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Mountain Park has seen changes

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Recently I made the decision to resign from my position on the Mountain Park Board of Directors.

I was happy to have been appointed to the board in April of 2005, and then gratified to have been elected by the homeowners in March of 2007. Prior to serving as a director, I also did committee work for a year and a half. Nearly 5-1/2 years of service has given me a true appreciation of our beautiful community! Before I fade into the background, however, I would like to offer a few comments to the members of the association.

1) Many changes have taken place in the last year. We have a new General Manager, Elsa Lemoine. If you have not been to our Recreation Center lately, pay a visit. You will be treated as a valued resident at the newly renamed Mountain Park 'Clubhouse.' You also will notice a new community logo as well as the new slogan, 'Nature's Neighborhood.'

2) At the upcoming annual meeting you will not only be electing new board members, but you'll be asked to vote for for an annual cost of living adjustment in association dues. The CPI of the Portland metro area is currently around 3.5% per year. In Mountain Park, our cost of living adjustment is to keep up-to-date with our ever increasing expenses of landscaping, maintenance work on pathways and general upkeep of the 175 acres of common area. Mountain Park celebrates its 40th birthday this year, and for the first time in its history we will be voting to keep up with inflation. We must set this foundation first if we are ever to entertain the possibility of raising funds for capital expenditures. I urge all Mountain Park homeowners to vote yes on this increase, and take the opportunity to hear directly about our community at the annual meeting next Thursday, March 13h, 7 p.m. at the Clubhouse.

3) A change happened this year in the board member election process. The nominating committee can now exclude from the ballot those who they choose not to nominate.

Limiting the number of applicants on the ballot is just plain wrong. The homeowners of Mountain Park should continue to decide who should be on the Board without censorship from this committee.

4) Mountain Park CC and R's say a board member does not have to be a resident. This clause was written because when the association was established 40 years ago Mountain Park simply didn't have enough residents to draw a board of directors from. With 8,000 people living in Mountain Park, certainly there are enough well-qualified members from which to choose seven board positions. Can a non-resident do a better job of setting policies and agendas contributing to these goals than someone who actually calls Mountain Park home every day?

5) In the new, redesigned Parkways newsletter, there are no letters to the editor. A venue for communicating with fellow homeowners en masse no longer exists. Members may ask questions and make comments at the Mountain Park Web site, but these messages are reviewed and addressed prior to publication. A free exchange of ideas is what keeps our community connected and I hope that will be restored.

6) The last comment I would like to make is that the Mountain Park Web site should have a list of the top three items the board is working on each month. Every resident should be able see what is going on at a glance. I believe the No. 1 item should be bringing back the gem of Mountain Park - the pool. I have always been and always will be, a believer in that mission and hope that it will continue to be a focus of discussion.

I wish all the residents of Mountain Park all the best in the future.

Tom Brooks, Lake Oswego, is a former director for the Mountain Park Home Owner Association.