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CCRs enforced at CRR

By John Bowler
   CRR Correspondent
   Trashy yards, barking dogs and bothersome lighting are among the top offenses when neighbors report violations to Crooked River Ranch's covenants, conditions and restrictions.
   Usually referred to as CCRs, the guidelines are provided to new property owners when they purchase property at Crooked River Ranch and automatically become members of the CRR Homeowners Association -- the largest in Oregon.
   The objective of the CCRs is to provide a common sense guideline, which is not unlike similar guidelines or codes in most Central Oregon communities, for living at CRR. There are few Ranch regulations that could be described as unusual or exceptional.
   How many new property owners read the 14-page document is questionable. It typically consists of poorly reproduced copies written in arcane legal terms and small type.
   Renters also are supposed to be issued the same document by landlords but there is no guarantee or check on that.
   Nevertheless the vast majority of Ranchers never run afoul of the CCRs or tangle with the CCR Review Committee, the local group of nine volunteers empowered by the CRR Association Board to administer and enforce the CCRs when appropriate.
   The CCRs supplement Jefferson and Deschutes County codes. Both counties help the committee enforce those CCRs which comply with county codes, but not those that don't.
   The CCR Review Committee is chaired by Sue Parker, who has been a member of it for five years, with three of those as chair. She also is a vice president of the CRR Riders Horse Club she helped found over nine years ago.
   Parker explained how to report a CCR violation and what happens to the report upon submission:
   1. Obtain a CCR complaint form at the association office, complete and submit it.
   2. It will be logged, reviewed by two committee members, who will assign a case number, call, visit or visit several times to validate and enforce as necessary.
   3. A letter is sent to violators requesting that they take corrective action and respond with results in 15 to 30 days.
   4. If no response is received, a second, stronger letter is sent with threat of a fine or turning the complaint over to the appropriate county for enforcement.
   5. Jefferson County reports monthly to the committee on action taken with each complaint and case it closed.
   Parker said most reported CCR violations concern excessive accumulation of trash on property, noise from barking dogs or vehicles such as motorcycles and off-road types, and intrusive lighting at night.
   "The committee would be more effective enforcing CCRs when no county code is involved if the association board would be more forceful collecting unpaid fines the committee has levied on violators," she said. "We also need support of the fines schedule submitted to the board and answers to the specific questions we posed."
   She commended enforcement from Jefferson County, particularly noting "code enforcement officer Russ Contreras, who has been very cooperative and effective following up on cases, reporting results and taking effective action against violators. He has helped in reducing the number of violations this past year."
   Praising Ranchers who comply with the CCRs, Parker encouraged them to identify violators who don't -- a problem more prevalent among renters and absentee owners.
   "We're here to help CRR residents help themselves and are reviewing the CCRs to make them clearer, more descriptive and easier to understand," she said.
   Lions Awards
   Two Lions Club members were awarded in December for their outstanding service.
   President Jim Stagl presented the Melvin Jones Award to Lloyd McKenny and Dean Powers, for their outstanding service.
   "This is a special award named for the founder of Lions," noted Lions member Judy Berg. "We fellow Lions are very proud of both men and the volunteer work they have done and continue to do to benefit our community."
   McKenny has been a familiar figure at local events over the years, gleefully conducting kids on joy rides in the Lions' popular choo-choo train.
   Powers has chaired the very active Ranch Architectural Committee for many years.
   Dog poisonings
   Ranchers would be well advised to not let their dogs wander unattended or otherwise allowed to feed on random sources of food and carcasses lying around because they may have been poisoned.
   Josh Capehart, who works out of the Redmond Humane Society and was appointed by the governor as a state humane agent, confirmed four CRR dog deaths since Dec. 4.
   Two are known to have died by strychnine poison, a third is highly suspected of it and the fourth had symptoms of being poisoned on Quail Road in Deschutes County.
   Rancher Eric Stafford, whose dog was confirmed as dying from being poisoned, says he has heard of several other dogs who died the same way in the High Cone area and one on Quail Road.
   Capehart is in charge of the investigation and working in cooperation with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and CRR residents.
   Stafford has been instrumental in sounding the alarm about the deaths through local TV stations and conducting his own investigation with an infrared camera. He said he has identified a suspect near the spot a poisoned deer carcass was found.
   "Owners who have pets suspected of being poisoned should take them to a vet immediately," Capehart suggested.
   Terrebonne Veterinary Clinic has treated several dogs that may have been poisoned, and one that a state lab confirmed died of strychnine poisoning.
   If anyone sees any activity that could be connected with pet poisoning it should be reported to 911. Capehart can be reached at 923-0282.
   Audit online
   The long-awaited 2006 CRR audited financial statements are now available.
   According to Aaron Palmquist, CRR community manager, the statements are accessible at www.crookedriverranch.com.