What is the main function of a neighborhood association? Aren't neighborhood associations supposed to protect the value of homes and protect a good quality of life for its neighbors?
A few months ago, during a Palisades Neighborhood Association meeting, a large crowd of angry people stormed in, and demanded association elections. They had a lawyer, yelling out his view of the rules, others kept yelling, and soon the police showed up. A few weeks later, this same group showed up at the neighborhood association election meeting and had each position filled by their people. A well-planned takeover of the association.
Meanwhile, the neighbors surrounding Lakeridge High School received a notice on their front doors offering lemonade and cookies, and notifying them of their intent to remove conditions of the l999 conditional use permit. This was extremely troubling to the neighbors, because, for the first six years, the school ignored the conditions of this permit. This disregard for conditions created quite a safety and livability nightmare for the neighborhood. Coaches, players, referees and spectators all parked in the neighborhood, everyday - and regularly disregarded the no parking signs for the fire lane. The small neighborhood street became the primary pick-up and drop-off area for the multitude of kids using the field. The six trees the school was required to plant for screening the neighborhood were left to die. Garbage littered the area; music and announcements were blared on their loudspeaker into the neighborhood.
After years of phone calls, letters and pictures, the city manager and police department met with the neighbors, and stated they would help get control to protect the neighborhood. 2005 and 2006 saw constant police presence. Citations and warnings were handed out, and the neighborhood slowly became safe and livable, again. In spring of 2007, the current principal was seen asking people to move their cars into the school's parking lots.
Back to the neighborhood association: I wrote to the Palisades Neighborhood Association and asked for their help in stopping the school district from requesting to drop the conditions of their conditional use permit, because of the years of problems imposed upon our neighborhood when the CUP was ignored. We went to the general meeting and once again the large group from the youth football program was there to vote. The association voted 90-15 to support the changes to the CUP, that were put in place to protect the neighborhood. Quite frankly, a number of those against the changes in the CUP did not attend this meeting because they felt their time would be wasted in this environment.
So what do you do when a special interest group takes over your neighborhood association and votes to promote an action that will be detrimental to your neighborhood?
Pat Dulin is a resident of Lake Oswego.