Crooked River Ranch Roundup
Ranchers enjoy event
By John Bowler
The usual 25 or so Crooked River Ranch residents attended the new Ranch Homeowner Association board's first official monthly meeting on Sept. 19, which lasted an unusually long 3.5 hours.
While most meetings last about two hours, long initial meetings are not unprecedented or unusual for new boards.
The meeting format was somewhat of a departure in decorum from those chaired by prior president Ted Cook. New President Ben Johnson conducted business with careful observance of Robert's Rules and recognized or called his board colleagues by their last name preceded by "director" instead of by first name.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere was friendly, informal and in good humor during the orderly meeting. Johnson maintained control of the meeting with a smile and moved things along in a businesslike manner. Secretary Gail Day helped him stay on track with the complex agenda a couple of times.
For the first time in recent memory, the minutes of several previous meetings were reviewed for errors and several corrections made which took up roughly 30 minutes. This process had been handled as a consent item outside the meeting in the past.
The issue of a tractor replacement costing roughly $30,000 for the Ranch Road Department was reviewed, much the same as it had been in the previous week's work session. The issue was again referred to the next work session, because its purchase would seriously dent the capital reserve fund and the board was reluctant to commit to it without further input about how critical the need is for it.
It struck some attendees as curious why road department supervisor, George Gregory, was not present to provide details of the need for this equipment. When asked about that this past week Gregory said the board facilitator assigned to his department, Director Vince Pelly Sr., was responsible for presenting the data to the board, which he did.
Two other old business items, which the board had considered in several previous meetings, were finally put to motions to disapprove: the putting green proposed last year to be across Country Club Road from Macpherson Park by the Alternative Resource Ad Hoc Committee, and the fitness center proposed several months ago by Judy Callaghan to be situated in the clubhouse.
Both motions to disapprove those two projects passed. Along with the tractor purchase, the projects fell victim to a growing concern about an income shortfall to fund some Ranch expenditures.
The concern was raised back in 2006 by then president Frank Wood, when he charged the Long-range Planning Committee with examining alternative forms of Ranch governance, which would bring in more revenue.
The committee's research concluded that community incorporation was the only practical governance -- an unpopular conclusion -- and the committee subsequently disbanded.
After five ensuing years of apparently healthy annual reports, the shortage of funds issue has recently been brought up again by various Ranch officials. So far, nothing concrete beyond more conservative financial management has been initiated to improve income.
Meanwhile, Ranch buildings and equipment have deteriorated further and the funds to repair or replace some of them have not been available.
Income shortfall is a serious concern of Budget Audit Committee Chairwoman Marilynne Keyser, newly elected Treasurer Herb Powers and his predecessor George Lynn, all of whom brought it up at the most recent meeting as well as previously.
The problem is scheduled for re-examination at the upcoming joint meeting of the HOA board and the Budget Audit Committee scheduled for 2 p.m., Sept. 28, in the Juniper Room.
Two remaining agenda items -- the new architectural review form, and the Ranch vision, mission and slogan, were put off to future meetings for action, and the board decided to vote on a revised Ranch administrator position later by email. The meeting finally adjourned at 9:33 p.m.
First Harvest Festival
Saturday saw the culmination of a multi-sponsor joint venture of several Ranch organizations and eateries -- the first Harvest Festival.
The event was patched together in a month's time, with the noble objective of raising money to help the Seniors maintain the Old Ranch House which some people now refer to as Heritage House.
According to one of the planners, Paulette Nordin, chairwoman of the Phase Reps, they also thought it should be a multi-faceted event Ranchers would enjoy in the pleasant weather that the Ranch often experiences in September. It was announced in CRR News, by a banner at the Ranch entrance and scattered posters.
Accordingly, they reserved Macpherson park, for Sept. 24, invited the Sandbagger to provide a beer garden, collaborated with the Seniors Dutch Oven Group to organize chili cook-offs with prizes donated by the Big Dog and Sandbagger, hired a band for a barn dance in the afternoon, asked the Crafters Guild and Seniors to display their wares in a tent bazaar on the lawn and conducted a number of contests like pumpkin painting, scarecrow designing and twist dancing, also with donated prizes.
The chili was delicious, scarecrows clever, the twist and music in harmony and energetic, the weather sublime and fun was had by all.
At press time the proceeds had not been counted but the Seniors' coffers will definitely benefit. In short, everybody agreed the first Harvest Festival was a big success all around and is worth building on to repeat as a fall event in future years.