When three-fourths of lots are sold, residents will gain control

The Forest Heights neighborhood began life as an investment by the Nauru Phosphate Royalty Trust, operated by the nation of Nauru.

The tiny South Pacific island country, about 2,500 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia, made heaps of money from phosphate mining and created a means to invest the money worldwide.

Among other areas, the Nauru (pronounced NAH-roo) trust invested in real estate. It built a skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia, and, in 1988, stumbled across 600 acres of vacant, residentially zoned land near Portland.

The trust hired Portland developer Homer Williams to oversee initial construction on the land and developers Dan Grimberg and George Marshall to serve as project managers.

In creating the Forest Heights homeowners association, the trust, as allowed by the planned community's bylaws, named Grimberg and Marshall to the board of directors that oversees the association.

The bylaws call for control of the Forest Heights Homeowners Association to switch from the Nauru trust to the homeowners once 75 percent of the community's lots have been sold for development.

Sixty-three percent, or about 1,200 of the 1,901 Forest Heights lots, are full or under development. Most neighbors think that they'll reach the 75 percent goal by fall 2003.

The directors' board announced earlier this year it would switch to an on-site managing company and stop using Portland-based Sterling Property Services Inc. as its management firm.

Savings from the move were estimated at more than $225,000 yearly, money that could ultimately defray the costs of a $2.5 million community center.

Ñ Andy Giegerich

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