By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
City Councilor Joe Egli is withdrawing from the mayoral race, he said earlier this week.
Egli was preparing to run against Mayor Lore Christopher, who is seeking her seventh term as Keizer’s mayor. Also in the race is City Councilor David McKane.
Even with Egli’s withdrawal, November’s election is shaking out to be as transformative an election as Keizer has seen in some time. None of the council incumbents up for re-election – Mark Caillier, Brandon Smith and McKane – are seeking another term, while former Mayor Dennis Koho and West Keizer Neighborhood Association board member Ken LeDuc are both running for council. Eamon Bishop, Matt Chappell and Marlene Quinn have all announced plans to seek the same council seat.
With a host of new councilors in November, Egli would be positioned to be nominated for council president, according to the governing body’s rules and procedures. The document stipulates that the longest-tenured councilor who has never served as council president will be nominated.
The council president presides over meetings and represents the mayor at public events when she is unable to attend.
“It would give me a great opportunity to represent our city and get the growth I need as far as regional contacts,” Egli said about that possibility. “It would also give me the opportunity to help lead our new councilors in the direction of being open, listening and a little more transparent.”
However, the rules process has not always been followed – Christopher declined to nominate McKane, instead supporting Councilor Cathy Clark. That set off a chain of events where McKane quit the council, then rescinded his resignation before it went into effect.
Egli said he plans to continue as a “city councilor and business advocate.
“I will continue my practice of listening to our citizens, asking questions to bring the heart of the issues forward and looking for results that are mutually beneficial to all involved,” Egli said. “During the next two years I will continue to incorporate our citizens into our decision making process and strive to improve communication between our government and our citizens.”
Egli and Christopher clashed over a proposal to use urban renewal dollars to pay down debt left behind from a developer’s apparent default on improvement bonds at Keizer Station. Without the developer’s payments, the city was liable for the debt. With or without urban renewal dollars, city staff’s proposal was to repossess the land for future sale and recuperation of funds. The plan passed over Egli’s objection.