By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Mayor Lore Christopher declined the opportunity to give a speech.
That didn’t stop others from giving speeches about her, however.
Christopher presided over her last Keizer City Council meeting on Monday evening. The next time the council meets, on Jan. 5, she will open the meeting but soon turn the gavel and center seat over to Cathy Clark, a councilor of the past eight years who won an uncontested race to replace Christopher as mayor last month.
Council president Joe Egli and veteran councilor Jim Taylor will also be leaving at the Jan. 5 meeting, while Clark, Brandon Smith, Roland Herrera and Amy Ripp will be sworn in. The three who are leaving will be giving farewell speeches at the meeting.
Christopher, Egli and Taylor are being honored for their years of service at a dinner and recognition event on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Keizer Community Center, 930 Chemawa Road NE. The event starts at 5 p.m. with a social hour, followed by the dinner at 6. The cost is $15 per person, with proceeds going to the Keizer Parks Foundation. To RSVP, contact councilor Marlene Quinn at 503-510-1706 by Jan. 14.
During public comment Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, gave her gratitude to Christopher, who served seven terms as mayor and took over the seat in 2001.
“It’s my honor to be here just to say thank you,” Dieker told Christopher. “It’s been a long 14 years of you serving as mayor. I wanted to give public testimony sharing the Keizer Chamber’s gratitude. We’ve been through many encouraging moments and sessions from art to tourism to economic development to membership. You have worked with the chamber on so many occasions. I wanted to say thank you very much.”
Dieker likened the age of the city – incorporated in 1982 – to that of a human.
“I thought back to 2001, the city wasn’t even 20 years old yet,” Dieker said. “We were closer to adolescence, but we knew we could get it done. We’re not a minor anymore. We’re a young adult, if not a full-fledged adult, on the way to success. I can’t thank you enough for the communication skills you have and the help you’ve given the chamber.”
Nate Brown, Keizer’s director of Community Development who filled in for absent city manager Chris Eppley and thus sat next to Christopher on Monday, offered his thanks at the end of the meeting.
“I want to express our appreciation for your service as well,” Brown said. “When the phone rings and we see Lore is calling, we take a deep breath.”
“Because of happiness!” Christopher quickly interjected with a laugh.
After the chuckles died down, Brown continued.
“You have been extraordinary in your involvement,” he told the mayor. “It’s an honor and privilege for me to sit next to you at your last meeting.”
Christopher ended the meeting by noting she wasn’t giving a speech quite yet.
“You all know what a remarkable staff we have,” she said. “Don’t think for a minute I don’t love taking the credit, but I had little to nothing to do with what we have accomplished. The heavy lifting has been done by (city staff). It’s our privilege to sit up here and provide the citizen perspective.”
After Christopher spoke, members of the small audience gave her a standing ovation.