Keizer City Councilor Dennis Koho (left), flanked by Roland Herrera, returned to the council on March 21 for the first time since suffering a heart attack on Feb. 6. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Keizer City Councilor Dennis Koho (left), flanked by Roland Herrera, returned to the council on March 21 for the first time since suffering a heart attack on Feb. 6. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

There weren’t a whole lot of people at Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting.

Councilor Amy Ryan and youth councilor Siri Scales were absent, while Brandon Smith’s former seat is still vacant.

City attorney Shannon Johnson and Public Works director Bill Lawyer were absent, as was police chief John Teague. Only three audience members were present, in addition to a Keizertimes reporter.

All of which made Dennis Koho’s presence that much more surprising.

Less than two weeks after being released from the hospital following a Feb. 6 heart attack (see last week’s issue for more details), Koho was slowly easing back into a normal routine. At the previous council meeting on March 7, councilors approved a month-long leave of absence for Koho.

And yet, there was the council president, seated between fellow councilors Roland Herrera and Marlene Parsons. Mayor Cathy Clark welcomed Koho back to the dais three times, with the former mayor getting a round of applause the first time. Before the meeting, councilor Roland Herrera took a selfie – after all, this is 2016 – with Koho.

Later in the meeting, councilors gave an update on recent meetings or events they have attended. Koho’s well-known humor came through.

“I could tell you all about the hospital and rehab center,” Koho said. “You don’t want to go to the rehab center if you don’t have to. But the alternative wasn’t good, so I was happy to be there. I’ve been in a tiny hospital room for the last six weeks, so I’ve been trying to get up to speed.”

Clark, who was suffering from a cold and thus had Koho sitting further away from her than usual, welcomed him back again.

“Welcome back,” the mayor said. “We’re so glad to have you here.”

In other business March 21:

• Hersch Sangster gave reports on both the Planning Commission and Traffic/Bikeways/Pedestrians meetings from last week. The Planning Commission approved a motion for pre-application conferences with city staff to be free. That motion is expected to be brought to the council next month.

As far as the other committee, Sangster said he’ll start filling out an application soon to get Keizer designated as a bicycle-friendly community. Work is also being done for a grant to pay for signage alerting bicyclists to areas of interest in Keizer.

• Councilors unanimously approved an ordinance updating the Keizer Development Code in regards to daycare facilities, bringing city code in line with state code. The ordinance was approved without any comment.

• In addition to a shortage of people at the meeting, the meeting was also short. The meeting was over in less than 35 minutes. There was only one administrative action. When it came time for councilor liaison reports late in the meeting, two councilors weren’t ready because of how quickly the meeting was moving.