said.

“My only agenda is to make superheroes real,” Shield said. “Why aren’t they real? It takes a little guts, a little courage, but there’s strength in numbers.”

Time will tell. But if the mere presence of a few community superheroes prevents some crime along the way, it’s hard to argue with those motives.

Congressional inaction threatens at-risk youth

Of the Keizertimes

A statewide advocacy group mobilized a notable selection of local supporters in Salem to call on the U.S. Congress to reauthorize and expand two federal programs that deter crime through early intervention.

Keizer Police Chief John Teague, Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore, and Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton were all called on to speak on behalf of the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Act (MIECHV) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The trio met with Martha Brooks of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and Patrice Altenhofen, executive director of Family Building Blocks, Monday, Oct. 2 for a press conference.

Funding for the two programs expired Sept. 30 and will need to be reauthorized by Congress or local families might lose resources viewed as critical by law enforcement and justice officials.

“As a cop, when we can teach families how to raise kids well, it makes kids safer, it makes children, families and the community more productive, and it decreases crime. I am sincerely hopeful that Congress will reappropriate funds for these programs,” Teague said.

Teague spoke specifically to programs funded through MIECHV, which pays for low-income, new parents to be screened and arrange for voluntary in-home visits after the birth of their children.

“There are some basic things these families just don’t know because they have generations of uninformed parenting,” Teague said.

Altenhofen said Family Building Blocks has about 40 home visitors and eight of them are funded through MIECHV appropriations. Statewide, MIECHV funds have directed about $20 to $30 million into Oregon for such services.

Parents who enroll in the program are screened at the hospital, sometimes even prenatally, and offered in-home visits. In-home visits can cover a wide variety of topics ranging from safety issues to something as seemingly instinctual as making eye contact.

“The tiny changes create attachments for the child and supports development,” Altenhofen said.

Parents in the program can receive visits for the first three years of the child’s life if they wish.

Funding is the primary barrier to offering the program to more eligible families, Altenhofen added.

“About a year ago, we screened as many new parents as we could for a month and discovered that we’re serving 1-in-4 families that could benefit from this program. Only about 25 percent,” Altenhofen said.

Moore spoke on the issue of CHIP funding and its role in reducing police responses to mental health crises. CHIP coverage provides specific funding for functional family therapy that has been proven to cut rearrests in half and multi-systemic therapy, which has been shown to cut violent felony arrests by 75 percent.

“These are problems that, if not treated, continue into adult life. On a daily basis, (police) contact adults with mental health issues and these programs reduce those problems,” Moore said.

Brooks said CHIP was on the agenda for the finance committee this week, but there were no clear assurances of reauthorization. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a version of MIECHV authorization that requires a state match, but the U.S. Senate has yet to bring forth its version of the bill.

Oregon receives about $100,000 in federal funding for CHIP and it serves approximately 3,000 kids.

“The critical piece is getting that funding so that we don’t lose home visitors that go to other jobs and then the families drop off,” Brooks said.

Fritz Graham, of Sen. Ron Wyden’s office, sat in on the presser. Wyden is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, but Brooks also urged Rep. Greg Walden to prioritize the reappropriation as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“These programs support at-risk parents who are trying to do their best, but don’t always know how to support their kids so that they can succeed. The research is on our side and shows the profound impacts these programs have,” said Felton.


Keizer Christian celebrates 54 years with KHC exhibit

Of the Keizertimes

Keizer Christian Church is celebrating its 54th anniversary this month and the congregation is celebrating with a special service on Sunday, Oct. 8, all of it coincides with a new display at the Keizer Heritage Museum.

Kim Free, wife of Keizer Christian’s new pastor, Erik, led the charge to get the display into the museum and is hoping it paves the way for the church itself, at 6945 Wheatland Road N., to become an official historical point of interest in the city.

“It was either the third or fourth church in Keizer to have its own building, and it’s the only one that still contains part of the original structure,” Free said.

Keizer Christian Church, which is associated with the Disciples of Christ, held its first services in October 1963 at the Keizer Grange Hall. The congregation built a home of its own on the corner of Lockhaven Drive Northeast and River Road North between 1966 and 1968. When Albertson’s bought that property in 1984, the original structure was moved to its current location.

“The original building was split in half and a new sanctuary and offices were built between the two halves. The old sanctuary is now a community space and the space that was the school is still our preschool,” Free said.

The move was not without its harrowing moments. After finding a local mom-and-pop operation that was willing to move the building to the new site at half the cost a Portland firm wanted to charge, multiple obstacles presented themselves.

“They started down River Road and found out that the building was too wide and they had to clear some branches and trees, they got a little further and had to call the power company to lift the power lines so the church could go under them. Finally the cable broke and the building went sliding down the hill on Wheatland and into somebody’s fence,” Free said.

The church has video of the whole thing, but Free said her husband found the camera operator to be the most humorous aspect of the fiasco.

“We were watching it together and he couldn’t believe the camera person didn’t curse the whole time all of this was happening,” Free said.

The exhibit in the Keizer Heritage Museum features several artifacts from throughout the church’s history. Many are tied to missionary work members of the congregation have performed in Congo and Ecuador, but the highlights are a Communion set and a large clay tile featuring a Biblical scene.

“They are made from clay that came out of the creek behind the church when it was on River Road. The school children dug the clay out and a local artist made the plaques and communion set with design input from the students,” Free said.

Open cars hot targets

Of the Keizertimes

Keizer Police Department officials are reminding residents to clear their cars of valuables and lock them up at night because thieves are targeting unlocked vehicles with increased frequency.

There have been at least 167 illegal entries into cars since January, nearly double the amount there was during the same time period last year.

“Especially with the holiday shopping season coming we want people to be more aware,” said KPD Lt. Andrew Copeland.

Cara Steele, the KPD crime analyst, said thefts from vehicles, known as car clouts in police parlance, have been a featured part of her briefings to patrol officers since the beginning of the year.

“Ninety to 95 percent are the result of an unlocked door or window. It’s not windows being broken or locks being jimmied,” Steele said. “We might see a change [in method of entry] if everyone starts locking their door, but it is something we’re tracking and we will notice it.”

The problem with tracking car clouts – and apprehending offenders – is that by the time the crimes are reported and trends emerge, the thieves are long gone and the trends already over.

“We have had some areas hit more than once, but with car clouts it’s very transitory. I can tell you that neighborhoods all over the city have been hit,” Steele said.

Motive also factors into the ability for police to track down suspects.

“You have kids who are bored and go out and check car doors for the thrill. Then you have people who are looking to feed something like a drug habit. Finally, there are people who drive in from another city and just pick a spot that looks target-rich (residential with a bunch of cars),” Copeland said.

Another complicating factor is that some car owners intentionally leave doors to their cars unlocked after cleaning them out so would-be thieves don’t damage the vehicle trying to gain entry. That tactic is something of a double-edged sword for police. Since the victim doesn’t experience a loss, it often goes unreported.

“For us to establish patterns and trends, I have to know what is happening even if nothing is taken,” Steele said.

The most commonly-reported items being taken are cell phones, car chargers, tablet computers, expensive sunglasses, and even loose change.

KPD Deputy Chief Jeff Kuhns said one of the reasons the department is seeking to beef up night patrols is to be more proactive in incidents like car clouts.

“Our graveyard troops love a suspicious person call and we encourage you to call when you see someone who doesn’t belong in a neighborhood or if you see someone checking doors,” Kuhns said.

Neighbors can also help each other by forming Neighborhood Watches. If you don’t have a watch already established in your area, KPD’s community outreach specialist, Dorothy Diehl can help get one started. Diehl can be reached at 503-856-3472 or [email protected]

Bend schools coming to GVC?

Final decision Oct. 16

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

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

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.”