Mike Hart (File Photo)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Mike Hart will face a challenge for his third term on the Keizer Fire District board from a former department employee.

Dave Lapof, who was a volunteer coordinator at KFD before becoming fire chief in Siletz, is challenging Hart for the seat. Lapof also had a brief stint as chief of Seal Rock, a coastal Oregon town.

Lapof said he’s running in part because he has the time and says he would “be more engaged in the decision-making and just ask some harder questions.”

Hart is happy with the fire district’s operations at the moment, but said increasing communications costs were a concern.

“That’s probably one of the most important,” Hart said.

Lapof questions whether annexing the Keizer Prairie neighborhood in north Keizer.

“Does it really achieve anything for Keizer?” Lapof said. “While it sounds like it makes sense … can we really provide a better level of service than citizens up there are already getting?”

The area is currently served by Marion County Fire District 1.

Lapof has been in firefighting for 23 years as both a volunteer and paid staff. Hart is a former Keizer city councilor who is retired from radio advertising sales.

And no matter who wins the Salem-Keizer School Board elections for zones 2 and 4, there will be new faces. Neither Steve Chambers nor Krina Lemons have filed for re-election. However, Keizer’s Chuck Lee did file for reelection in Zone 6, and is unopposed in his bid for a second term.

Lee said he was proudest of “the role I was able to play when we passed a $242 million bond measure.

“With that has come a lot of jobs in the community during tough times,” Lee said. “That’s $242 million of deferred maintenance … On top of the major cuts we’re making just with personnel and instruction, facilities would have deteriorated even more because there’s just no money for things like that.”

Lee said some $55 million will have to be cut from the schools budget, and with that will go “programs and certainly personnel.

“The figures were anywhere between 400 and 600 employees,” Lee said. That’s going to be the real challenge right there – to try to keep programs intact and keep trying to fulfill our mission with a lot fewer people.”

In other Keizer-related elections, JoAnne Beilke of Keizer will run unopposed for reelection to the Chemeketa Community College Board of Directors.

A story in next week’s Keizertimes will feature the candidates for Marion County Fire Dist. 1. Embattled Chief J. Kevin Henson has the current board’s support but is facing a call to resign from the department’s union.