Smith looking to the future

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Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Last summer, Brandon Smith made the decision to not run again for Keizer City Council.

Come next month, Smith will indeed no longer be on the council, as Ken LeDuc takes over the seat.

“It’s bittersweet,” Smith said of leaving the council. “I enjoy what I do. I made a decision not to run. I don’t regret that. But I will miss it. There are things I worry about with the future. I want to be involved to help steer the path, to be a part of that.”

For Smith, that means waiting to be confirmed as part of the Parks Board starting next month. Down the road, that could include running for council once again.

“I think that’s something I could always do again someday,” Smith said. “I am 41, the youngest on the council. It’s something I would consider. I would have to look at the circumstances with family and work at that time.”

Smith is wanting to still have his voice be heard. In addition to the Parks Board, he would like to be part of the Planning Commission.

“When I decided not to run, I knew I still wanted to be involved,” Smith said. “I would also be interested in starting a new neighborhood association. It’s important to be involved.”

Smith became involved with the council in the fall of 2007, in the midst of Keizer Station discussions.

“The development of Keizer Station is a big deal,” he said. “The Area C development has been frustrating with the road blocks from Keep Keizer Livable and all of the delays. I would prefer to see the development well underway by now.”

One of Smith’s frustrations in regards to Keizer Station is the view he doesn’t care about the impact on neighborhoods.

“I live a half-mile from Area C,” he said. “Everything there would affect me. It is in my backyard. I disagree it will destroy the neighborhood.”

Smith pointed to the public service fee rejection in 2011 and the fire district change this year as two main things he didn’t accomplish as a councilor.

“But it was still the right thing to do,” Smith said of both issues. “It was the right thing to put it out to a vote. I voted for them. I thought they were the right thing to do.”

Smith doesn’t have a vote he regrets, since he did the necessary research.

“We always have time to do research, look at documentation and time to debate before we make a decision,” he said.

LeDuc and Marlene Quinn join the council in January, along with former mayor Dennis Koho.

“The advice I would have for them applies to so many places: you have to take time and find out how things work,” Smith said. “Learn the system. Don’t dive in with the intent to make a name for yourself. Learn how the process works. You have to take the time to learn where you are at.”

In the early fall, Smith agreed to run as a write-in candidate at the urging of supporters.

“I fully believe I would have won if I had run,” he said. “We gave it our best shot. I don’t regret going through the write-in process. I’d rather go through the process and lose than not be in at all. I wouldn’t want to just play it safe.”

Smith sees growth as being a topic, both short- and long-term.

“That (Keizer Station) area has a ton of changes coming,” he said. “It all will be good for the city. We have to have more room. There’s a big debate between those who want to grow and those who don’t. I don’t think we can stay status quo. Financially it doesn’t work.”

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