Keizer mayor honored by peers with major award

Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark (second from left) accepts the James C. Richards Award at a ceremony in Bend.

The prestigious James C. Richards Award was presented Friday evening to Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark during the League of Oregon Cities’ 94th annual conference in Bend. 

The award is given to an elected city official who serves the citizens of Oregon through an exceptional personal investment in intergovernmental affairs.

Clark was cited for being an unwavering champion for the Keizer community, a leader in the Mid-Willamette Valley and among mayors across the state. 

During her years on the Keizer City Council, Clark led efforts to coordinate local library services, fund miles of streetscape and transportation improvements and helped develop a new civic and event center. 

In 2017, she was pivotal in creating stable funding for parks and police services and has taken a keen interest in directing public resources to homeless programs that have made measurable impacts.

Regionally, Clark been a steady presence in conversations regarding transportation issues and she has held key leadership positions with the League of Oregon Cities, the Mid-Willamette Council of Governments and the Salem Keizer Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“Her work directly contributed to the development of transportation and funding packages, better League [of Oregon Cities] governance and increased intergovernmental cooperation,” said Sean O’Day, executive director of the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, in a nomination form. 

One of Clark’s peers, Mayor John McArdle, of Independence, was effusive in his praise of Clark’s statesmanship. 

“Real leadership isn’t easy, it often necessitates dealing with very difficult, challenging issues, issues that others prefer to ignore – not Mayor Clark,” McArdle wrote. “She is committed to doing the right things. She operates with grace, sensitivity, passion, the highest ethical standards and is an inspiration to others.”

Through her involvement, Clark has worked to preserve the home rule authority of cities in Oregon. Her efforts have directly contributed to the development of transportation funding packages and increased intergovernmental cooperation.

“This honor means so much to me because it comes from you, the people who know me, who work with me and whom I love and respect. People who share a passion for serving all people with dignity and respect,” said Clark in her acceptance speech. 

James C. Richards was a city councilor for Bay City and was the administrative officer for Tillamook County. His many years of involvement in intergovernmental affairs serve as a model for others and is the standard by which nominees are evaluated.

The League of Oregon Cities helps city governments serve their citizens by providing legislative services, policy setting, intergovernmental relations, conferences and training, technical assistance and publications.