Closing the door on a rewarding career


That was Debbie Lockhart’s answer when asked the best thing about the deputy city recorder position she has held since 2001. 

Tracy is Tracy Davis, Keizer’s city recorder, who is scheduled to retire in July, as is Lockhart. 

“She’s the best boss I’ve ever had,” said Lockhart. “She appreciates me.” That is one of the reason she is retiring also. “I want to end on a high note,” she added. 

Lockhart didn’t dream of being a municipal recorder when she was younger. She had loftier ideas. She became a flight attendant (they were called stewardesses then) with Branff International. She moved to Dallas, Tx., where the airline was based, and stayed for 35 years. 

A Seattle native, she has also called Portland and Spokane home. She now resides in Salem, where she lovingly tends to her front yard garden, now busting with early summer blooms and colors. 

After Dallas Lockhart moved to Oregon to be close to her children and grandchildren. She found employment with the state, but quickly discovered it was not a good fit. A co-worker showed her a job posting for the deputy city recorder position in Keizer. 

“And so I applied and got the job,” she said. 

Lockhart remembers one unusual question from one of the interviewers, who asked if she alphabetized her spices. “I said, ‘yes, I do.” 

That sense of organization has served her well during her recording career. 

“I liked being organized,” said Lockhart, “I really get frustrated when I can’t find stuff.” She organized city files so well that when city staff asked for a specific file, Lockhart would look it up the inventory on her computer and say exactly where the file was. “It makes everything run more smoothly,” she said. 

Being organized is key to being a success in the job she is leaving. Also, good listening skills are important. She said those two traits make a good recorder. 

Over two decades Lockhart has recorded countless city committee meetings, one of her favorite aspects of the job. She likes knowing many things about the city’s operations and helping committee members, all volunteers. 

“I really admire our volunteers. I am amazed that so many people are willing to give so much of their time to make Keizer a better place,” she said. 

Recently she has been the recorder in attendance for the Planning Commission, the Parks Advisory Board, the Traffic Safety- Bikeways-Pedestrian Committee and the Keizer Public Art Commission. 

Her artistic ability led her to create the logo for The Big Toy at Keizer Rapids Park as well as posters for the city’s recent 40th birthday celebration. 

In a career filled with memorable moments and people, she enjoyed working on The Big Toy the most. “It was hard work, but it was fun to see it get done.” 

When the new Keizer civic center was built in 2013 a much needed feature was an archive room, gathering together in one place files and such that once had been scattered among different storage facilities. 

After her last day on the job Lockhart will volunteer at Family Building Blocks, where she wants to help develop a Mother’s Day Out program that allows mothers to take their kids while they go about their errands. 

“My grandchildren are gone and I really, really miss the little kids,”she said. 

Come late July Keizer will lose a person who knows the city very well and has years of historical memory. 

“I probably know more about what’s going on in Keizer than anyone else in this building,” said Lockhart.