By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Shawn Lapof is taking the next step in public service with a campaign for the Keizer City Council.
“A friend actually suggested it, and the more I thought about the more it seemed like a natural progression,” said Lapof.
Lapof, a 2007 McNary High School grad and current commercial accounts and sales manager with SERVPRO of Salem, is running to replace Councilor Amy Ryan, who has decided not to seek re-election. He faces Elizabeth Smith in one of two contested city council races this November.
Lapof said the growth and development conversation happening in city hall and throughout Keizer is one he wants to be a part of, “It’s something that needs to be addressed for businesses and the community. I want to help small business and improve opportunities available for all Keizerites.”
One aspect of the discussion he would like to see the city pay particular attention to is transportation.
“We need to improve the transportation in a way that draws more people into the city from Interstate 5 and gets residents to and from the things that they need to do. That includes everything from the number of lanes traveling in different directions to a third bridge,” Lapof said.
In terms of housing, Lapof champions single-family residences, but doesn’t want to turn a blind eye to the needs of multifamily living, such as apartments.
“The people who are renting invest just as much in the community as others,” he said.
As the city continues moving toward infill, Lapof said it’s reached the point of desperation and the city needs to expand the Urban Growth Boundary that hems in urban sprawl. With that as an underpinning, Lapof added that government’s role in fostering growth should be minimal.
“The city’s role in fostering growth should be to analyze any sort of regulation involved and the value of it. If local government were to help, it would be by stepping back. The economy and moral capitalism can provide more opportunities for success,” he said.
All of which isn’t to say that he’s completely hands-off. When asked whether he supported Keizer’s recent attempts to act as landlord on a few properties it owns around the city, he wasn’t totally opposed.
“Land ownership should be minimal, but it is beneficial. If it’s yet undeveloped, and it’s the city making money outside of my tax dollar, that’s good,” Lapof said.
On the topic of the police and parks service fees implemented by the city council in 2017, Lapof said he supported both, but not the way the council chose to enact them.
“It wasn’t put to a vote, it should have been put on the ballot this November,” he said. “The things that our local government does should be reduced to pure necessities. I know there is a case for the necessity [of those services], but those arguments are in lieu of a vote. ”
Regarding the waning presence of volunteers in a city all but dependent on them, Lapof doesn’t see a formal role for city council intervention but prefers a lead-by-example approach to the problems.
“I believe more in direct effort spent in time and energy. If I were a chosen member of the council, my efforts would show my commitment and people, I hope, would follow me,” he said.
He prides himself in following in the footsteps of his father, a longtime volunteer firefighter with the Keizer Fire District, and Dave Walery, a longtime volunteer with the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. Lapof is in his third year as an elected board member of the Keizer Chamber and is a founding board member of the Keizer Fire Foundation.
He said he wanted more time to research and consider his stance of a request by some Keizer residents for the city to adopt an inclusivity resolution, but that the city “should be welcoming to all American citizens.”
Lapof is the youngest of the four candidates running in contested city council races this year, but he said his Keizer upbringing, decision to remain in the city inform his politics.
“I’m approaching this as a development of relationships and leading with information about how things could best be done. The best decision can be made with all the information, but the best information can be hard to get,” he said.