Month: August 2012

RIVERfair arrives Aug. 11

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes The fifth annual RIVERfair will be held on Saturday, August 11 at Keizer Rapids Park. This year’s event adds a historical element as it plays host to a bicentennial celebration of Keizer’s historic Wallace House. The one-day festival will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; admission is free. Staged by the Making Keizer Better Foundation, RIVERfair will feature vendor booths, live entertainment, a beer and wine garden, a 5K walk, a nature walk through the park, a disc golf tournament and other activities for all ages. An off-site element of the festival is the RIVERfair Cruz-In, a car show that will held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Schoolhouse Square parking lot at the corner of River and Chemawa Roads. The Keizer Points of Interest Committee along with the Wallace House Task Force will host information and activities about Wallace House. Events will include a mountain man/wilderness woman costume contest at 5:30 p.m. In 1812 fur traders from Fort Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, established the first European settlement in the Willamette Valley. Known both as Wallace House and Fort Wallace, the settlement was used to trade goods for animal pelts with local native tribes. The house was located on a bluff overlook- ing the Willamette River in what is now southeast Keizer. Gilgamesh Brewing Company will...

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Machinists, mechanics needed in local businesses, says survey

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Local employers are having trouble finding qualified machinists and mechanics to build and repair equipment, a survey of area businesses shows. Nearly one-third of fabricated metal manufacturers in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties told the Oregon Employment Department that they were struggling to find qualified workers in 2011. The results, released this month in a report called “What Employers Need,” said hands-on skills and experience were becoming difficult to find for many employers. Workers skilled in machine use are among the most valued, according to the report. That statement bears out at G&S Machine on Cherry Avenue, which does general repair – “you break it, we fix it kind of a deal,” according to company president Mike Gatchet. “Manual machinists are getting to be a dinosaur,” Gatchet said. “They’re hard to find. Everyone’s teaching them in school how to program and run off a computer. It’s hurting the industry.” When it comes to that line of work, Gatchet said, there’s simply no substitute for experience. “A lot of it is common sense – someone who can think outside the dots as far as getting something fixed in a reasonable amount of time and being able to put it back together without costing myself and the customer a lot of money,” Gatchet said. “… You’re not going to learn that anywhere other than inside...

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