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New mayor, councilors take over (with VIDEO)

Cathy Clark (right) took over as Keizer's sixth mayor on Monday from Lore Christopher (center). Former mayor Dennis Koho (left) was the city's third mayor. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Cathy Clark (right) took over as Keizer’s sixth mayor on Monday from Lore Christopher (center). Former mayor Dennis Koho (left) was the city’s third mayor. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

Four familiar faces were sworn in during Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting.

Cathy Clark was sworn in as the new mayor after serving on the council for eight years. Clark took over the seat previously held by Lore Christopher for 14 years.

Roland Herrera may be new to council, but the new council No. 4 seat holder is no stranger to how the city operates. After all, he worked for the city for 19 years before resigning in 2011.

Amy Ripp was sworn in for the No. 5 council seat. Like Herrera, it is Ripp’s first time on the council but the small business owner has been involved in various committees and community organizations over the years.

Brandon Smith made his return to the council. Smith, who took over the No. 6 seat previously held by Jim Taylor, formerly served on the council from 2007 until the first meeting of 2013. Since leaving council, Smith has served on the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board as well as the Storm Water Advisory Committee (SWAC).

Those expecting Clark to institute massive change will likely be disappointed.

“Thank you for being here tonight and supporting us,” Clark said after taking over the center seat on the dais. “We are a community of volunteers. We work with you as well as for you. We do this out of love. We love our city. We chose to be here. We are working together into the future. As we continue we will continue to sail this ship and keep it steady as she goes.”

Ripp admitted after the meeting she was nervous before the proceedings began.

“This is the biggest privilege I’ve ever been given,” Ripp said of serving. “I am beyond excited. I haven’t been nervous about it until tonight. I am less nervous now.”

Herrera has maintained from the start he put his 2011 incident behind him long ago.

“I’m ready to work hard,” he said. “I appreciate the support of the people of Keizer. I’m ready to get started. This has been a long time coming for me. I just wanted to take the high road.”

Smith feels he’s more prepared for his second term on council.

“I didn’t know a darned thing the first time,” Smith quipped. “This time I have the experience. I kept up to speed the last two years by being on the Parks Board and Storm Water Advisory Committee. Two years was not that much time off. It took me six months to decompress the first time I left council.”

Though he has the experience this time, Smith said he’s not going to push for radical changes.

“I’m not the person who comes in with a list of things we ought to change,” he said. “That’s not me. I want to keep an even keel and keep a good thing going.”

Monday’s meeting was mostly ceremonial, as there was no public comment and no agenda items requiring approval. Councilors selected former mayor Dennis Koho to serve as the 2015-2017 council president (Marlene Quinn declined a nomination for the post).

Councilors were also appointed to various committees. Ripp was appointed to the Keizer Arts Commission, Keizer Festival and Events (along with Quinn) and Traffic Safety/Bikeways/Pedestrians. Smith was appointed to the Audit Committee with Koho and Kim Freeman, as well as Planning Commission, SWAC (with Koho and Freeman) and Community Build Task Force (along with Quinn). Herrera was appointed as liaison to Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association and Iris Festival, as well as Keizer Points of Interest Committee.

As far as returning councilors, Koho was appointed to fire district quarterly meetings. Freeman was appointed to Personnel Policy Committee (with Quinn and Clark), West Keizer Neighborhood Association and Claggett Creek Watershed Council. Quinn was appointed to the Parks Board and the Community Build Task Force fundraising committee (taking Christopher’s place) and the Oregon Rail Study.

Clark was appointed to Economic Development and Government Affairs, Salem River Crossing Oversight Team, SKATS, MWACT, Keizer Heritage Association, SEDCOR Board of Directors and Mid Willamette Valley Council of Governments Board of Directors.

Once those appointments were done, councilors selected their representatives to the Volunteer Coordinating Committee, which oversees members of the various committees and groups in Keizer.

At the end of the meeting, councilors each appointed a person to serve on the Volunteer Coordinating Committee. Herrera appointed Mike Maghan, Quinn appointed Amy McLeod, Ripp went with Larry Jackson, Freeman chose Trish Crenshaw, Smith tabbed Lois Anderson, Clark went with Daisy Hickman and Koho chose outgoing councilor Joe Egli, which seemed to be a bit of a surprise to Egli’s wife Shelly.

Due to Oregon playing for the national college football title Jan. 12, the council work session scheduled for that night was moved to Jan. 26 at 5:45 p.m.