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Behavior at Palisades meeting was disappointing

I am a member of the PNA (Palisades Neighborhood Association) Executive Committee, representing area 2. I would like to respond to the concerns and accusations leveled at the members during the June 6 meeting.

First of all, it was disappointing to witness the behavior of our neighbors who, in general, are better educated and more successful than the general population. Still, they allowed themselves to be inflamed by a few people presenting as fact some misleading and untrue claims. They were not properly informed and lost sight of the necessity of investing their own time to understand the background leading to the meeting. I would guess that few of them were aware of the facts and relied on those who presented incorrect information. I heard several cries from the audience that this was a democracy and therefore voting should proceed. It seems that they forgot that democracy succeeds by the votes of an informed population, not one relying on others to lead them with unverified claims presented as facts.

For example, let's review the behavior of one of the most vocal critics along with a few of his claims. His claims at the meeting will not stand up to close review. Each time he stood up he made accusations both at the meeting and in last week's Lake Oswego Review that were misleading and untrue. I cannot say that he did so intentionally, but at the least he is guilty of inflaming emotions with his smear tactics. It deserves a response based on facts.

He accused the PNA officers and area managers of wanting to keep power. There is no power to be had unless it's the opportunity to engage with the planning commission and the Lake Oswego City Council. The present PNA Board has attempted to do just that in support of the community at large. There was no individual, single, selfish objective, but rather an attempt to address all the issues of sports fields, dog parks, neighborhood traffic, density, new housing developments, and many other important issues. Another claim was that the PNA Board was in support of Avamere, but in fact the committee hired a lawyer to help fight approval. It lost and PNA now has a nearly $2,000 outstanding lawyer fee, yet to be paid.

In answer to the claim for an immediate election, the chair's response was that no vote should proceed without the opportunity for the neighborhood to hear the goals of each candidate. Furthermore, there was real confusion about whether a vote was in fact required. The confusion has been resolved and a vote will be held June 28.

There were 10 active serving members of the PNA Board, not seven as claimed by one of the dissenters. Others claim to be area managers but the board has no record of them, nor have they ever communicated with the board. Two of the current candidates were previously elected to be area managers, but one resigned two days after being elected and the other did not attend any meetings during his term of office. The PNA Board may have failed in communicating effectively with the membership, but there have been mailings, a Web site and announcements of open meetings.

I have limited space here so let me summarize: Each member of the board has contributed their time and energy to help in the betterment of our community. The issues addressed are many and diverse and require attending Lake Oswego City Council meetings, meeting with Lake Oswego department reps, board meetings, reviewing documents and city plans and finally writing an 83-page draft plan available on the Web site. The result of the attempts to hijack the meeting for single issues is that few of the executive board will continue to serve. Their experience, knowledge, and dedication to serving the community is now lost to us all.

Burton Levin

Lake Oswego