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PNA board not given proper time

Less than 48 hours before the Palisades Neighborhood Association's June 6 General Meeting and election, 17 residents called and informed the PNA Board that they wished to be on the ballot for the election.

At about that same time, several Palisades residents also contacted the board to inform it that PNA residents were soliciting signatures on proxies based on misleading and inflammatory allegations. Our board became very concerned about vote fairness and transparency. The new candidates had never previously contacted the association to request inclusion on the slate of candidates. A newsletter with the notice of the meeting had only one slate of candidates. Had this group contacted the board, their slate would have also been published and the meeting organized to accommodate the public presentation of views by all candidates.

A decision was made to postpone the election due to the genuine concern for those residents who were unaware of the new slate and were entitled to have a voice in the outcome. The current board asked the city for guidance on the election and adhering to the city's citizen involvement guidelines. The city informed the board it could not intervene in the association's matters and the board must interpret the association bylaws. Without any prior notice to the membership at large about the new candidates, an agenda of other business and guest speakers, and limited time (two hours allotted by the Lake Oswego School District for use of its facilities), it was decided that the objectives of full public notice, information and participation could be best met by a brief delay in holding the election.

Our goal is to have a transparent election and inform all association members about all the candidates and their positions. A number of the persons present at the June 6 general meeting who disagreed with that goal chose to express their disagreement in ways that were disruptive to the meeting. Unfortunately, because of the decision to postpone the meeting and safeguard the election process we have come under attack by the new candidates. The board feels justified that we did the right thing.

We planned to send information about all the candidates and their positions to every household. Unfortunately the new group seeking office is demanding a meeting within 15 days, depriving the board of adequate time to do so. It appears that the proxy group is in a hurry to assume neighborhood association matters.

While there may frequently be difference in views, opinions and interest, the mission of the association is to represent the interests of all residents and not just single or special interests. A community must be willing to work together and compromise and it was within that spirit that we tried to work.

The neighborhood plan has been drafted and we hope that the plan will not be delayed by any of the new officers. The plan committee has worked very hard to have the plan follow the timeline originally established, and fit into the planning commission's and city council's busy schedules. We have worked on the neighborhood plan since 2004 and during that time we have solicited input from residents. The plan is a culmination of all neighbors' views expressed in the 2005 Citizen Survey and close to 20 meetings held in 2006. Most of the new candidates never attended any of the neighborhood plan meetings.

After as much as four years of public service, several of the current board members have decided not to run for an additional one-year term. We are a group that is truly passionate about maintaining our neighborhood livability for all citizens. We hope that the new officers will continue to work to the betterment of our entire association. We remain available to the new leadership to help advance those goals.

Becky Salsburg is the acting secretary of the Palisades Neighborhood Association. She submitted this on behalf of the Palisades Neighborhood Association Executive Committee.