Dylan Juran will be the youngest candidate on the ballot running for Keizer City Council, but he’s hoping voters will see that as an asset.
“I want to see the interest of people like me and younger represented because it’s our future in this town,” Juran said. “Maybe we won’t like what we inherit, and if we don’t speak up that will be our fault.”
Juran is running for the seat being vacated by Councilor Kim Freeman (Position 2). Ross Day, a Keizer attorney, is also a candidate for the seat. His father, Kyle Juran, is running for another seat on the council in November.
It won’t be Juran’s first foray into the sphere of city governance, he’s served as a volunteer on the Keizer Parks Advisory Board for more than five years. In that time, the old saw of government’s wheels grinding slowly became a lived experience.
“I’ve learned how much persistence is needed when you want to get something done. It’s not a matter of just starting a conversation, but thinking it through, the options available and then making sure that a decision is acted on,” he said.
At a recent parks board meeting he asked a question about pesticide use in Keizer parks – a question he was asked while campaigning – and the person who might have had the answer wasn’t available.
“So that’s one month, next month we might be able to get the answer then we have to talk about the alternatives, then the possibilities of reducing it to zero and the costs on the other end. If you are interested in seeing something done, you have to hammer at it for a long time.”
In the past, Juran has advocated for the city to investigate the possibility of making internet service available as a public utility, but he doesn’t want that to be the single issue he is known for.
“As somebody who is working on building a family, I want to have a lot of good options for housing and schools and parks, the things that make a city liveable,” he said.
On a topic like growth, Juran said he still has more work to do before offering his opinion, but that blanket, or blind, resistance to the idea of growth doesn’t move the conversation in a realistic direction.
“If we’re having conversations about how we grow, that’s going to serve us better as a community than trying to just put up roadblocks,” Juran said.
He’s a proponent of the city having some sort of statement or resolution regarding inclusivity. While some have resisted specific language adopted in other cities, arguing that it would make Keizer a sanctuary city, he sees no reason the council couldn’t produce a resolution without such language.
“We can take those ideas and make something of inclusion, but the council seemed to reject it and I was extremely disappointed in that,” he said.
As a technical consultant, Juran works with a non-profit that develops growth metrics for educators with the goal of helping them tailor their lessons, but he’s also a longtime volunteer with the Keizer-based non-profit Satellite Gaming, which offers after school clubs in area middle schools.
While students participate in tournaments, Juran pulls parents aside to help them better understand their children’s interest in video games and how they can support their interest in healthy ways. There’s lessons there he will draw on if elected to the council.
“Some of the students we work with are even more isolated than some of their peers. The big thing that drives me to help is that I want them to feel like part of a community,” he said.