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Crooked River Ranch Roundup

CRR board sworn in

by: Photo by John Bowler - Attendance was down at the Crooked River Ranch Fall Festival, held Saturday. The event was sponsored by the Ranch Dutch Oven Club, which donates proceeds to the Ranch Seniors.

By John Bowler
   CRR Correspondent
   In the "good old days" which some long-term Ranch residents like to recall, the swearing in of newly elected board members and the election of officers to guide the board through the new term of office used to be a well-attended board meeting commensurate with the import of the occasion.
   Those days seem to be a relic of the past. Only a half-dozen attendees were at the Sept. 3 workshop and swearing in of new board members and election of board officers. Even one of the newly elected members, Mitch Poppert, was absent without anybody explaining the reason.
   It is worth noting that attendance at Ranch governance meetings has traditionally been determined by the level of comfort Ranchers feel about how the community is being managed.
   When disputes about governance are rampant, sales of homes seem to go down along with prices, roads seem to get worse, and there seems to be increased crime, but Ranch board meetings are well attended and residents vocal in protest.
   Ranchers don't see any of those problems of late, which keeps their confidence in how their community is being governed at a high level. It's also generally accepted that voter apathy regarding community governance is fraught with potential for change if carried to extremes.
   History is rife with examples of communities falling into disarray when voters stop taking time to go to the polls. This last election saw only 555 votes cast out of 2,800-plus eligible voters, versus over 700 voters in 2011; an unhealthy trend if it continues.
   After swearing in of new directors present -- Paula Bartolomei, Vene Dunham and James Dille -- by President Ben Johnson, the election of new officers was held. It resulted in re-election of Johnson to another term as president, and Herb Parker, treasurer, plus election of directors Kit Henderson as vice president, and Bartolomei, secretary -- all by secret written ballot.
   Johnson congratulated the new directors and officers and thanked retiring directors Vince Pelly, Gail Day, Jay Nordin and George Lynn for their service on the board. He made special note of last year's vice president, Jim Martin, not running again for that office this year because of his impending move off the Ranch to a new residence near Portland.
   Johnson added that Martin worked very hard at discharging the duties of vice president, and that he was most appreciative of Martin's significant contributions to that office to the benefit of the Ranch.
   Next, Ranch Administrator Judy LaPora introduced a new employee to the office staff, Brandon Olde, a recent college graduate with an accounting major. His primary job is bookkeeping assistant and he also recorded the Monday meeting highlights, which form the basis for the official meeting minutes.
   His addition to the office staff will allow LaPora to concentrate on administrative duties, such as collecting delinquent dues payments.
   LaPora reported the past-due membership fees situation has vastly improved to a current total of $23,000. That's down from roughly $170,000 when she took over as Ranch administrator in January.
   It's a noteworthy achievement and directly attributable to LaPora's efforts, according to Johnson. It has been accomplished by her working directly with delinquent residents to fashion a payment plan they can afford. That avoids attaching liens which is expensive to debtor and collector alike.
   LaPora also said she was considering forming a publicity committee that is still in the planning stage and she would like to hear from Ranchers interested in working on such a committee.
   The Ranch had a Publicity Committee years ago that was chaired by Director Kitty Pullen, who owned the Sandbagger restaurant with her husband. They were quite active in promoting events of all kinds on the Ranch.
   From the looks of the sparse crowd at the Fall Festival last Saturday noon, its attendance undoubtedly would have benefited from additional advance publicity; e.g. it couldn't even be found posted on the Ranch website Saturday morning.
   A check Sunday morning with Sue Schneider, of the Ranch Dutch Oven Club, the sponsor of the Fall Festival, confirmed that the Saturday event fell well below its anticipated attendance and sales targets.
   Schneider confirmed it was primarily due to lack of sufficient advance publicity. She said the Ranch Dutch Oven Club intends to correct that deficiency next year. Proceeds from the festival are donated every year to the Ranch Seniors by the Dutch Oven Club.