Mayor on Board with Cherriots
On sunny summer days, Cathy Clark can’t resist riding her Honda CTX700 motorcycle to work but she usually takes the Route 19 Cherriots bus.
Clark leaves her car at a park and ride, which is less than 2 miles from her home in Keizer and takes the bus to Salem. It might be difficult to find a busier Keizer resident-- or one who’s a stronger advocate for public transit.
She has been an 11-year member of Keizer City Council and is serving her second term as Mayor. She serves on two regional transportation planning groups: Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study and Mid-Willamette Area Commission on Transportation.
“To me, transportation is a health, safety, equity and an employment issue,” Clark said. The Mayor’s advocacy for robust transportation options goes beyond her duties as a community leader. One of her daughters doesn’t drive and uses Cherriots as part of her daily routine.
Why she rides
Besides serving in voluntary positions, Clark works as an executive assistant with the Governor’s Office at a building on the Capitol Mall.
For Clark, a 20-minute ride on Cherriots is an opportunity to listen to music and catch up on reading. It’s personal time to prepare for the workday or relax at day’s end. She likes not having to worry about traffic or parking.
“It simplifies my life. I love that,” Clark said.
She has occasionally used the Cherriots Regional 2X bus to travel across rural Polk County and meet up with her husband, Kevin, who is Fire Chief for the West Valley Fire District.
Clark enjoys hearing the perspectives of her fellow bus passengers. She’s met other state workers, young people on the way to school, and once provided career advice to a homeless young man with exceptional mechanical skills.
“I’ve met some absolutely delightful people that I would not have met otherwise,” Clark said.
Salem-Keizer residents, who routinely drive themselves to work, should give Cherriots a try, Clark said. Commuters can look forward to a stress-free ride with a professional driver at the wheel, she said.
Clark will soon be riding Cherriots less because of a new work assignment located outside of the Capitol Mall. She will be working at a state office near the Salem Municipal Airport, where Cherriots is harder to access.
Keizer’s Mayor will continue to use Cherriots to get to meetings in downtown Salem and is looking forward to 2019 when Cherriots plans to add Saturday and Sunday bus service.
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