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Day: April 3, 2012

Egli says he’s running for mayor

Joe Egli

Of the Keizertimes 

Keizer City Councilor Joe Egli announced this week he’s running for mayor.

Egli said he’d made up his mind prior to Mayor Lore Christopher’s announcement last week that she would seek a seventh mayoral term. Egli was elected to his first term in 2010.

But Egli, a 45-year-old insurance agent, said that didn’t change his mind.

“Our public is not happy with what we’re doing right now,” Egli said. Egli praised the job Christopher has done, but said it’s about what he can offer the community.

“We’re on the golf course, and I’m playing my own ball – that’s how I’m going to run my campaign,” Egli said.

He said he wants to build bridges between the public, elected officials and city staff. While he praised the work of the city’s hired staff, he feels councilors don’t spend enough time hearing from the public.

Raised in Aurora, he started working in Keizer at age 14 for Gordy Hagglund with H&B Painting –  “a good business for a young guy making some money during the summer.”

So good, in fact, that he spent 15 years working for Hagglund after his graduation from North Marion High School.

“I learned about teamwork, partnership and responsibility,” Egli said. “Doing the right thing for the customer will pay off in the long run – every single time. It hurts a little in the short run.”

After that he opened Egli Painting in 1997. He moved to Keizer the year before, joined the Rotary Club and later the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. And he found that, incidentally, business picked up as he invested more time in the community.

Egli was elected to the chamber’s board and later became its president. He’s also a former Rotary Club president. While on the Chamber board he led its urban growth boundary discussions, which ended up with a recommendation to expand the city when possible.

Replacing Richard Walsh on the city council, it didn’t take long for Egli to end up crossways with Christopher and other councilors. He opposed City Manager Chris Eppley’s proposal that the urban renewal district should pay for a Keizer Station co-developer’s outstanding bond debt.

Egli acknowledged at the time that using the city’s general fund to pay down that bond debt would put a pinch on city resources. But he felt the train had left the station by the time he proposed an alternate plan.

“The extension was presented to us as our only option,” Egli said. “… We listened to public testimony, but the decision was already made.”

At times he felt the implication was he was wrong just for deviating outside the norm.

“Everybody has a position, and just because their position is different doesn’t mean they’re wrong,” Egli said.

He was fresh to the council when the group opted not to seek an emergency services fee on cell phones. A series of town halls were designed to refresh ties between the council and the public was not as successful as Egli would have liked.

He feels that, between email and individual discussions between councilors and staff, issues continued to be debated and decided largely behind the scenes.

“Crossing that line is easy to do when you’re merely asking questions that can turn into statements of position,” Egli said. “… I’d like to see those emails posted on a blog at the end of the discussion. But more importantly, I’d like to have those discussions in front of the cameras during meetings.”

Restaurant, vision office part of River Road building’s renovations

This 5,300 square foot building on River Road will house a take-and-bake pasta restaurant and new vision office, according to a filed permit application. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

Of the Keizertimes

A new pasta restaurant and vision services office are planned as part of renovations to a River Road commercial building.

Pastabilities: The Healthy Dish will offer fresh take-and-bake pasta while Eagle Eye Vision will offer traditional optometry along with a practice specializing in vision-related learning disabilities, strokes and brain injuries.

“You don’t do that in a chain, and it’s kind of my passion to help those individuals,” said Dr. Keirsten Eagles, who will be the primary practitioner. “I love basic optometry too, though.”

Eagles co-owns the building at 4050 River Road N. with her husband, Matthew, and her parents. She currently works in optometry at practices in Clackamas and Beaverton.

The building shares a parking lot with Baskin Robbins, and formerly housed Momma Honey & The Princess tea house. Purchased in February for $470,000, it’s about 5,300 square feet and was built in 1979.

The total project cost is about $39,300, according to building permit application records. Most of the changes won’t be visible from the outside, Eagles said. A vacuum store selling Kirby products will remain in the building.

While optometry is her chosen line of work, the dream of a pasta restaurant started as a undergraduate, Eagles said. She said families need quick, healthy options.

“You walk in, take your pasta, pick your meat, pick your veggies and sauce, take it home and put it in the oven,” she said.

Choices will include gluten free, whole wheat, organic and low-sodium options.