The  Keizer Neighborhood Associations were created many years ago to build community unity,  inform  neighbors of activities, and to resolve problems. Keizer has two neighborhood associations: West Keizer, led by Rhonda Rich, and the Gubser Neighborhood Association lead by myself. The leaders of any neighborhood association try to bring a sense of value to each meeting with the guest speakers they invite, to generate a learning and sharing environment. Each neighborhood has hundreds of households and the leadership of these neighbors tries to keep the information flowing through e-mail, fliers, or word-of-mouth.

Rhonda Rich and I went in front of the city council to argue the value of the neighborhood associations. The funding for the neighborhood associations was on the chopping block and seen as an unnecessary city expense. In the end, the funding was reduced by more than half and informational fliers were eliminated due to high printing and mailing costs.

When I went through the Gubser Neighborhood Association phone list to inform the neighbors of the October meeting the response was overwhelmingly positive. However, an effort to ellicit support on a house-to-house tour  met with mixed results. Due to conflicting community events the October meeting was lightly attended.

Rhonda Rich brought together a political gathering for the upcoming elections including: Mayor Lore Christopher, city council candidates Cathy Clark, Joe Egli and James Taylor as well as Marion County commissioner candidates Patti Milne and Jason Frelinger. All were given a time limit to present their case. I applaud Rhonda for her efforts. The conference room at city hall was full, but should have been a standing room only event with the political clout in attendance.

As leaders of the associations we try to fill the interests of the community and it is not always possible to have an action packed meeting—simply getting to know your neighbor is equally important.

I urge you as neighbors to contact your neighborhood association leaders and voice interest in attending, concerns, and guests you think would add value to meetings. When I lived in Los Angeles it was a “keep to yourself attitude.” Nobody said “hello,” “good morning,” or “how is your day?” When I moved to Keizer twelve years ago that all changed. Neighbors helped my family through difficult times, and “good mornings” were common place.

The Gubser Neighborhood Association meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Gubser Elementary School.

The West Keizer Neighborhood Association meets at the Keizer City Hall on the second Thursday of each month (due to Veterans Day the November meeting will be held on Nov. 18).

Allen Prell lives in Keizer.  He is president of the Gubser Neighborhood Association.