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Adios! Old councilors ride into the sunset

Former City Councilor Jim Taylor chats with another veteran of the council chambers, and a city founder, Jerry McGee. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Former City Councilor Jim Taylor chats with another veteran of the council chambers, and a city founder, Jerry McGee. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

Three familiar faces may have joined the Keizer City Council on Monday, but that means three left.

Mayor Lore Christopher vacated her seat after 14 years, while Jim Taylor left his council seat after 12 years and Joe Egli left after four years. Cathy Clark was sworn in as mayor and was joined by new councilors Amy Ripp, Roland Herrera and returning councilor Brandon Smith (see related story, page 1).

Christopher, Taylor and Egli are also being honored at a special celebration event Jan. 17 at Keizer Community Center, but each had some words to share in a mostly full council chambers.

Each will have their name put on a tree in Keizer, while Christopher and Taylor will also have their name on a plaque, to be placed on a bench.

Christopher offered her remarks after Clark took over as mayor. As such, the former mayor sat at the table typically designated for public comment.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this seat,” Christopher said. “It feels right. It feels good. We’ve done a great job. When I look back on my years on city council I feel nothing but pride for what we accomplished. I don’t need my name on anything. When I drive around, I say, ‘That’s mine.’ And it’s yours. It’s everyone’s. You don’t do it alone. The only way it works is when everyone works together.”

Christopher noted she has gotten to know the staff at cities around the area and feels Keizer is fortunate.

“Our staff is so much better,” she said. “(City manager) Chris Eppley is revered around the region. He has integrity, he has ethics, he has honesty. Early in my term there was a rocky road. I was concerned how it would affect my kids. Chris told me, ‘Do the right thing. If at anytime your kid is hassled for what you did, tell me.’”

Christopher also had high praise for longtime city recorder Tracy Davis.

“She is the city’s MVP,” Christopher told the new councilors. “If you treat her bad, I’ll hunt you down. This woman is the backbone to the support of the city council.”

Christopher praised city attorney Shannon Johnson as being “terrific” because he is conservative and said she loved Nate Brown, director of Community Development, “most of all” due to how he brings everyone “back to earth” after expressing wild ideas. She also praised police chief John Teague but noted, “I don’t want to see you on the street when I leave here.”

Christopher is looking forward to Keizer’s future.

“People ask me, ‘Are you sad to be leaving?’ I’m joyous to be leaving,” she said. “I’m confident of the new mayor and council. Cathy Clark will serve us well. I have no regrets, just love and thankfulness to the citizens of Keizer. Council, I have your back.”

Clark praised her predecessor.

“Lore has given so much of her life to the city,” Clark said. “She was a mom who wanted a swing in a park. Lore, you have left a mark on the city that will last for years.”

Egli recalled the first vote he was a part of.

“I was the only new guy that year,” Egli said. “It was tough to come in as the new kid. My first vote was 6-1. I was on a fence and we were voting on a fence. David McKane said vote your conscious and vote how you feel. I was on the losing side of a few 6-1 votes. This thing with urban renewal, we had to vote like 15 times. I had to vote no every single time to prove a point. Sometimes proving a point is not all it is cracked up to be.”

Egli also thanked Keizer citizens, John Rizzo, his wife, son and daughter.

“To my fellow councilors, the time and energy you put in is wonderful,” Egli said.

Taylor spoke slightly more than he did last month, but not by much.

“I just agree with everything Joe said,” Taylor said. “Thank you for the privilege. In the 12 years I’ve been here I haven’t lost any more hair. I did get a new wife (Darlene) more than 11 years ago. The most important hing we do on city council is we make change possible. People hate change. We manage change for the city. We give our time and time is the most important we have in life.”

Taylor drew some chuckles when he ended by quoting “great philosopher” Tony Romo, the Dallas quarterback who led the Cowboys to a comeback National Football League playoff win the day before.

“I’m a better version of myself,” Taylor said.