Residents want to reginite Parker Crest Neighborhood Association
Frustrated with inactivity from their neighborhood association (NA) a handful of Parker Crest residents took matters into their own hands and called a meeting Thursday, June 13. At the meeting, West Linn City Councilor Bill Relyea's 14-year term as Parker Crest NA president came to an end.
Michael Ray was elected president at the meeting, Thomas Meier was elected vice president and Sue McHugh secretary and treasurer.
Relyea, who was president of the Parker Crest NA since 2005, was not active in this role for much of his presidency, according to neighbors at the meeting. They said it had been 10 years since a Parker Crest NA meeting was held, though the section of the City's municipal code concerning neighborhood associations requires they hold at least one meeting per year.
Parker Crest isn't unique in this regard.
Barrington Heights, Tanner Woods, Hidden Creek (BHT), Bolton, Marylhurst, Skyline Ridge, and Sunset neighborhood associations failed to submit annual neighborhood association reports for 2018, as required by the City. But,according to the City's meeting schedule, Bolton held 11 meetings in 2018, Marylhurst had seven, though the minutes indicated no official voting could occur at six of them because a quorum (the minimum number of people needed to hold an official vote) was not present. Skyline Ridge had one but reported no meeting minutes and Sunset held four.
Parker Crest however, turned in its report for 2018 and in it stated, "Notification of meetings took place through the Parker Crest NA Facebook page – members are invited to attend the Neighborhood Association Presidents Meetings on the 3rd Thursday of each month. They are encouraged to use the public comments section of the meeting to raise issues which require a formal meeting or further discussion. No formal meetings were called for in 2018."
The Parker Crest Facebook page mentioned one NA presidents' meeting in December 2018. Prior to that, only one mention of NA presidents' meetings or Parker Crest NA meetings had been made since 2015. The Facebook page mentioned a meeting in August 2017 and on Aug. 25, 2015, a message notifying a Parker Crest meeting apparently held the previous day was posted to the Facebook page.
"The Parker Crest NA will hold a Special Meeting on August 24, 2015 at 5:15 PM, the location of the meeting is 3016 Sabo Lane, West Linn, OR 97068. The purpose of the special meeting is to discuss the Agenda items that were tabled during the monthly meeting held on August 10, 2015," the post states.
Relyea offered his take on why activity of the NA died after a couple of years of his presidency.
"At that point we were meeting on a monthly basis but there were a lot of expectations about where we were going as a neighborhood association and there was a lot of fall out from the neighborhood association and people that were participating because the City, at least from the neighborhood association's perspective, wasn't doing its part to live up to its obligations and so people were disenfranchised and disheartened with that and so people that started attending the meetings started dwindling to the point where I was the only one showing up at meetings," Relyea said.
The six neighbors besides Relyea in attendance at the June 13 meeting were happy that one was finally called.
"I've been waiting 10years for this meeting, so thank you very much for calling it," McHugh said. "I have asked for an election…This is the happiest day I've had in a long time."
The neighbors were eager to reboot the neighborhood association under new leadership and felt a new president might be able to spur more activity within the neighborhood association. The neighbors were also concerned about with Relyea's role as a councilor conflicting with his duties as NA president. When Relyea told the assembled neighbors that he handed the neighborhood association reigns over to his wife and named his daughter secretary and treasurer when his council term began, they were even more concerned.
Parker Crest residents said those decisions should have been decided with a vote by the members of the neighborhood association. And according to municipal code and Parker Crest NA bylaws, that's how the transfer should have been handled.
"I messaged him when he was elected city councilor and said, 'What will happen to our neighborhood?' He sure didn't tell me his wife would become president," McHugh said.
The June 13 meeting was supposed to be a by-the-books election for a new Parker Crest NA executive board. However, Alice Richmond, a founding member of the Parker Crest NA who was at the June 13 meeting, felt the elections were not legitimate.
"The Parker Crest NA meeting on June 13, 2019 had only (six) people including me. This number does not represent a quorum of the neighborhood," Richmond said.
According to the Parker Crest Neighborhood Association Bylaws Richmond is right. The by-laws state, "A quorum constitutes 10% of those eligible to vote." Article III Sections 2 and 3 define eligible voters as anyone residing in or owning property within the Parker Crest NA boundaries. According to the City of West Linn's most recent estimate from 2013, Parker Crest has a population around 1,100.
But as it has been 10 years since the Parker Crest NA held a meeting, achieving a quorum of 110 residents would present quite a challenge to those trying to restart the NA, or even the more active NAs.
Despite Richmond's protests, it looks as though Ray, Meier and McHugh will carry on in their new leadership positions and try to reform the Parker Crest NA.
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