Rhonda Rich and Gary Blake

Rhonda Rich and Gary Blake

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

It was a milestone evening for the West Keizer Neighborhood Association on Jan. 14.

For one, it marked the 10 year mark since WKNA had been restarted.

When WKNA restarted in 2006, Rhonda Rich was the initial president.

Rich stayed in that position – until the Jan. 14 meeting.

When it came time for the annual board elections, Gary Blake nominated Rich to serve another term.

Rich declined, then turned around and nominated Blake for the position.

“He’ll do a great job,” Rich said.

There were no other nominations, so Blake is the new WKNA president. Rich will serve as vice president, Carolyn Homan as secretary and Carol Doerfler, Art Mauer, Sarah Head and Clint Holland as members of the board of directors.

Before the elections began, Rich talked about the milestone evening.

“It is 10 years this month since we reactivated the neighborhood association,” she said. “It’s been a real pleasure doing it for 10 years. You get to meet a lot of neat people. It’s cool to be active in the neighborhood and to give a voice to the neighborhood.

We talk with the city councilors. There are so many speakers we’ve had over the 10 years.”

To get ready for the meeting, Rich noted she went through minutes from the past 10 years.

“We’ve done a lot as far as many topics and speakers, from government, transportation, groups, representatives of committees and activities. I listed all of the people who’ve been on the board the last 10 years. We have 70 years of total service to our neighborhood if you tally up all the years everyone has been on. We have a good thing going and I hope it continues.”

Blake tipped his cap to Rich.

“WKNA and Rhonda Rich are almost synonymous,” Blake said. “I want to really thank Rhonda for her time and effort the last 10 years keeping this organization alive and viable. I appreciate what you’ve been able to do.”

Rich got a standing ovation from the 20 or so people in attendance.

Following the elections, Blake pledged to keep going with what Rich started.

“This association needs to continue to be closely associated with the neighborhood,” Blake said. “I know there are many other people who would love to come to the meetings. We want to get more and more support as time goes by.”

Blake also led a discussion about options for what to do at Palma Ciea Park, following up on a talk during the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting a couple of nights earlier. He referred to the master plan for the park and asked WKNA members to prioritize the amenities they would want to see in the park.

“They need to know a direction,” Blake said of Parks Board members. “We’ve done a poll and came up with a number of items. As we’re all aware, if the park doesn’t get used, we may lose the property to something else. We want to make it a more attractive place to go.”

Martin Doerfler repeated his request for a couple of benches, while Holland pointed to an ongoing problem with the park.

“We’re killing lot of trees with a lot of ivy down there,” Holland said. “It’s so cheap to kill ivy. I hope we can kill all the ivy. We need to get the stuff cleaned up. That needs to be a top priority in the parks.”

Sarah Head agreed with the reference to the amount of ivy.

“At first I didn’t understand why we call it a park,” Head said. “It felt like I was in someone’s backyard and took a wrong turn.”

Holland said previous work didn’t do the job completely.

“We cleaned the park one time, but we didn’t kill the stuff,” he said. “It grew right back the next year. We need to get that ivy taken care of before it kills all the trees.”

Mayor Cathy Clark suggested youth could help with the project.

“I’ve been contacted by local youth groups looking for good community projects,” Clark said. “I know we can get some youth and scout groups down there.”