Parsons stepping aside, backs Juran for council

Keizer businessman Kyle Juran (left) has announced his intention to run to replace outgoing Keizer City Councilor Marlene Parsons.

Keizer City Councilor Marlene Parsons is opting not to run for a third term on Keizer’s governing body but she’s already endorsing a replacement, Keizer businessman Kyle Juran. 

“Kyle has been a great volunteer in this community and he has a passion for Keizer,” said Parsons. “I think that he would be a great champion on city council and continue some of the work that I’ve done with others.”

Juran, owner of Remodeling by Classic Homes on River Road, said he wants to be a voice for Keizer’s hometown businesses and connective tissue for conversations he took part in as a Keizer planning commissioner. 

“The biggest thing for me is helping regular citizens understand how much the business community does for other aspects of the community and how we need their support,” Juran said. 

In addition to volunteering for the city’s planning commission, Juran is a member of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Oregon Home Builders Association Board of Directors. At the Keizer Chamber, Juran helped lead the move to a new office on River Road among other tasks. In recent years, the playhouses he and employees construct as floats for the annual KeizerFEST Parade have been raffled off to benefit local charitable efforts. 

The last float, styled after the home from Pixar’s Up, was donated by the winner, Bob Shackleford, to Simonka Place, a woman’s shelter, for use in the children’s playground on the site. 

“Seeing that happen and how they use it, and still use it, for what they do was awesome and I hope it lasts them for a while,” Juran said.  

If elected, Juran is most excited to continue work that began on growth strategies during his time on the planning commission. Keizer is out of space to grow and Juran was part of the group that oversaw and made recommendations on the potential ways Keizer might grow.

“As we were having those discussions, I was frustrated when it moved slowly, but there were times when we brought people into the meetings and got to hear perspectives from all over the map,” Juran said. “Even if I didn’t agree with someone’s perspective, those conversations helped us find the middle ground.”

A new development of River Road North, near Sonic Drive-In, will be the first to capitalize on some of the changes instituted during Juran’s time on the planning commission. The new space will incorporate both housing and commercial spaces, the first of its kind in Keizer. 

Juran said he was excited to see it happening, but hopes that Keizer doesn’t change too quickly. He thinks that the city can continue to preserve its small town feel through slow expansion of the city’s Urban Growth Boundary to the north. 

“My initial thinking is that we grow outward while building little community centers of business and recreation and that is what will preserve the small town feel,” he said. 

Parsons said her largest accomplishments on the council were The Big Toy in Keizer Rapids Park, which was her first major assignment as a city councilor, and putting forth a new draft of the city charter to voters. 

“I wanted to change the charter since I was first elected,” Parsons said, speaking of a section of the city’s founding document that marginalizes LGBTQ+ residents. She hopes that Keizer voters find it in their hearts to support the change when it arrives on ballots this November. 

She said the hardest decisions were ones that she was legally required to support even when her heart leaned in other directions. She referenced a decision to allow land use changes which will likely lead to the cow pasture in the center of town being redeveloped as apartments.  

“That was probably one of the hardest decisions because, at first, it got to voted down and we had good reason for it. Then the owners came back with changes that addressed those concerns. Those decisions tear at your heart,” she said. 

When her final term ends in January, Parsons plans to spend more time traveling and with her grandchildren, but she doesn’t plan on leaving Keizer for good. 

“I would never move from this town. I have a passion to do everything for this town. Kyle has that same passion and it’s why I’m endorsing him,” she said.