By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
Eamon Bishop has announced his candidacy for Keizer City Council, seeking a vacant position in a crowded race for Position No. 3 against Marlene Quinn and Matthew Chappell.
Bishop, a retired police officer who is currently on the Traffic Safety Commission, doesn’t like what he’s seen out of the city council the last few years on several recent battles, most notably over fire districts and big box stores. He said those issues share a common thread: In his opinion, the council majority didn’t take into account opinions of nearby neighbors.
“I would have gone out to Clear Lake, where the people are most affected, and asked them, whether through the neighborhood group(s) or other means,” he said of Keizer Fire District’s effort to annex Marion County Fire District No. 1’s Keizer turf.
Living close enough to Keizer Station to refer to it as his backyard, he said there’s room at the freeway for more development but doesn’t want the community to look like Lancaster Drive, Salem’s busy retail strip. He said more can be done to effectively direct customers from there to the downtown core on River Road.
Bishop wants to find ways to improve communication between the council and public. One way is accepting email as formal testimony.
“Most households have two workers now, people have children with sports and school activities and unfortunately at evening time they’re worn out,” Bishop said. “So there isn’t a lot of interest in attending these meetings because of that.”
He would also look to provide information online before meetings as to the upcoming topics. While agendas and supporting documents are placed on the city’s website prior to sessions, he said he would want more insightful information available.
Bishop supports a fiscally conservative approach to local government, citing three Ps: Police services, public works and planning as his priorities. While he enjoys the arts himself – Bishop has a painting hanging in the Keizer Civic Center as part of the Mayor’s Art Gala – he said funding optional programs like that should be on the back burner until the economy improves.
Bishop said his experience as a police officer would help him lead on budget and labor issues. He retired as a commander at Sherwood Police after a stint in Springfield.
“I’ve also been very conservative in looking for ways to spend less money as a police department – we did lots of things like in-house publishing and maintaining our cars instead of replacing them when we could get away with it,” he said.
His website is eamonbishop.com
Also seeking the position, being vacated by Mark Caillier, are Matt Chappell and Marlene Quinn.