Month: March 2016

Chainsaw artist talks to KPAC

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Is David Hillesland the Tree Whisperer? Last month the chainsaw artist from Lyons was driving past the Keizer Civic Center when he saw the two bare trees, which are scheduled to be decorated as story poles next year as envisioned by members of the Keizer Public Arts Commission. “Those two stumps were yelling at me,” Hillesland told KPAC members at their meeting on Tuesday. As she did last month, KPAC member Lore Christopher took credit for the trees still being up. “You have me to thank, David,” Christopher said. “I had to fight my limbs for that.” Hillesland said he gave up a banking job seven years ago during the throes of the recession and started whittling on wood. Then he ran into a chainsaw artist, who showed him how to do art with wood. Thus began a new business, All Natural Edge Designs. “I do work based on scale and budget,” Hillesland said. As one example, Hillesland recently carved a piece for an agency in Eugene with 1.5 children in a tree, with that number selected because that fit the agency’s budget. Hillesland said he can provide detailed blueprints for his work and knows how to both prepare wood for work and how to make it last, which can include annual touch-up work. “I have a track record for providing work on...

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New regulations discussed at luncheon

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Stand together, be creative and brace for more. Those were three of the main messages shared during last week’s Keizer Chamber of Commerce luncheon forum, which was focused on surviving government mandates. The timing wasn’t surprising, given recent action by the Oregon Legislature to increase the minimum wage in the years to come. Other recent mandates such as mandatory paid sick leave and mandatory heath care were also discussed. Jason Brandt, CEO of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, referred to the three items as “a three-headed monster” and noted the fines on companies for not providing health insurance. “They’re all happening at once,” Brandt said. “None of us will have silver bullet solutions for you. The ones who are the most creative are the ones that will survive and thrive.” Brandt noted a group that had threatened to put the issue on the November ballot backed off following the actions of the legislature. “The state is preempting any local government from passing laws on the topic,” Brandt said. “They also retained the ability to change the plan in future sessions. We need to gather stories of how these minimum wage increases impact businesses.” Though it ultimately wasn’t effective, Brandt praised business supporters for protesting the wage hike. “I’m impressed by how you people mobilized,” he said. “We had 20 percent people more...

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Second homeless meeting in Keizer on March 29

The new Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative needed a new home. The first meeting of the task force last month was held in a meeting room at the Salem Public Library, but a crowd of more than 100 people filled the room beyond capacity. As such, the second meeting will be held next Tuesday, March 29 in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center, located at 930 Chemawa Road NE. The public meeting is scheduled to go from 4 to 6 p.m. Future meetings will also be held at the location. “We were so pleased by the overwhelming response to our first meeting,” said Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, one of the task force co-chairs. “Clearly our broader community cares deeply, as we do, about connecting people with critical services and, of course, housing resources.” Task force agenda items include presentations and discussion regarding affordable housing and strategic planning. Time is also set aside for public comment. Written feedback may be submitted in advance to hparekh@co.marion.or.us by noon on March 29. The Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative has launched a website to share information and chronicle task force progress. The website features meeting dates, agendas and minutes, meeting materials, key documents, news articles, as well as related links and staff contact information. The address is homelesstaskforce.net. “We are excited to offer a website where people can quickly find information about the task force,” said Marion...

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Koho returns to council

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes There weren’t a whole lot of people at Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting. Councilor Amy Ryan and youth councilor Siri Scales were absent, while Brandon Smith’s former seat is still vacant. City attorney Shannon Johnson and Public Works director Bill Lawyer were absent, as was police chief John Teague. Only three audience members were present, in addition to a Keizertimes reporter. All of which made Dennis Koho’s presence that much more surprising. Less than two weeks after being released from the hospital following a Feb. 6 heart attack (see last week’s issue for more details), Koho was slowly easing back into a normal routine. At the previous council meeting on March 7, councilors approved a month-long leave of absence for Koho. And yet, there was the council president, seated between fellow councilors Roland Herrera and Marlene Parsons. Mayor Cathy Clark welcomed Koho back to the dais three times, with the former mayor getting a round of applause the first time. Before the meeting, councilor Roland Herrera took a selfie – after all, this is 2016 – with Koho. Later in the meeting, councilors gave an update on recent meetings or events they have attended. Koho’s well-known humor came through. “I could tell you all about the hospital and rehab center,” Koho said. “You don’t want to go to the rehab center if you...

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