Leading the community of Weed toward revitalization and continued recovery from the Boles Fire are Ken Palfini’s top priorities as the city’s new mayor.
Supporting new businesses, developing a five year plan to revamp downtown Weed, bringing more attention to trail and park projects, and finishing the city’s general plan are all on Mayor Palfini’s mental calendar for the year ahead.
“Our little city has been extremely busy as we recover from the Boles Fire,” Palfini said. He looks forward to new businesses, such as the Dollar General store that just opened, as well as the Grocery Outlet that he thinks will open sometime in the spring or summer.
“I think we’re doing an extremely good job. It’s been a long trial with the fire, but we’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “Even though it was a tragedy, new life and energy springs forth from that destruction. It’s kind of exciting in a way.”
Rebuilding Weed’s community center is one project Palfini referred to as an example of the city’s renewed energy.
He said he’d like to see a couple of ongoing projects wrapped up by the end of his one year term as mayor. These include finishing Weed’s general plan, obtaining a water agreement with Roseburg and completeing the botanical garden and wildlife refuge that’s been on the radar for more than 20 years.
“I’d really like to find an agreement that works for both the citizens and Roseburg without cost being the major factor,” he said.
Longer-term goals for Mayor Palfini include a development plan for the downtown area and a trail system linking the cities of Weed, Mount Shasta and Dunsmuir.
“Personally, I’d really like to develop a five year plan to revamp the downtown area,” he said. “We started working on this before the fire. That put a hitch in the giddy-up, but now I’d like to get back to it. I want to really highlight College of the Siskiyous and our neighbors in surrounding communities.”
A lifetime resident of Siskiyou County, Palfini has been living in Weed for the past 30 years.
He began serving on Weed City Council in 2010 because he “wanted to see if we could really make things happen in the city.”
Between then and now, Palfini said he’s seen the city take “some really great strides through council action... We’ve created some great infrastructure. We have two new water tanks, a new well, underground power lines, new curbs and gutters, new streets. Just a huge amount of work in all departments.”
Other improvements in the past five years include a new city administrator, implementation of ordinances addressing vacancy issues, and obtaining grants through the fire department to help ease shortfalls in the public facilities budget.
In addition to deep roots in the area, the Palfini family has a legacy in local government. Palfini’s mother was the mayor of Mount Shasta in the 1970s.
For more than 35 years, Palfini has been an agent with Farmers Insurance in Mount Shasta and actively involved in many local sports programs: “Everything from little league to the Mount Shasta ski team,” he said.
Palfini said he contributes to his community through civic engagement. He’s a board member for the Family and Community Resource Center of Weed and a member of Weed Pride, what he refers to as “a loose association of friends that works on civic improvements.”
He sits on several city committees, including the Collier Interpretive Rest Center committee, solid waste, Siskiyou Area Government Entity, the water committee, and a joint trail committee along with representatives from Mount Shasta and Dunsmuir.
Palfini said he thinks Weed City Council demonstrates great teamwork. “Overall we’re a fairly unanimous group. I think we’re very forward thinking and tend to move as a group.”
He said he appreciates hearing from the public and would like to encourage citizens to continue participating in city council meetings.
“Bringing issues forward is a great thing and participation is a great thing. Sometimes we focus on divisive issues,” Palfini said, referring to the most recent meeting at which council had a split vote on whether or not to pursue opening a medical cannabis dispensary. “I’d like to see more things that bring us together.”
“Overall, I believe the citizens should speak to the council and trust the council. We’ve made some extremely good decisions over the past four or five years, and I think the progress in Weed is evidence of that.”