To the Editor:
On Oct. 12, I attended a meeting at McNary High School regarding parking and traffic issues on Newberg Drive.
The meeting was hosted by McNary Principal Erik Jespersen and Salem Keizer Public Schools Chief Operations Officer Michael Wolfe. Each of these individuals stated that they were concerned about the safety of students arriving at McNary High School, and wanted to stress that keeping the gate open to MacArthur Street was allowing a safe entrance. All the individuals that attended the meeting stated that this is not correct, and leaving the gate open to MacArthur is unsafe. Newberg Drive has no sidewalks or street lights for the safety of the students walking to school, whereas Celtic Way and Dice Lane both have sidewalks with street lights providing a safer entrance for the students.
They then claimed that the students that live on Newberg would have to walk that much further to get around to these streets, which is also not true. There is only one student that lives on Newberg Drive, and his parents agree that the entrance on MacArthur is unsafe with all the cars driving in and out of the school parking lot. They prefer their student walks around, and he always has. The fact is, leaving the gate open on MacArthur is creating an unsafe environment to the students that are walking in the street on Newberg without proper lighting, and subjecting them to possibly being hit by a car some morning. There are also cars driving on Newberg to drop their kids off at the corner of Newberg and MacArthur that are making the situation even more unsafe. Does a child have to get hit by a car and possibly killed before the Salem Keizer School District stands up to take notice of this unsafe situation? Several people have signed a petition and attended Salem Keizer School District meetings, and Keizer City Council meetings to address this issue of unsafe habits caused by the gate being left unlocked, only to be ignored and told that the entrance is safe. Even Chief of Police John Teague will not send an officer to the neighborhood as the traffic congestion is too obstructive. Please feel free to sit anywhere in the vicinity of MacArthur and Newberg and see for yourself how unsafe this has become. When talking with Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, she states that the city is trying to get the residents of Newberg Drive to pay for street lights and sidewalks on Newberg. Why should the neighborhood have to pay for this if the school wants to provide safety for the students to use the MacArthur gate? Why doesn’t the school district pay for it?