Clark to run again

Mayor Cathy Clark

 Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark, who has been the incumbent since 2015, declared her bid for re-election in the upcoming November 2024 vote.

Clark is running for the sixth time and brings no small amount of experience, representing Keizer on matters of transportation, housing and homelessness as well as working on community development and legislative policy.

Clark represents Keizer on the boards for the Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) as well as the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments and was recently elected to the Oregon Mayors’ Association board.

Clark agreed to sit and discuss her current tenure as Mayor, her thoughts and goals for the position, her legislative contributions to the city as well as why she purports herself as the best candidate for the job.

“My job as a team leader is to set the team up for success. [To] recognize their talents, passions, interests, background and priorities,” said Clark.

[The City Council] is working on providing structure and organization to provide services to the people of Keizer in a way that is responsive to our needs, responsible with finances and complies with state and federal regulations,” Clark went on.

“I think the stability of leadership that I bring to the council, the continuity in leadership, is going to be helpful as we transition key positions into this next generation for our department heads.”

Clark also gave a nod to the notion that being a leader involves being knowledgable but also humble.

“Part of it is I don’t have to know everything, but I have to know who to ask. My job is to see if I can coalesce the nugget of policy or program or plan that will move us forward and bring those things together.”

Clark described her goals for a new term. “The big thing is going to be the implementation of a five year strategic plan. That’s going to include looking at our staffing levels, looking at funding [and] our revenues.”

Clark also spoke to her philosophy about public service explained by her hashtag: #Keizershowsup.

“There’s an importance, a power of being present, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally. Being present in a conversation. In a decision, in a process, in anything. You’ve got to show up.”

Clark described how the phrase arose from the unique position Keizer finds itself in the state. “We have a role to play that may be outsized for us, but because of our position in Oregon [next to the capital] there’s an expectation that as a ‘larger city,’ we need to show up.”

When asked why Keizer should elect her, Clark responded, “I have a pretty deep database because I have been on City Council since 2007. I was first elected in 2006, so I’ve got a tremendous amount of history which helps me understand how we got to where we are.”

“I’ve experienced leading the team [and] I’ve experienced the regional and state level that gives Kaiser [a] voice in these very important decisions that impact our city directly. In charting that future, I hope that people have learned who I am, what I bring to the table and [that] I would like to continue to bring that to the table for the people of Keizer,” Clark continued.

Clark noted several of her accomplishments such as her work on the cities’ transportation. “I represent Keizer on our Metropolitan Planning organization [working on something] called [the] Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study (SKATS), [which is] charged with prioritizing and funding projects using federal transportation dollars.”

Pointing out the window towards Chemawa Street Clark said, “Where we are sitting inside the Keizertimes office, do you see that sidewalk out there? The completion of the sidewalk project from River Road down to Keizer Rapids Park was a project that we funded through SKATS.”

Clark also described her work addressing homeless. “I am so honored to be a part of is the Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance. We recognize there are people in need in our community. We are not satisfied with lip service.” 

Clark has previously run unopposed for the position and noted that “running unopposed means that people have thought about the depth of the work [and] the complexity and they’ve decided that that’s not a good fit for them.” 

“I believe I can bring something and I’m willing to put my name in to the voters for that consideration. I would hope that anybody who would choose to run would take it very seriously and do a lot of background, do a lot of outreach and thinking. Spend time understanding the job before stepping into it,” Clark went on. 

Clark spoke at length about the issue of funding in Keizer, her credentials for it as well as how she intends to address it. 

“I’ve got a track record of that having been on every budget committee since 2002. I have a long record of experience in our municipal budget.” 

“We are gonna have to find [another] funding source to continue to provide our current level of service. Property tax does not even cover the cost of police much less the rest of what we call the general fund.” 

In regards to solutions Clark noted that “[the City Council] has a number of options available to us, and I think a lot of that will come out during our long range planning task force [which is] my way of saying I’m not gonna answer the question. I have my ideas but I don’t want my ideas to be misconstrued as the city’s position.” 

Clark finished saying, “I think that the stability that I can bring, the experience I can bring will be a strength for the team [and] as long as the people of Kaiser agree, I’m happy to serve in that position.”