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Rhododendron CPO Minutes

January 21st, 2017
Hoodland Fire Station

Open Meeting:
President Steve Graeper called the meeting to order at 1:06 PM. 33 attendees, including the Board. Graeper introduced the board as well as guests; BCC Chair, Jim Barnard; Commissioner Paul Savas; Public and Governmental Affairs Representative, Amy Kyle; Chamber President, Coni Scott; Urban Planner, Mark Seder; Grant Writer, Becky Downard; and Candidate for BCC Position 5 appointment, Eleanore Hunter. Graeper noted that a quorum was present.

Graeper noted that attendance Sign-In sheets were at the front table and he urged everyone attending to be sure to sign-in. He also explained the Door Prize (Dinner Voucher for $60 at The Resort at the Mountain), which will be awarded at the conclusion of the meeting.

Secretary Report:
Graeper called for corrections or changes to the November 19, 2016 minutes that had been previously distributed. There were none. Barbara Novinger moved and Michelle Lamoreaux seconded, a motion to approve the November 19, 2016 minutes as distributed. Motion passed.

Treasurer’s Report:

Beginning Balance November 19, 2016: $ 539.85
General Fund: $ 25.00 Donations
Rhody Rising: $2,780.00 Individual donations
Checks Written:
Garden Fund: ($ 33.00) Novingers for supplies
General Fund: ($ 33.00) Annual Mt. Hood Chamber dues
Rhody Rising: ($1,300.00) Seder Architecture for draft design
Balances available:
Rhody Rising: $1,480.00
General Fund: $ 418.18
Garden Fund: $ 78.67
Balances available: $1,976.85

Land Use Applications:
No land use issues to address at this time. Graeper pointed out that the CPO’s major issue was for land use issues.

Old Business:
Rhody Memorial Garden Report: Merv Novinger gave the garden report. He stated that the garden committee would meet in March.

Road Clean up: Carol Haugk gave the road clean-up report. Due to the weather, there was no report.

Chamber Report: Carol Haugk gave the Chamber report. December 6 Chamber was the Volunteer Breakfast. It was a very well attended and received event. January 3rd the Chamber meeting topic was Rhody Rising, with Graeper as guest speaker.

Swinging Bridge Update: Graeper has been in contact with the Clackamas County Bridge and Road Division. They have received funding and the Swinging Bridge will be refurbished, hopefully as early as this summer.

Clackamas County BCC & Villages at Mt. Hood: The BCC decided at their Dec 19, 2016 Business meeting to dissolve The Villages at Mt. Hood.

Villages at Mt Hood/Pedestrian Implementation Plan: Graeper and Michelle Lamoreaux have been working on this project. The Clackamas County Planning Commission recommended, and the BCC has approved the plan, including some amendments that Graeper recommended during the BCC hearing. Graeper pointed out that it is this plan that got the ‘ball rolling’ for the Rhody Rising campaign.

CPO Boundary Change:
Graeper introduced Amy Kyle from Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs office. She spoke on the proposed boundary change and the role Clackamas County is playing. She assured the CPO that the county was making every reasonable effort to contact affected properties within the change area to insure that everyone who wishes to express an opinion is given an opportunity to be heard. County mailed Post Cards, placed ads in the Mountain Times, and will be attending other meetings of organizations on the mountain. There was a lengthy discussion regarding the post cards.

Graeper then gave a history of the change, reasons behind the proposed change, and explained some of the snags the CPO has run into during the change process; not least of which, was the SLAPP suit brought against the MHC-CPO. He explained that the boundary change process was halted until the final rulings from the courts were obtained. It took considerably longer than he had anticipated to get the final ruling.

Graeper then referred to the wall map showing the existing boundary and the proposed boundary. He pointed out that the proposed boundary was primarily derived from the boundaries of the Rhododendron Water Association and the Lady Creek Water System boundary maps. He explained the biggest benefit and major reasoning behind the requested boundary change is that it would give the Census Bureau a more definitive boundary to use for obtaining data, which could give a more accurate view of the economic situation in our area.

He went on to explain that currently, the Census Bureau uses Zip Codes for obtaining economic status and income data. The 97049 Zip Code does not provide an accurate portrayal of the economic and income status for Rhododendron and the area immediately surrounding. He explained that the 97049 Zip encompass’ a much larger area, which includes not only Rhododendron, but all the way west, down the north side of US 26 and includes the entire Lolo Pass, Barlow Road, and Timberline Rim area. We need a truer picture in order to demonstrate to potential funding authorities that Rhododendron Water Association and the Lady Creek Water System are indeed areas whose population falls below the median household income. It is believed that if an income study were to be completed in the new boundary, the average household within the new boundary would fall below Oregon median household income levels. If that is the case, then the area could be designated a low-income area, thus qualifying each water system for state and federal grants and/or low interest funding assistance, which could be used to possibly improve infrastructure on both systems. It would also prove very beneficial to the Rhody Rising movement, when the time comes to look at possible funding sources.

The Rhody CPO has done all it can to inform and include businesses, property, renters, and homeowners, to become involved with the Rhody CPO and be informed of the boundary change process. Several letters have been submitted to the county in favor of the boundary change. Only two letters have been received in opposition, and both were from the same individual. All letters are a matter of record with the county.

Sharon Lamoreaux made, seconded by Ron Werronen, a motion to move forward with the boundary change and allow those in attendance, who live outside the current CPO Boundary, to vote on the motion to move forward with the boundary change. The motion passed unanimously. (Note: Mr. Werronen lives in the Woodlands neighborhood, which is outside the current CPO boundary, but within the proposed boundary. According to current CPO By-Laws, only members within the current CPO boundary are allowed to make motions and vote on motions. Mr. Werronen is an affected resident and is in favor of the proposed boundary change. This motion and the resulting vote were informational only.)

Commissioner Paul Savas spoke and wants to make sure we have contacted as many people as possible. Graeper agreed, but once again stated how hard the CPO has worked to reach the public and inform everyone of the proposed boundary change. He reiterated that the process has been going on for nearly 10 years and if there was any dissention, we would certainly know about it by now. The proposed change would expand the number of households from approximately 110 to over 700. He espoused that with the dissolution of the Villages, the greater representation this area has with county process, the better.

Chair Bernard mentioned that all the communications and CPO outreach completed over the past 10 years has been more than sufficient to garner comments for or against the boundary change. He expressed that there will be a public hearing before the BCC, which will also allow for comment. He was at a loss to know what more the county could do to inform everyone of the process and allow for everyone’s input.

It was decided that the Rhody CPO and PGA office would work together to continue the notification process. The county will place another ad in the Mountain Times and Sandy Post, and PGA will contact Government Camp CPO and Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce to further publicize the proposal and solicit feedback. After this process, the BCC will ultimately be able to make an informed decision when the issue is brought before them.

Sharon Lamoreaux asked about the time line. Amy Kyle said it is expected that BCC would be hearing testimony and making a decision sometime around end of March or early April after staff submits there final report.

Rhododendron Downtown Redevelopment:
Graeper gave some background on the “Rhody Rising” project, as it is now affectionately referred. Three main goals that we wish to achieve by the “Rhody Rising” effort are:

  1. Increase bike and pedestrian “Safety” by installing sidewalks, safe crossing areas, and street lighting.
  2. Create a traffic-calming environment by getting ODOT and the traveling public to recognize Rhododendron as a “Business Community”. This is achieved with defined and safe business access and egress routes.
  3. Beautify and Improve the overall look and feel of Rhododendron by giving it a “Community identity” to encourage economic development and make it a place where visitors and residents alike would enjoy stopping, shopping and playing in.

Graeper introduced Mark Seder, Seder Architect and Urban Design, LLC., and Becky Downard, owner of My Place to Learn and seasoned Grant Writer. Graeper explained that he has been working with both of them to initially get the effort off the ground and he reminded everyone that at the November CPO meeting a motion was made and passed to move forward with the Rhody Rising effort and a motion to form a committee to help further the dream.

Downard then spoke about the process and handed out an application she and Seder developed for people who are interested in being involved on the planning committee to complete. A discussion followed on how the committee would be chosen. Downard stated that applications will be accepted from both people inside and outside the area and applications will be accepted up to February 28. Ultimately, it is anticipated that a well-rounded and representative committee of five people will be chosen to lead the project further toward realization.

Applications were available at the meeting and are available via PDF by contacting the Rhododendron CPO email address at:

Graeper went on to explain that the Rhody Rising fund raising effort is still on going. While we have reached our initial goal of $1300.00, Grant funders look very favorably on communities that are willing to help themselves. The RR effort has entered into Phase 2 and a Technical Assistance Grant of $5000.00 is being applied for. However, with $1480.00 left in the RR account after paying the initial $1300, we are not far from achieving Phase 2 funding on our own. The funding will be used to create visual graphics, produce mailings, provide public meeting materials, and eventually move on to receiving some draft Rhododendron Town Center Vision Plans.

After Graeper completed his remarks, Coni Scott asked for a few moments. She began her remarks with how impressed the Chamber was with Graeper’s presentation on Rhody Rising at the Chamber meeting earlier in January. She said that the Chamber Board met after their meeting and has decided to donate $1,000.00 to the Rhody Rising Fund. Graeper, visibly moved, told Scott to pass on to the Chamber how grateful he and the CPO are for the Chambers continuing support. He then asked for a show of hands from those in favor of the redevelopment. The vast majority showed they were in favor of the project.

He stated that the community continues to prove we are willing to help ourselves. The interest in the committee and the donations received have proven that people in the community are willing to get involved in the Rhody Rising project and wish to see the dream realized through smart, thoughtful, and planned development of our community.

New Business:
Graeper brought up Directors and Officer’s insurance for the RCPO Board and all CPO’s county wide. He stated he was bringing this up because BCC was in the audience and he thought it helpful they hear the discussion. Graeper has been working with the Oak Grove CPO and others, to see if a joint policy would have lower premiums.

Jerry Cave, a local artist/Jeweler, commended Stephen Ferruzza, Al Forno Ferruzza Pizzeria, because Stephen is interested in developing an Artist’s Cooperative in the old Log Lodge building. It was expressed that as the Rhody Rising effort gains even more support, an Artist’s Cooperative in Rhododendron could be part of the economic development that grows out of our effort. Any artist’s in the area should contact Jerry or Stephen for more information.

Commissioner Paul Savas was asked to pull the winning door prize ticket. Barbara Novinger was the lucky winner of a $60.00 voucher for dinner at Altitude or Mallard’s restaurant’s at the Resort at the Mountain.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:48PM.

Date of next meeting will be March 18th, 2017. Time and location TBD.

Respectfully submitted,

Merv Novinger, Secretary

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