Richard Walsh’s announcement that he will not seek election to a third full term this year has been met with sadness.
Walsh has been one of the workhorses of the city council over the past 10 years. His fingerprints are on some of the city’s biggest projects.
He cited family and business reasons for his decision. We can’t fault a person for focusing on what’s important in life—family.But we have probably not seen the last of Walsh. Many see him as a future mayor of Keizer. He himself has said that he will stay involved in Keizer.
Whether he ever holds public office in Keizer again or not, he has his legacy, Keizer Rapids Park. The regional park came into being due to Walsh’s fierce determination to make it happen. Others scoffed at his proposal when he first made it, saying that there was no money to make it a reality.
Walsh proved them all wrong, working tirelessly to garner the grants that were necessary to purchase land and create the amenities. His enthusiasm soon caught on and other councilors and citizens got park fever.
Keizer Rapids Park is a work in progress though his idea for an amphitheatre is now a reality. He has always said that once his vision was complete—boat ramp to the river, a tennis complex and more, it would be a boon to our city’s economy.
Richard Walsh was not a one-note councilor. He has also supported the Keizer Community Library through his votes and his leadership on various library task forces. As a member of the new advisory committee his influence will be felt on that issue for some time yet.
What marked Walsh’s tenure most was his deliberative style of asking detailed questions about whatever was before the council. He rarely accepted testimony by presenters without asking the hows and whys, especially when it came to budgetary items. That came from his background as an attorney, which served him and the city well.
Regardless of the issue, Richard Walsh gave it the serious consideration and made sure he was satisfied that he had all the information needed to cast informed votes.
Politics has taught us that no one is indispensable. Councilors will come and go but it will be sad to see him step down. Rest assured, Keizer has not felt the last of his influence.