Of the Keizertimes

While some aspects of The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park project are still undecided, other parts are being nailed down.

In particular, there seems to be little worry of who can help direct the nailing down of the playground.

That was evident during the most recent Community Build Task Force (CBTF) meeting as construction captains for the Sept. 17 to 21 build were talked about.

City councilor Marlene Quinn, chair of the CBTF, asked Randy Cook if he had ideas for people who could be utilized as construction captains.

“I have contractor friends I told last year would be involved with this,” Cook said.

Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, mentioned the recommendation from project consultant Leathers and Associates.

“We need 10 construction captains, every day for five days,” Lawyer said. “They don’t have to be carpenters. Those positions are more leaders and coordinators during the actual build. They need to get those materials over there, as opposed to the actual construction.”

Cook said he’s recruiting other people to help, including a former business partner.

“He worked on the Gilbert House project,” Cook said. “He’s pretty familiar with that chaotic atmosphere, so maybe he can help coordinate these guys.”

Clint Holland mentioned Rich Duncan of Rich Duncan Construction, a key person in the Extreme Makeover project in Salem back in 2010.

“He might be able to get five crews by himself,” Holland said.

Quinn agreed Duncan would be a great person to have on board.

“Rich Duncan ran the shifts at the Extreme Makeover build,” she said. “He can organize those shifts.”

Holland said Duncan and Randy Miller both indicated to him a willingness to help out.

“They have guys that are capable of doing it,” Holland said. “Just don’t get in their way when they get started. They will do it the right way.”

Lawyer gave a word of caution to Holland.

“Make sure they understand they are not the doers,” Lawyer said. “They are the leaders, who show others what to do. You will have 200 people show up. When these guys have their crews, let’s make sure we don’t have the others just standing there. If they are construction captains, they are not necessarily the doers.”

Carolyn Ream noted one way to keep interest in the project high in the schools is to have a visual reminder of what it will look like.

“If you can sell it to the elementary and middle school kids, there is your area,” Ream said.

Quinn acknowledged requests from schools.

“Schools have asked for a physical drawing of what (the project) looks like,” she said.

Ream said schools have areas where the designs could be put up. Lawyer said he could print large drawings to put in each school.

“I can print nine of them,” Lawyer said. “Plus I can put one at city hall. Let’s make it an even 10!”

As has been the case lately in discussing The Big Toy, where to put it was debated once more.

During public comment time at the start of the meeting, several questioned the site along Chemawa Road favored by mayor Lore Christopher, which would require expansion of the city’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

Holland, long a champion of what’s now known as Site 1, explained his rationale.

“I made an effort last year to go down there twice a week to get a feel for the wind, how the sun sets, how everything works there,” Holland said. “I’m not opposed to the site Lore wants. But it’s my second choice. (Site 1) is so much better. (By the road), you’d be out there when the filberts are picked. They do that for several weeks and they do a couple of sprayings a year. It’s the same with the orchard across the way. Dust just blows in there.”

Quinn noted councilors the night before had set Sept. 17 to 21 as construction dates.

“Option 4 is not part of the UGB yet,” Quinn said of the site favored by the mayor. “The city was directed by council to put it into the UGB. Will it be in the UGB by September 17? Who knows. The only way this project can be delayed at this point is funding. This project is going to happen. Council did vote to move forward as planned with that date. We’re full speed ahead. I think we’re good to go.”