Clark lauds city’s efforts at Chamber lunch

Mayor Cathy Clark delivers the annual State of the City address at a Keizer Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, March 12.

From livability and development to what’s being done to assist some of Keizer’s most vulnerable residents, Mayor Cathy Clark is feeling good about the future of the city.

“We are on a good course to our future. We are known for showing up, speaking up, getting involved and getting it done,” said Clark in her annual State of the City address during a Keizer Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, March 12. “By coming together to create it, we will have something to celebrate every day.”

Clark covered a lot of territory in the speech while trying to hit on all the high notes that show the work being done.

In regard to livability issues, Clark said the groundwork is being laid to decide how the city should approach its expected growth, either through higher density development or expansion of the Keizer Urban Growth Boundary.

The lack of available developable spaces is turning the screws on Keizer’s renters. Keizer was recently tabbed as one of numerous rent-burdened cities in the state.

“At the end of the day, our [growth] will be unique because our situation is unique,” she said in a nod to the city’s shared UGB with Salem. “I’m looking forward to hearing what options are available to get [housing] demand and supply into better balance.”

She’s also looking forward to some sort of resolution for west Keizer residents taking fire from a recreational shooting range. The city is currently an intervenor in a lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction and legislative fixes are on the docket in the 2019 Oregon Legislative session.

“We are working with Rep. Bill Post and Sen. Kim Thatcher to establish recourse for people when they are irresponsible,” Clark said.

Clark cited numerous new shops that have opened over the course of the past year, but reserved special attention for In-N-Out, the burger joint planned for Keizer Station. Clark said she had never handled as many media requests as the day after a representative from the company spoke with the city council in 2018. While the process is moving slowly, Clark said the city wanted other local businesses to see it as a chance to promote their services and wares.

“We all know that there is going to be a lot of activity and we want to make sure it is an opportunity for everyone,” she said.

She also heralded the staff at the city – ranging from police officers to parks employees – for making good use of fees put in place to bolster both services.

“We are good at stretching a buck, but it takes more to get people out there … and bring the city up to a level where you feel safe,” Clark said.

The mayor started her speech highlighting the work that’s being done to alleviate the issue of homelessness in the area. She said better data on the population in most dire need and a map of existing services are being put to use to develop better collaboration throughout Marion County.

“It’s the strong collaboration with service providers that are making change. We’re in a better place with services but we still have a long way to go,” she said.