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2B Wednesday, November 8, 2017 Appeal Tribune
Aumsville asks residents for input on
police fee to preserve safe-city status
SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL
USA TODAY NETWORK
The city of Aumsville is seeking input from resi-
dents as it mulls a police-service fee.
A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for the
next Aumsville City Council meeting, 7 p.m. Monday,
Nov. 13, at the Community Center, 555 Main St.
Police Chief Richard Schmitz outlined the fee re-
cently, providing two rough options for what would be a
flat, per-household charge. He said one option, $.20 per
day or $1.40 per week would maintain the city’s police
services for the next five years. A second option of $.40
per day or $2.80 a week would enable the city to in-
crease services, from the current 6 officers to 7.
City Administrator Ron Harding said depending on
the option selected, the fee could generate an estimated
$66,000 to $132,000 per year.
The idea actually surfaced within a good-news / bad-
news scenario: the good news came through a SafeWise
report issued in mid-October acknowledging Aums-
ville as the 4th safest city in Oregon; the bad news is the
city’s “forecast model” indicates that projected city
budgets will not sustain the city’s current level of police
Other Mid-Willamette Valley cities on the SafeWise
list include: Mt. Angel, 6th; Silverton, 10th; Keizer, 13th;
Monmouth, 14th; Dallas, 18th.
Aumsville’s dilemma stems from finding a way to
maintain its safety status near the top, and a police-fee
seemed the most feasible approach.
“Basically (the idea) started with us evaluating sus-
tainability of expenses for providing police coverage
throughout the city,” Harding said. “A comprehensive
analysis of police funding showed us that in order to
maintain services at the level where they are, we just
didn’t have enough money; they will go into the red next
Harding said a number of options have been ex-
plored, including reducing police staff or, as some com-
munities have, contracting with the county sheriff’s of-
fice. Either way, he said, service would be reduced.
One key factor in the city’s consideration has been
community feedback, specifically that residents have
expressed the desire to maintain a comprehensive po-
lice force, and for that police force to be maintained lo-
But the budget forecast doesn’t pencil out.
“Our tax structure, the way set up, doesn’t keep up
with inflation or the rising cost of providing services,”
“With tax dollars shrinking, and inflation (affecting)
the cost of running the city, we are just outpacing our-
selves,” Schmitz agreed. “We have to find some sort of
revenue to sustain our police force or be absorbed by
The chief stressed that numbers make a difference,
and the SafeWise report bears that out. He said two
years ago Aumsville registered 21st on the list. About
that time the city added one officer, bringing its full-
time staff up to six, including Schmitz, along with an
allotment for 10 reserves (7 reserve positions are cur-
The city’s SafeWise position subsequently jumped 8
positions, improving to 13th a year ago, before climbing
to its current status.
“They do make a difference,” Schmitz said. “With a
staff of six of us, most of the time there’s one officer on
duty. By the time we factor in vacations, training or sick
days, things of that nature, we’re struggling to maintain
24-hour coverage. If everybody is here, nobody’s out
sick or on vacation…We have 24-hour coverage.”
Schmitz said factoring in all the personnel-depleting
dynamics, roughly 10 percent of the time yearly the de-
partment doesn’t have officer coverage. The higher
end of the proposed fee, $.40 per-day per household,
would erase that 10 percent.
The police-service fee is not unique to Aumsville.
Schmitz and Harding both said they researched other
jurisdictions that have implemented similar fees,
which are generally itemized separately but paid with
the utility bill.
Keizer City Council approved a police fee last sum-
mer, and it was implemented just this month. That
council also weighed the issue on a flat-fee basis,
though it made some adjustments.
City of Keizer website noted that as of November
2017, it’s “Police and Parks Services Fee” will be added
to city services bills, charging single-family residential
and non-residential locations $8 per month; multi-fam-
ily dwellings $6.90 per month.
Turner also implemented a police fee years ago, but
it’s been adjusted over time to reflect the economic cli-
“Our fee history is up and down,” Turner City Ad-
ministrator David Sawyer said. “We implemented the
fee back in 2008 to fund the 3rd officer position (the
city) could no longer afford.
“When the recession happened, we had to make cuts
Aumsville City Council will hear public testimony regarding a
police-service fee during its 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, meeting
at Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center, 555 Main St.,
Aumsville. JUSTIN MUCH | STAYTON MAIL
across the board as well as change our fees. That officer
got cut and the fee went from $9 a month to just $1.We
have kept it to provide the ongoing legal basis for future
Silverton Police Chief Jeff Fossholm said his depart-
ment has been fortunate enough to not have to explore a
service fee. Stayton Police Chief Rich Sebens echoed
“Since I’ve been here as police chief, we have not
looked into a police service fee, so I don’t know how it
would impact us at this time,” Sebens said.
Schmitz said another funding option Aumsville ex-
amined was placing a levy before voters. But stability
concerns steered them away from that idea.
“The problem with a levy is every five years you
have to go out with a bond to get it passed,” he said. “A
service fee provides for more stability.”
Harding said the city has already received some in-
put on the idea from residents and welcomes more.
That input will be delivered to the city council prior to
its Nov. 13 meeting. The council will also take testimony
at that meeting, but any decision about implementing a
fee won’t be made until December at the earliest.
“We’ll summarize those (testimonies) we’ve re-
ceived,” Harding said. “The city accepts written testi-
mony and comments from the public; (residents) can
email it to someone at the city or come into the counter
with something written or mail it.”
jmuch@StatesmanJournal.com or cell 503-508-8157
or follow at twitter.com/justinmuch
Detective solves 1979 cold case murder of woman
SALEM STATESMAN JOURNAL
USA TODAY NETWORK
More than 38 years after Janie Landers was brutally
stabbed and beaten to death, an Oregon State Police de-
tective was finally able to return a pair of earrings to
her family and deliver the news they'd long waited to
hear: He knew who killed the 18-year-old Salem woman.
"I'm really grateful and relieved that it's done," said
Landers' sisterJoyce Hooper. "She can be totally at
peace now because her case is solved."
Landers was a patient at Fairview Training Center
when she went missing March 9, 1979. Functioning at
the level of an 8-year-old, Landers struggled with learn-
ing challenges and behavioral issues that led to her resi-
dency at the now-closed state-run facility in Salem.
Although some suspected Landers voluntarily
walked away from the center, police still investigated
her disappearance and spoke with the four employees
who last saw Landers alive.
They had spotted an unfamiliar man in the area and
his yellow or gold-colored vehicle. According to one
witness, a large, pot-bellied man parked his car and
crossed the street to talk to Landers.
The four witnesses worked with a Statesman Jour-
nal employee, who drew a composite sketch of the man.
Five days after her disappearance, Landers' body
was found along a path near Silver Falls State Park.
An autopsy revealed she died from blunt force trau-
ma to the head. She had multiple defensive wounds and
deep cuts on her neck. An examination of her stomach
contents led investigators to believe she died the day of
Investigation hit dead ends
Oregon State Police investigated and eliminated
several suspects while chasing down leads. But with lit-
tle physical evidence, the case remained unsolved and
soon turned "cold."
Hooper was just 13 when her sister was killed. She
doggedly followed the investigation and urged detec-
tives to reopen the case.
Every few years, the investigation would be revived.
Witnesses were re-interviewed, crime scene photos
were re-examined and investigators would flip through
stacks of police reports.
A clear suspect or theory of why Landers was killed
Fast forward to March 2015, when Hooper again
asked Oregon State Police to resurrect the investiga-
tion. She was 50; her father 82. She hoped to find justice
for her sister while her father was still alive.
The case landed with OSP Detective Steve Hinkle,
who began poring over hundreds of pages of police re-
ports. He spoke with previous investigators and con-
tacted any witnesses who were still alive.
At 5-feet-1-inch tall and 105 pounds, Landers was pet-
ite, but had a reputation for being feisty and unexpect-
Due to the nature of the brutal attack, Hinkle sus-
pected her killer may have been injured during the
"Janie clearly fought for her life," investigators had
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Above: Composite sketches of the suspect, Gerald Kenneth
Dunlap, below. MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Janie Landers MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
The wounds were likely caused by a knife without a
hilt, meaning her killer may have cut his hand while
handling the weapon.
State police crime lab forensic scientists and detec-
tives re-examined Landers' shirt and were able to find
sections that might contain her killer's DNA. In April
2016, the crime lab confirmed a blood stain on the shirt
matched a man's DNA.
Investigators soon discovered not only the man's
identity — Gerald Kenneth Dunlap — but also his vio-
lent and predatory criminal past.
He had been convicted of raping a woman during an
armed robbery in Tennessee in 1961 and sentenced to
life in prison. He was paroled 12 years later.
Dunlap first moved to California where he was
forced to register as a sex offender, then to Oregon,
which at the time had no requirement for sex offender
He married and soon found employment — at the
Fairview Training Center.
Dunlap had not previously been identified as a sus-
pect in Landers' murder. He worked as a laundry em-
ployee at the center until 1983, when he was fired for
inappropriate behavior toward women.
District attorney's officials said at the time of Dun-
lap's hiring, nationwide criminal records were not reli-
able or common. Dunlap's coworkers likely would not
have known about his violent past unless he'd self-re-
In 1996, Dunlap was arrested for sexually abusing a
minor female family member. Then-Deputy District
Attorney Walt Beglau prosecuted Dunlap, who was
found guilty by a Marion County jury and sentenced to
He died there in January 2002.
But because he was convicted of a felony sex crime,
Dunlap had been required to submit his DNA, which
was still on file.
Detective wanted to be sure
The DNA match made Dunlap a strong suspect,
prosecutors said, but Hinkle kept working to cement
the connection and close the case.
Because Fairview closed in 2000, employee records
were difficult to track down. The detective was able to
find payroll records confirming that Dunlap was work-
ing at the training center the day Landers disappeared.
His job sorting laundry prior to washing made it
highly improbable that his DNA could have transferred
accidentally onto Landers' clothing and survived the
Tracking down old photos of Dunlap also proved dif-
ficult. The Tennessee Department of Corrections pro-
vided detectives with two mugshots of Dunlap taken
right before he was paroled. When the detectives com-
pared the photos with the 1979 composite sketch, the re-
semblance was clear, prosecutors said.
Two of the four witnesses who saw Landers' the day
she disappeared were still alive and able to help with a
Both witnesses picked the photo of Dunlap out of
five other similar-looking men. Although they weren't
100 percent certain, they noted that he looked like a man
they saw talking to Landers before she went missing.
Dunlap's former co-workers recalled that he would
often leave work early, loiter near the bus stop near
Fairview and offer patients rides.
Dunlap's widow and step-son said he drove a car sim-
ilar to the one seen by witnesses the day Landers was
killed. His step-son also said he and Dunlap hiked in the
Silver Creek Falls area where Landers' body was found.
With the case assigned to Marion County Deputy
District Attorney Paige Clarkson, prosecutors re-
viewed the reports and evidence.
They determined Dunlap was solely responsible for
Prosecutors theorized that her small stature made
her "the perfect target for a sexual predator like Gerald
They added that Dunlap, then 43, likely offered
Landers a ride then threatened her with a knife and at-
tempted to sexually assault her.
"Janie's unexpected level of strength and resistance,
however, would have both surprised and frustrated
Dunlap who resorted to killing her when his sexual at-
tack was thwarted," prosecutors said.
Dunlap's 5-feet-10-inch, 190-pound and murderous
rage ultimately overpowered his victim. He stabbed
Landers repeatedly and beat her to death.
Had he been alive today, he would be charged with
murder, Clarkson said.
She said the case never would've been solved with-
out the "persistence of a little sister who never forgot,"
the dedicated work of detective and the courage of the
1996 victim to report her abuser and endure the trial.
"It is because of her that Dunlap could never hurt
anyone again and, most importantly for this case, his
DNA was on file," Clarkson said.
On Monday, Hinkle was able to return Landers' be-
longings to her family. He presented Hooper, now 52,
and her father Richard Landers, 84, with a pair of ear-
rings and two small hair ties.
"It's not much. But it represents the end to this case,"
Hinkle said. "We're grateful we could do this for Janie.
We're hopeful her family can find closure to this horrif-
ic chapter of their lives."
For questions, comments and news tips, email re-
porter Whitney Woodworth at wmwoodwort@states-
manjournal.com, call 503-399-6884 or follow on Twitter