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Author: Eric Howald

New owners, new space for Keizer gym

By ERIC A. HOWALD

Of the Keizertimes 

Keizer’s Snap Fitness location has new owners and will unveil a new expansion at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. 

Personal trainers Cameron Tadlock and Carrie Strong recently purchased the franchise location from the previous owner and have added nearly 1,500 square feet of “functional fitness” space. 

“The stuff we have in there is colorful and fun and its the perfect way to supplement the regular gym stuff. Looks more like a daycare center for adults,” said Tadlock. 

Functional fitness focuses on balance and coordination through movements like kneeling, squatting, running, jumping and more. It’s completing the circuit found in traditional gyms that focus on cardio and lifting, Tadlock said. 

The new space will have seven stations outfitted with equipment like punching bags, sandbags, tire flips and battle ropes. It also has 57 feet of turf surface and a sled push. 

“I am so unbelievably excited. When I got into fitness, I was so bored. You’re stuck between science and very creative marketing. I think most gyms are done wrong, we’re supposed to be here to help people,” Tadlock said. 

Tadlock became a certified trainer almost 10 years ago after a career in retail management. While working in construction, a friend encouraged him to go to a gym and he dropped 70 pounds and it put him on a new path. 

He’s been part the Keizer Snap Fitness location, 5442 River Road N., since 2011. 

In addition to the new space, Keizer’s Snap Fitness offers cardio and weight machines, personal training and a special room where members can cue up one of more than 350 training programs on demand. 

For more information, call 503-400-6344. 

McNary takes down West Salem on the mat

By MATT RAWLINGS

Of the Keizertimes

Even though the McNary wrestling squad is among the youngest in the Mountain Valley Conference, the Celtics have shown over the course of the season that they have a lot of potential.

And they proved it once in their first home dual of the year.

The Celtics won their first MVC meet of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 16, defeating West Salem in convincing fashion by a score of 50-22. 

Even though it was an impressive victory, McNary head coach Jason Ebbs doesn’t want his kids to lose sight of what their focus is.

“This was a very nice, competitive dual for us and I thought our kids looked good,” Ebbs said. “But were not going up and putting notches in our hat quite yet. We still need to focus on improvement.”

“We’ve still got a long ways to go, but if we take advantage of the time we have over the next four weeks, we’re going to win more matches.”

After West Salem forfeited the 182-pound match, Garrett Wampler started the night off for the Celtics in the 195-pound bout. Even though he was wrestling up a division, Wampler dominated his opponent and earned a pin late in the first round.

“I just went in there knowing that I could get in control right off the bat,” Wampler said. 

Anthony Garcia-Reyes continued to build the momentum for McNary in the following match. The junior 220-pounder took a big lead on the scoreboard after getting a big three-point takedown early in the second round, then eventually forced a fall late in the third round. 

With two straight pins, as well as a pair of forfeits, the Celtics 24-0 lead set the tone for the rest of the match.

“Winning early and getting the ball rolling is huge,” Ebbs said. “It’s a product of the hours and hours those kids put in at practice against each other.”

In the 113-pound match, McNary’s Grady Burrows appeared to be in deep trouble when he was sent to the mat late in the first round. But the sophomore was able to keep his shoulder blades just off the ground by the time the buzzer sounded, avoiding the early fall. 

When the third round of the match began, West Salem’s Lance McClung came at Burrows and tried a leg throw, but Burrows saw it coming from a mile away.

“I knew that West (Salem) likes to throw in legs, so that’s what I was kind of anticipating him to do,” Burrows said. 

Burrows combated the move, maneuvered his body and sent McClung to the floor, earning the fall 21 seconds into the final round.

After the victory, Burrows pointed over to McNary assistant coach Sam Martin — who coached at West Salem last season.

“It was my way to tell Coach Martin that win was for him,” Burrows said.

Ryan Bamford (170 lbs.) earned the third and final pin for the Celtics in this one.

McNary’s Daniel Hernandez (126 lbs.) won via 5-3 decision and Matthew Mehlhoff (152 lbs.) was victorious in his match with a technical fall while leading 25-10.

McNary will host their next match tonight against North Salem at 7 p.m.

A groundbreaking First Citizen

By ERIC A. HOWALD 

Of the Keizertimes

As Vickie Jackson accepted the title and award of Keizer’s First Citizen at a banquet Saturday, Jan. 19, she called out the previous First Citizen honorees in a line in front of her. 

“They set the example for me to follow,” said Jackson. 

Jackson was one of four award winners during the banquet, which is an annual event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. Kyle Juran, owner of Remodeling by Classic Homes, was honored as Merchant of the Year. Brian Aicher was presented the Service to Education Award, and Larry Schmidgall was given the President’s Award by current Chamber President Bob Shackleford. 

Jackson’s list of community involvement threatened to have presenter Joe Egli reaching for a glass of water, but the longtime owner of AccurAccounts broke new ground in one of Keizer’s older institutions. 

Jackson became a member of the Rotary Club of Keizer in 1990 – just two years after the club began admitting women – and served as the first woman president in 1998-99. She served as president again in 2014-15. 

“Rotary taught me how to give back to the community and how to be comfortable speaking in front of all you with all these bright lights,” Jackson said. 

Aside from Rotary involvement, Jackson has longstanding engagements with the Keizer and Salem chambers of commerce, Gubser Elementary School Parent-Teacher Club, the Whiteaker Middle School Mom and Dad Squad, the McNary High School Graduation Party, the Distinguished Young Women of Keizer program,and the Chemeketa Community College Advisory Committee. She’s also had a guiding role in the Keizer Big Toy project and the McNary High School Turf project. 

“The list goes on and on,” said Egli. “In addition to that, she’s hosted nine exchange students and has an impeccable reputation.”

Depending on the specific group or organization, Jackson is able to provide an undercurrent of consistency in otherwise high-turnover efforts, the McNary Grad Party being one of them.

Jackson started as an employee of the business she now owns, but said her community involvement is what’s helped it grow. 

“I didn’t try to make it get bigger, it happened because I met people in the community and they would want our help, too,” Jackson said. “That’s my message as First Citizen: if you have an opportunity to give back, find a way to do it. The benefits far outweigh the few minutes you give.”

Jackson lives in Keizer with her husband, Randy. They have two sons, Nicholas and Cody. 

Juran was honored for his involvement in city- and chamber-based committees and for the Classic Homes team going the extra mile to design and build a playhouse that was auctioned off during the 2018 KeizerFEST to raise money for the Keizer Network of Women Giving Basket Program. Juran also led the recent redesign on the new Chamber of Commerce office on River Road N. 

“Thank you for this and I appreciate the chance to work here in Keizer and work with the Chamber,” said Juran in accepting the award. 

Aicher is a longtime coach of Keizer youth and was commended for always giving extra time and attention to athletes beyond his involvement in boards and committees and contributions to major projects. 

“This is a tremendous honor and an even bigger surprise. I’ve coached a lot of people who are every bit as deserving of this as I am,” Aicher said. 

Schmidgall, Shackleford’s personal choice for the President’s Award, is a driving force behind the scenes of KeizerFEST and decorating River Road North for the holidays. For more than a quarter of a century, Schmidgall has helped stage parades, erect the KeizerFEST tent and drive dignitaries along the parade route. He also mans the forklift that allows other volunteers to hang holiday ornaments from the streetlights along River Road North each year. 

Schmidgall only reluctantly took the mic after having his name called. “Very unexpected. Thank you,” he said. 

McNary students battle district foes in shoe drive

By MATT RAWLINGS

Of the Keizertimes

It can be easy for people to take things for granted in their life.

The ability to afford quality shoes, for instance, is something that a lot of people wouldn’t even give a second thought to.

Yet for others, clean and usable shoes are seen as a luxury.

Luckily, for those who are less fortunate, there are students at McNary High School that are willing to do something about it.

From February 14 to February 28, McNary will be participating in the seventh annual Shoe Battle of the Schools where schools across the Salem-Keizer area will compete to see who can collect the most shoes — with the goal of giving them to local kids that are in need.

After shoes are collected and counted, the top high school and middle school are presented trophies.

The project is put on by One Thousand Soles, which is a teen-championed shoe drive and distribution organization for homeless youth, children in-need and young athletes living in the Salem-Keizer area. It is coordinated by the City of Salem with campaigns and collections taking place all throughout the year.

One Thousand Soles was created in 2012 — in partnership with the City of Salem’s Youth Development Section — when a classroom of South Salem High School AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students invited a number of businesses and schools to host shoe collection bins to benefit their peers experiencing homelessness. 

A group of juniors in the AVID class at McNary have taken on the responsibility of collecting shoes for this competition. And for some of these students, this project holds a special meaning.

“I came from a low-income family, so shoes weren’t something we always had,” McNary AVID student Zahvia Stokes said. “Shoes are a necessity, especially for kids living on the streets because they have to walk everywhere and probably can’t afford a bus pass.”

AVID is a non-profit organization that provides professional learning for educators to improve college readiness for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

McNary’s AVID program is one of the best the state has to offer — they are one of three schools in Oregon that have been recognized as an AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction. 

Even though this is her first year at the school, it didn’t take long for McNary AVID teacher Heather Zehr to realize that her group of kids are special.

“The best part of the whole program, in my opinion, is the family camaraderie,” Zehr said. “They just have this natural gift of wanting to give back, but they also have this intrinsic ability to just take care of each other on the inside and then take care of the community on the outside, which is awesome for high schoolers.”

“It’s really special to have high school kids with that mindset.”

These AVID students are very intentional about spreading the word around the community. Not only do they make flyers and give presentations at pep assemblies, they will also engage with churches, businesses, nonprofits, local government and the general public to try and spread the word about the competition and encourage people to give.

Students are also in charge of sorting and cleaning the shoes that they receive. It’s a labor of love and something the AVID kids take great pride in.

“The shoe drive gives me a time to help out the community,” McNary AVID student Joe Alvarado said.  “We feel like that the community has given to us, so we’re happy to give back and help people that are in need.”

McNary collected more than 700 pairs during last year’s shoe drive and they hope to expand upon that number this year.

“When kids find out what we do for them, a lot of times they are just overwhelmed with emotion and joy,” Stokes said. “I just get this feeling of joy when that happens. I love helping and I love knowing that I helped provide something for these teenagers who don’t have as much as I do.”

“It’s something that keeps me going.”

If you would like to donate to this cause, there are few different locations where you can drop off pairs of sneakers — it would be preferred if the shoes were clean and have been only used minimally (providing laces and new socks to go along with the shoes would also be appreciated).

The IKE Box Cafe in Salem is the main drop off site for One Thousand Soles. Shoes can also be donated at McNary High School and the City of Salem’s Community Development Department (Third Floor, Room 305 555 Liberty St. SE 97301).

Keizertimes will be accepting shoe donations for the drive as well (142 Chemawa Rd N Keizer, OR 97303).

If you don’t have shoes to give, cash donations are also accepted and encouraged. Make checks payable to City of Salem with “1000 Soles” in the memo. 

Residents request traffic fix

By ERIC A. HOWALD

Of the Keizertimes

Residents of Adam Court Northeast and Brooks Avenue Northeast turned out en force at a meeting of the Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian Committee on Thursday, Jan. 10. 

The group requested that the committee take action to make the intersection of Adam Court, Brooks Avenue and Thorman/Manbrin avenues safer. Residents said that making a left turn out of either street onto Thorman or Manbrin represented a leap of faith. 

“I will go a mile out of my way to avoid that intersection,” said Brooks Avenue resident Deanna Gregory. 

Adam Court resident Sarah Adams said she had moved her child’s safety seat to the left side of her car to make certain her kid would be on the opposite side of a possible impact when making right turns out of her neighborhood. 

During the committee’s December meeting, member Joe Tillman put in a request for an analysis of the intersection. The area residents turned out in an effort to press the matter. 

Resident Roger Courser requested that the intersection be converted into a four-way stop – there are already stop signs on Adam and Brooks at the intersection. 

“The street makes a turn there and you cannot see the oncoming traffic,” Courser said. 

Mike Griffin, the Public Works liaison to the committee, said he’d floated the idea of a four-way stop to Public Works Director Bill Lawyer, but it was a nonstarter. 

It’s the second time in recent months the committee has been asked to address concerns in the area. Previously, other residents requested a stop to on-street parking along Manbrin. 

Committee members Kathy Lincoln and Tillman agreed to meet at the site with Keizer Public Works employees to discuss potential solutions and report back at the February meeting. 

The other major news out of the meeting was it appears as though Keizer will not be a recipient of state grants to fund Safe Routes to Schools projects in the city. 

Last year, the city put in grant requests to install curbs and sidewalks along Delight Street Northeast and in the area around Kennedy Elementary School. 

Committee member Pat Fisher attended a meeting of the group determining which projects would receive funding in December and said Keizer’s projects weren’t among the top qualifiers. 

“I found the process very different in that they weren’t talking about the merits of specific projects. They talked about the geographic distribution,” Fisher said. 

Fisher was told that all projects are still, technically, in the running, but Keizer’s projects were not on the high priority lists revealed at the December meeting.  

City faces steep climb to meet housing needs

BY ERIC A. HOWALD

Of the Keizertimes

A consultant from ECONorthwest set the stage for another conversation of Keizer growth at the first meeting of the Housing Needs and Buildable Lands Inventory Advisory Committee Monday, Jan. 14.

Bob Parker, a projector director at ECONorthwest, led a presentation and brief discussion about what committee members can expect in coming months and what Keizer is looking at in terms of housing needs. 

The big takeaway from the evening was that construction of new residences has never kept up with the city’s need and it isn’t ramping up to meet future demand. 

“We will need 3,820 dwelling units [by 2039] and an average of 191 new units per year,” said Parker. “It’s a challenging target.”

The city is projected to grow by nearly 10,000 people over the next 20 years, which pencils out to the 3,800-unit need when accounting for the average size of Keizer households. However, the population projections themselves are something of a moving target, the state is expected to issue new forecasts in 2020 and the number may shrink substantially. To date, Keizer has never been issued a population estimate separate from Salem because the two cities share an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The current figures are being used so the city can begin having conversations about if, how and where to grow. 

Without an expansion of the UGB, it means Keizer will need to shrink its stock of single-family detached housing by about nine percent and increase its single-family attached housing (e.g. townhouses and duplexes) by three percent and multifamily housing (e.g. apartments) by 6 percent, according to the ECONorthwest report. 

That task is complicated by several other factors. 

“We will have to look at redevelopment potential and that might mean trading more affordable units for less affordable ones,” Parker said. 

While such change might look good on paper in terms of higher property values, the greatest need in Keizer is for low income, very low income and extremely low income housing (the three categories comprise roughly 47 percent of the overall need). 

Parker said that the buying power of a dollar is another factor to consider.

“If buying power continues to erode, it will exacerbate the need on the lower end of the spectrum,” he said. 

According to the report, many residents are also making major trade-offs simply to have a roof over their heads in this city. About 54 percent of renters in Keizer are paying more than a third of their monthly income on rent, and 25 percent of homeowners are in the same situation when it comes to their mortgage. 

Parker said the free market alone is not likely to meet current or future housing needs, but the situation is not hopeless.

“There are lots of strategies that we will talk about during the policy discussions that can provide a map for providing safe, decent and affordable housing for all households,” he said. 

McNary loses heartbreaker at the buzzer

By MATT RAWLINGS

Of the Keizertimes

The McNary boys hoops squad led for the most of the contest, but a squandered opportunity in the final moments left the Celtics heartbroken in the end.

With the score tied at 56 with 11 seconds on the clock, McNary had possession of the ball with a chance to score the go-ahead bucket. But West Salem’s Justin Scoggin came away with a clutch steal, and then went coast-to-coast to finish a tough layup on the other end as time expired to give the Titans the 58-56 victory over McNary on Friday, Jan. 11

“It stings. Losing tough games hurt. But I couldn’t be prouder of how hard our guys played,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “We’re walking out of here with our heads held high.”

“Give credit to West Salem. They battled for 32 minutes. They are very well coached, and their players made plays when they needed to.”

Boston Smith led McNary with a game-high of 19 points and Griffin Oliveira chipped in with 12 points.

Nate Meithof added 11 points on the evening and Alfredo Villareal was also in double-digits with 10 points.

West Salem grabbed the 5-4 lead in the early-going, but five quick points from Oliveira gave the Celtics the lead back midway through the period. 

Along with being a key scorer for the Celtics, Oliveira was also given the task of face-guarding Scoggin for the entire first quarter.

“We knew that (Scoggin) was a really good player and a really good scorer for them, so it was our game-plan to face-guard him coming in,” Oliveira said.

“On the offensive end, I was just trying to take what they were giving to me. I wasn’t trying to force anything up.”

Both Meithof and Junior Walling hit a pair of foul shots late in the quarter to complete a 9-1 run, giving the Celtics a 13-6 advantage.

Despite putting the clamps on the Titans offense with their hard man-to-man defense, the Celtics started to get into foul trouble towards the end of the first quarter. So Kirch elected to move to a 2-3 zone at the beginning of the second period after Meithof and Smith each picked up their second foul.

“We were trying to extend the lead but needed to stay out of foul trouble,” Kirch said. “So I put Boston and Nate back in because I wanted to protect them for the rest of the second quarter so we could try and go to the third quarter with the lead.”

Adjustments with defense and personnel didn’t seem to effect McNary offensively in the second period. A put-back hoop from Smith, followed by a baseline fadeaway jumper from Oliveira and a three-point play by Meithof allowed McNary to stay on top 26-19.

The Celtics extended their lead to double-digits after Smith muscled in a pair of buckets deep in the paint late in the second quarter, giving the senior post 14 points for the half.

“It’s always a point-of-emphasis to get the ball inside,” Smith said. “I thought we did a good job with our spacing.”

McNary kept the momentum going to start the third quarter as a runner from Villareal and a 3-pointer from the corner by Meithof helped McNary stay on top by double-figures midway through the third period. 

But West Salem came roaring back to tie the game with a 10-0 run thanks to four second-chance buckets. 

The Titans even grabbed their first lead since the opening minutes of the first quarter moments later, but Villareal ended the third period with a floater to tie the game at 46.

Villareal then started the final quarter with a three-point play, which was followed by a jump-hook from Smith to put McNary on top 51-46. West Salem, however, came back to re-take the lead with a 6-0 run.

The back-and-forth play continued for the remainder of the period as the Celtics were able to capture the lead once again after Smith hit a tough jumper to make it 55-54.

After a defensive stop by McNary, Smith was then fouled on the other end and sent to the foul line with 1:27 to go. Smith, however, was only able to hit one of his two shots, which allowed West Salem guard Kieran Pruett to tie the game on the Titans next possession with 1:15 remaining.

Kirch wanted his team to hold for the final shot, so after stalling for just over a minute, the McNary head coach called timeout and drew up a play for Meithof.

“They were really packing the paint on Boston and I was concerned with getting him the ball in the right spot,” Kirch said. “We had turned it over three times in the last four minutes trying to enter it into (Smith). We tried to put (Meithof) in a pick and roll situation to draw his defender out and open up a driving lane.”

Meithof caught the ball on the inbounds and started to make his move. But after trying to use a screen from Smith, Meithof spun into a double-team and had the ball stolen by Scoggin, who then took off in the other direction with the intent of scoring the winning bucket.

Oliveira was the last line of defense for the Celtics, but Scoggin just got around him to put in a nifty scoop shot off the glass as the buzzer sounded, sending West Salem off to victory.

Kirch took full responsibility of what took place during the final play. 

“I need to put my players in the best position to make plays, and I didn’t do that in the final moments,” Kirch said. “That’s on me. I’m so proud of how hard our kids played, competed for each other, and represented our program.”

Despite the loss, this team is confident in their ability to pick themselves up off the mat.

“It’s just one loss. It will sting tonight, but we got each other’s backs and we’re not worried about it.”

Smith added: “We’re dealing with this loss in a positive way.”

McNary travels to McKay tonight for a 5:45 p.m. game.

Parker and Bonn reunite at Willamette

By MATT RAWLINGS

Of the Keizertimes

Isaac Parker was the head coach of the McNary High School football program from 2012 to 2014 and led the Celtics to the postseason in all three years of his tenure.

Kyle Bonn got the chance to play for Parker when he made the varsity team in 2013 as a sophomore. He then earned a starting spot on the offensive line in 2014.

“It was about more than just football, Bonn said about playing for Parker in high school. “It was about building relationships and developing character.”

“The way that (Parker) coached made us excited to compete with each other. It kept football season really exciting and he kept me looking forward to what was coming up next.”

But Bonn didn’t get the chance to have a senior year with one of his favorite coaches. In the beginning of 2015, Parker left the McNary program to take a job as an offensive line and run game coach for Lewis & Clark College.

However, after spending the last four season apart, both Bonn and Parker will have the opportunity to reunite this fall.

After having a standout season in his final year at McNary, Bonn signed with Willamette University to continue his education, as well as his football career. He played the last three seasons for the Bearcats under Glen Fowles. 

But after a 1-8 season in 2018, Fowles and and the university parted ways, leaving the head coaching position vacant.

With Parker’s success at Lewis & Clark, combined with his connection to Willamette — he played for the Bearcats from 1998 to 2001 and was a two-year team-captain — it was an easy decision for athletic director Rob Passage to offer Parker the job.

And Parker was more than happy to accept the offer. 

“We are very excited to have Isaac returning to Willamette to lead our football program,” Passage said. “Not only does he bring outstanding teaching and coaching experience, he also adds a tremendous passion for building community within the program, the university and Salem.”

Before his days at McNary, Parker was an assistant coach/offensive coordinator at South Salem High School from 2007 to 2011, so making a return to the Salem-Keizer area provoked a sense of joy in the new head coach.

“I’m really excited to be re-engaged with the (Salem-Keizer) community. I created a lot of connections in my time coaching here,” Parker said. “The only school I would have left Lewis & Clark for is Willamette.”

Parker isn’t the only one excited about his return to coaching in Marion County.

“It’s really great to get him back for that senior season that I missed out on in high school,” Bonn said. “As a team, I’m excited to see us become, not only great football players, but also a great band of brothers.”

Parker has his work cut out for him as he his taking over a program that has lost 17 of their 18 games over the last two seasons. However, he is no stranger to helping a losing program develop a winning environment. 

Lewis & Clark was coming off a winless season the year before Parker set foot on campus. The team also went through each of the 2015 and 2016 seasons without a victory. But when Parker was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2017, the program started to experience real change.

In his second game as the OC, Parker led Lewis & Clark to a 40-21 victory over Pomona-Pitzer. It was the most points the Pioneers had scored since 2014 and their first win since 2013.

Two weeks later, Lewis & Clark defeated Willamette 24-21 for the first time since 2000 to claim the Wagon Wheel traveling trophy. 

Even though the Pioneers still had losing records in 2017 and 2018, Parker played a big role in the culture shift at Lewis & Clark and hopes to do the same thing with his alma mater.

“When I played here, (Willamette) was considered a perennial contender. And I don’t believe that returning to that mindset is far off,” Parker said. 

Part of changing the culture of a program is having seniors buy in to what your are preaching, which is why having a guy like Bonn — who will be competing for a starting job on the offensive line — is crucial to help Parker get his message across to the rest of the team.

“Getting the opportunity to get that fourth year together is fun and exciting,” Parker said. When you have a culture change or a new approach to how you do things in a football program, the senior class can be a hit-or-miss, so having someone who has been in this position with me before and understands the value of his role is huge.”

“The biggest thing about Kyle is that he is a high effort guy, which will take you far no matter what. He always gave it his all, which, as a coach, that is what you need and is one of our values as a program.

Lady Celts earn hard-fought win over West Salem

By MATT RAWLINGS

Of the Keizertimes

The McNary girls basketball team faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the state this season. 

Even though they only won two of their 10 preseason contests, the tough competition prepared them for what they would face in Mountain Valley Conference play.

In a game that went down to the wire, McNary proved that they were the more battle-tested squad.

Leah Doutt led the way for McNary with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field as the Celtics pulled off the upset at West Salem on Friday, Jan. 11, defeating the Titans 42-39.

Abilgail Hawley was also in double-figures with 10 points.

“(West Salem) is really tough team that put a lot of defensive pressure on us, so I was really proud of how we stayed composed throughout the game,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “Early on in the season we weren’t winning a lot of games, but I could tell that we were getting better and now it’s coming to fruition.”

The game couldn’t have started much better for the Celtics as they began the opening period on a 7-0 run thanks to a jumper from Annie Leigh Besa, followed by a 3-pointer from Hawley. 

McNary extended their lead to 14-4 by the end of the first quarter after back-to-back hoops from Doutt and another bucket from Hawley.

“The key for us was being able to break the press and handle their defensive pressure,” Doutt said. “We were able to get around their defenders and take good shots.”

West Salem, however, came roaring back in the second quarter, going on a 14-2 run to take a 18-16 lead late in the period. 

“We kind of went cold offensively in the second quarter,” Doran said.

Mackenzie Proctor made the only shot for the Celtics in the second period, burying a mid-range jumper with less than a minute left to tie the game at 18 going into the break.

After both teams traded baskets for the majority of the third quarter, McNary started to get the slight edge when they ended the period on a 6-0 run. A runner from Doutt, paired with four straight points by Hawley, gave the Celtics a 31-26 advantage with eight minutes remaining in the game.

The Titans, though, refused to say die, trimming their deficit down to two points on multiple occasions in the final period. But in each instance, Doutt made sure to keep West Salem at arm’s length. 

The senior point guard knocked down three buckets in the fourth quarter, but her most clutch play came on defense when her team was up 37-35 with 1:10 left in the game.

West Salem had the ball and was looking to either tie or take the lead when Doutt forced a steal at the top of the key, led the Celtics on the fast break and gave a beautiful feed to Kennedy Buss, who finished the easy layup to put McNary on top 39-35 with under a minute remaining.

“My teammates did a good job of getting open and setting screens for me so I could get to the basket,” Doutt said. “

A trio of missed free throws down the stretch allowed the Titans to cut the lead to one at 40-39 with 16 seconds left of the clock. But after West Salem fouled Leigh Besa with 8.6 seconds remaining, the sophomore forward calmly stepped to the charity stripe and knocked down two shots to put her team up by three.

“I was a mess in my head, but I just stepped to the line and took deep breath and I told myself that I had this,” Leigh Besa said.

West Salem tried a desperation shot at the horn that was well contested by the McNary defense. 

The shot never had a chance and didn’t even draw iron, which sent the Celtics into celebration mode.

“It was really exciting to get that win,” Leigh Besa said. “It showed that we can compete and go up against these big teams.”

McNary goes on the road to take on McKay at 7:15 p.m.

Jerry McGee mourned

By ERIC A. HOWALD

Of the Keizertimes

UPDATE: There will not be pubic funeral services. A public memorial scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m., at Keizer City Hall.

Husband, father, friend, doctorate-level teacher, mentor, champion of disability rights, author, historian and former Keizer city councilor. Jerry McGee, who passed away Jan. 11 at the age of 85 after a battle with cancer, had more roles in his life than many would consider aspiring to, but he performed them all and collected a vast array of friends on the journey. 

David Johnson, a friend of McGee’s since they attended Washington’s Battle Ground High School, said McGee made sure anyone he encountered didn’t leave a stranger. 

“We’d go on cruises together and every time we had a meal, we had to sit with someone new so he could get to know them,” Johnson said. “He’s always tell them we’d ‘been together’ for 60 years, and then he’d get a smirk on his face.” 

McGee’s tall and lanky figure stood out in most crowds and, if there was a crowd in Keizer, McGee was probably in the thick of it. An educator to the core, he was most likely regaling whatever audience that would listen with stories of Pacific Northwest history. It was a skill he was never afraid to let shine. 

“Jerry was a walking encyclopedia of Oregon’s pioneer past,” said friend Jaqueline Lusk. “There was the time Diane [Monroe] took him on a sternwheeler cruise on the Columbia for his birthday. As the captain gave his historical presentation on the river’s history, Jerry jumped right in to the delight of the passengers, adding his own facts and amusing stories, and pointing out various historical markers. The captain, being a wise man, turned it all over to Jerry’s expertise.”

McGee was born on Oct. 3, 1933 in Battle Ground, Wash., to parents Riley and Lota McGee. His education began in a one-room schoolhouse in Battle Ground and carried him to Clark County Community College, Western Washington University and, eventually, Colorado State College where he earned his doctoral degree in education. 

After graduating from Battle Ground High School, however, McGee took a job as a chucktender during the construction of the Yale Dam near Amboy, Wash., and others throughout the area. Chucktenders were assistants to tunnel-drillers. McGee financed his education with mining work and, years later, wrote about the many characters he met in a fictionalized account titled Whiskey Riley. 

On Sept. 11, 1953, McGee married his wife of 55-years, Shirley Rolling. 

His career in teaching would lead him through many schools’ hallowed halls, but McGee was especially involved with special education students. 

McGee’s second cousin, Ed Zimmerman, who was one of McGee’s first students when he returned to teach at Battle Ground High School, said he only realized how important the special needs students were to McGee in retrospect. 

“He had a ‘different’ student sit in our class a couple of hours each day,” Zimmerman said. 

Zimmerman also credited McGee, a life-long baseball fan and collegiate-level player, for instilling in him a love of baseball. 

“He coached our ninth grade baseball team and a North County community team. He taught us the fundamentals of ‘little ball.’ If one reads Jerry’s book The Lewis River High Scalers and the Dam Kids you will get insights into his baseball philosophy,” Zimmerman said. 

McGee’s teaching career eventually led him to take on advocacy roles within state government pushing for more equal treatment in classrooms and under the law more broadly. His presence in those discussions led him to a 10-year stint as executive director of the Salem’s Fairview State Hospital. 

He retired in the mid-1980s, but, by then, McGee was a regular presence at meetings of the then-new Keizer City Council. McGee was already a past president of the Rotary Club of Keizer, but he was about to step into a much larger arena of community involvement. 

“Jerry steadfastly stood up for his vision for the city and always felt free to share it with the council,” said former city councilor Chet Patterson. 

Former councilor Phil Bay said there were some evenings when McGee asked him to pick up Shirley so she could be there in his stead. 

“He didn’t want to miss anything,” Bay said.

He developed a reputation as a budget hawk during the meetings simply through attendance, but soon his needling pushed sitting officials to the brink. Then-Mayor Bob Newton and Bay told him it was time to put up or shut up.

“One day, I said he should get involved. And he said, ‘By golly, I think I will,’” Bay said. 

McGee was elected to the Keizer City Council in 1991 and served until 2003, he is the longest-serving city councilor to date.

Despite his reputation as a staunch conservative and, at times, exhausting penny counter, the thing most fellow councilors recalled was McGee’s capacity for grace. 

Patterson, who had left the council for a time, returned during McGee’s stint. 

“There again I saw his devotion to Keizer and all things Keizer. While we were not always on the same page on any given issue. Jerry was always very gracious in accepting the vote of the council and then moving on,” Patterson said.

McGee’s time on the council included the most epic council meeting to date, a barn-burner that extended to the wee hours of the morning as the council debated on whether to bring a baseball team to town. 

For the baseball fan in McGee, it must have been a wrenching moment, but he never failed to surprise when he ended up on the losing end of a battle. 

“Jerry opposed the stadium project but was never too proud to admit that the Stadium was very good for Keizer and he was glad he lost that argument,” said Volcanoes’ owner Jerry Walker.  At his retirement from the council, Walker and his wife, Lisa, presented McGee with an official team jacket. 

Former councilor Richard Walsh said McGee taught him the difference between a politician and a statesman, adding that McGee was the epitome of the latter. 

“Jerry taught me that a statesman uses his political power and resources to effectuate positive policies while maintaining relationships. Politicians are concerned with how a policy will affect themselves while a statesman only worries about how the policy will affect others. Jerry was a statesman in all these respects and more,” Walsh said. 

Walsh also got to know McGee as an educator. 

“He took the Boy Scouts from Troop 121 on a trip to his gold mine and taught us all how to prospect for gold,” Walsh said. When
McGee departed the council he gave the sitting councilors a rock from his mine with grains of gold in it “a reminder to always look at the bright spots in every situation and to see value in things that appeared worthless,” Walsh said. 

His lengthy time on the council, also gave him the opportunity to mentor one of the city’s upcoming mayors, Lore Christopher. Christopher’s name was drawn from a bucket when the sitting councilors deadlocked 3-3 to fill a vacant seat. McGee supported Christopher’s opponent, and Christopher wasn’t certain what kind of working relationship would come of the circumstances. 

“The person I feared the most was Councilor McGee, and I even stated that I thought I would never be able to work with him. Councilor McGee turned out to be my closest confidant and mentor,” Christopher said. “This was his nature. Councilor McGee valued every relationship and he worked to maintain and nurture close relationships. For years, I watched Councilor McGee thoughtfully listen and respectfully debate many individuals that he was on the opposite side of an issue with, yet all of those individuals felt supported and listened to.”

During his time as a councilor, McGee sowed the seeds of his next act, Keizer’s unofficial historian. He helped establish the Keizer Points of Interest Committee which has been marking historical sites through the city for almost two decades. Passion projects for McGee included marking the spot where the 45th Parallel crosses River Road North, a spot at the corner of River Road and Chemawa Road that represents the donation land claim of Thomas Dove Keizur, and a statue of Keizur himself outside the Keizer Civic Center. McGee was a regular visitor to Keizer classrooms where he dressed in character as Keizur to deliver enthralling history lessons, and he wrote about the Keizur family’s wagon train trip to the Willamette Valley in a historical novel titled It’s a Long Way to Oregon

On news of McGee’s death and Walsh’s recollection about the gold-veined rocks, Christopher said she found herself reaching for the rock McGee gifted to her and found it alongside inscribed copies of his numerous self-published books. 

“I love reading his books because I knew him so well that I can hear his voice as I read his words. It is a comfort now that we will always have him speaking to us through his books,” Christopher said. 

McGee was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, sons Shawn and Shannon McGee, and sister Shirley Olson. 

He is survived by son Marty McGee; daughters Tammy McGee, Cathy Jordan and  Wendy Hunt; grandchildren Wes Jordan, Brianna Hunt and Ian Hunt; and longtime friend Diane Monroe.