Day: July 11, 2014

Reenacting the Civil War

By DEE MOORE For the Keizertimes Cannon fire mingled with smoke and the cries of wounded and dying men over the Fourth of July weekend while spectators gasped and cheered the spectacle at Willamette Mission State Park north of Keizer. The park was the scene of the annual Civil War reenactment held by the Northwest Civil War Council. For many, these reenactments are a way to get in touch with America’s history, but for some, such as Matt Cleman of Bend, it is a way to reconnect with their family heritage. Cleman is a man with one foot in the past and one foot in the present. He was raised on tales of heroism and sacrifice. The son of a Southern woman, Cleman and his younger brother were told stories of his ancestor’s exploits in the Civil War. Cleman had relatives who served in both the Union and Confederate Armies; for his family, it was a brother against brother saga. “I have Southern roots, through my mother, who was from the state of Arkansas.  She was a highly-intelligent and unfailingly-kind woman,” Cleman said. His mother was proud of her heritage and wanted her children to be proud as well. “She was expressing a pride in the valor of the Southern people in the time of the Civil War. “Now, to be absolutely clear, we were taught, firmly and clearly,...

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Spreading word about the Big Toy

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Construction of the Big Toy play structure at Keizer Rapids Park is still 11 months away. However, project officials are doing their best to keep the project in the public eye. For example, there will be a booth at this week’s Marion County Fair with information about the project. The fair started Thursday in Salem and continues through Sunday. A similar booth will be set up at the Aug. 9 RIVERfair, being held at KRP. While that is going on, a new website for the project continues to be worked on. During the July 1 Community Build Task Force meeting, Big Toy general coordinator Mark Caillier noted a lack of response to his e-mail asking for volunteers during the fair. “We will still have a presence,” Caillier said. “We will have banners, pickets and volunteer sign-ups. We’ll have all the stuff there. This is a chance to be in touch with 30,000 folks and to let them see what the Big Toy is all about.” Richard Walsh, co-chair of the fundraising committee, didn’t recall seeing the e-mail asking for volunteers but was eager to help out. “Let me know which times are needed,” Walsh said. “I don’t mind the higher traffic times. I actually prefer it.” Marlene Quinn, chair of the task force, noted a booth will be at RIVERfair next month. “I...

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Cyclocross events get the green flag at KRP in August

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes On a night billed as a chance to look at future amenities for Keizer Rapids Park, an event for next month moved forward. Jarod Seaman from Half Penny Cycling in Salem spoke at the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Tuesday for a second time, having also spoken to the board last month. Seaman has proposed using a 1.5 mile course through the wooded section of KRP for a series of three events on three consecutive Monday nights in August. The course is a mixture of pavement, gravel, grass, barriers and features a wooden staircase participants must climb with the bikes. The Keizer Rapids Cross Twilight CX Series will start at 5:45 p.m. Aug. 11, 18 and 25. Racing would wrap up around 7:30 p.m. each night. “Everything is going well,” Seaman said of getting details put together. “Everything is on the calendar for the race.” Seaman noted he talked with Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, about the logistics of the event. He also indicated the Keizer CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) will be helping with parking. Board member Richard Walsh asked what will be done to make sure children don’t wander onto the course during an event. “It will be flagged off,” Seaman said. “We will use a small portion of the paved trails, but mostly the dirt trails....

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Chemawa project resumes

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes The race is on. The Chemawa Road reconstruction project finally got restarted this week. The $3.5 million Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) project was supposed to resume in the spring, but more issues with utilities – the same problem that prevented the project from being done last year – pushed things back again. With the contractor back at work, the big question is whether the job will be done by the time the new school year at McNary High School starts on Sept. 2. As mentioned in past issues of the Keizertimes, one of the main parts involves new turn lanes and a traffic light at the intersection of Chemawa Road and Celtic Way, the road where MHS is located. “Our goal right now is to get the project finished this construction season,” said Lou Torres, public affairs specialist for ODOT. “It could go into October, but our goal is to get done by the end of September. We would like to get (the part by McNary) done by the time the school year starts, but there is no guarantee.” Until last week, it wasn’t known when the project would be restarted. Shane Ottosen, the ODOT project manager, told the Keizertimes on July 2 there was a “real good chance” the project would get restarted this week. “It will be going through this...

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Think twice on cow pasture

People are passionate about green, open spaces, especially in an urban setting. That passion was on display at a hearing in June about zoning and other changes at private property many affectionately call ‘the cow pasture.’ The property sits on the west side of Verda Lane between Chemawa Road and Dearborn Avenue. It has been a family farm for decades and the heirs don’t want to continue the operation; they are seeking the zone changes to prepare a sale of the property. More than 100 people packed the city council chambers on  June 12, a majority of those who testified before Hearings Officer Cynthia Domas were against development of the property. A proposal calls for more than 100 apartments in several three-story buildings. An argument made against a development that size was the increased traffic in a corridor that is already failing according to traffic studies. A roundabout at Verda and Chemawa is to address that issue. The city should listen to the people, take a step back and consider what could be lost forever if that property is developed into a large residential complex. The property’s owners desire to sell is a rare opportunity for the city to reshape the core of Keizer and preserve a large greenspace that can be enjoyed by thousands of households for years to come. San Diego has Balboa Park, Chicago has Grant...

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