Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark delivered her annual State of the City address during a Keizer Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, March 10. Her theme this time around was demonstrating the many ways Keizer has risen to meet challenges during the past year.
She started with a project that is reaching the next stage of its development, a revision of the city charter that removes language marginalizing LGBTQ people. The charter amendment, known as Section 44, was approved by Keizer voters in the 1990s.
“I firmly believe that Section 44 will be eliminated in its entirety … and our charter will reflect the welcoming city it is,” Clark said.
Clark then turned to work being done in the city’s parks, a result of a parks services fee attached to utility bills in late 2017. Aside from the first flushing toilets in a city park, Clark highlighted how improvements increased usage at Carlson Skate Park.
“The kids stormed the fences the day it was ready and it’s been busy ever since,” she said.
Clark is also anticipating a rework of the master plan for Keizer parks. The current plan is nearing a decade old.
“Part of that revision will be making sure the parks are meeting our current needs and wants,” Clark said.
Clark thanked residents of west Keizer for rising up to keep Keizer a safer place by standing up to the owner of a quarry across the Willamette River where unsafe shooting had taken place.
“I have to thank everybody involved in that who made sure the safety of our community was paramount,” Clark said.
She lauded several businesses that chose to invest in Keizer during the past year and applauded the arrival of “hamburger travel and tourism,” and took the time to laud the efforts of city staff to make it easier to redevelop properties of River Road North.
“What we are saying to those property owners is come and make those spaces more productive for you and the community,” Clark said.
Up next, Clark said, is convincing Major League Baseball that they are wrong in trying to shrink the number of minor league teams.
“Major League Baseball doesn’t seem to get the importance of Minor League Baseball to our communities,” she said.
Even with additional challenges on the horizon in terms of meeting needs for the city’s homeless residents and continuing to pay for the climbing cost of police services, Clark said the city would continue to rise up.
“We are up to the challenge of providing the resources for Keizer to continue to be a premier place to live and work. There is no doubt that whatever comes our way, we are up for the challenge,” she said.