On Wednesday, June 6, the Palisades Neighborhood Association held its general meeting. On the agenda were the elections for a new board. This meeting had already been postponed as it was supposed to take place the third Thursday of April. According to the by-laws, the board should have stepped down that day.
Since last fall, I have attended a general meeting and several committee meetings. Each time, I was amazed by the negativity and the disrespect for other opinions that the executive board members showed. It was also frustrating to find out about the $800,000 extra that the turf fields were going to cost due to delays in their installation, delays caused directly by the PNA board actions Moreover, I found out that some of the 13 areas of the neighborhood were represented by people who even didn't live in those areas. Last week, as the elections for a new board were on the meeting agenda, hundreds of neighbors thought it was time for a change. We didn't have any hidden agenda, just the desire to see true representation of the neighborhood. All of us, running for the 17 positions, are very involved in the neighborhood and in the community. We are library volunteers, school volunteers, coaches, we have attended city councils but mainly, although we didn't really know each other before the elections, we share something important: We know the neighbors in our own area and we all agree that the PNA board doesn't represent us.
When we arrived at the general election meeting, we found out that the PNA chairman had just decided to postpone the elections. He knew our names were on the ballot but didn't feel necessary to inform us of the decision beforehand. In a few minutes, more than a hundred neighbors from all over Palisades, shocked by the election postponement, rallied to the meeting and demanded that the elections take place. Although some of the board members agreed that the elections should proceed, the chairman unilaterally refused motion after motion to hold the elections.
This was supposed to be a 'neighborly' meeting. The PNA board's total contempt for the majority of its members made a joke of the democratic process. Its call to the police department proves how much respect they have for their neighbors.
Brigitte Howley is a member of the Palisades Neighborhood Association of Lake Oswego.