Featured Stories

Chamber meeting to address community's Villages board questions, concerns

Meeting to be held at 7:45 a.m. on Aug. 2 in Welches

Concerns and uncertainty over the future of the troubled Villages of Mt. Hood Board of Directors have prompted the Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce to address the issue at its upcoming regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

The meeting will be held at 7:45 a.m. in the Fireside Room at Mt. Hood Village RV and Vacation Cottage Resort, 65000 Highway 26 in Welches.

The Villages board has been on hiatus since February, after Clackamas County commissioners voted to dissolve it following a series of problems that included public bickering, ethics complaints and the resignation of half the board. In late June, commissioners voted to keep the board on hiatus after research by county staff showed that the Villages community was deeply split on how – and if – the board should be reformed.

Commissioner Jim Bernard is one of those who voted to keep the board on hiatus, citing a need to rebuild trust between the county and the Villages community. He’ll be attending the Aug. 2 meeting to field questions about the direction of the board.

Last week, Bernard said he doesn’t believe there’s a way to reform the past board with the same players.

“Right now, it’s just not feasible to start with the same board that we had problems with,” he said.

He also added that there has not been a tremendous outpouring of interest from new individuals who want to serve on the Villages board.

He hopes that will change in time.

“We need to get people more excited about getting involved in that group, and we need some more applicants,” he said.

However, in the absence of an organized board to represent the community, Bernard said he has been impressed by how well the community has pulled together to represent itself.

One example is how a recent proposal to allow for the construction of an RV park in Brightwood caused residents to rally in opposition. The owner of the park was ultimately denied a conditional use permit that would have allowed him to move ahead with the project.

“People were really scared that because the Villages (board) wasn’t there, they weren’t being represented,” Bernard said. “And I think we proved them wrong. The county commissioners were listening.”

The Aug. 2 meeting is intended to give residents a chance to ask questions about the board’s direction and possibly clear the air of rumors that might be circulating, explained Steve Graeper, the president of the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization.

Graeper also hopes it might be a step towards repairing some community wounds.

“There’s a real division up there, and we need to get that division healed,” Graeper said. “That’s kind of what we’re trying to do with the meeting at the chamber.”

In advance of the meeting, the public is encouraged to email their questions to Coni Scott, the president of the Mt. Hood Area of Chamber of Commerce, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The deadline to submit questions is Thursday, July 28.