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PDF of Original Email

From: Steven Graeper
Date: Monday, June 4, 2012
Subject: June 5th Village Meeting
To: Villages MtHood
Cc: Larry Berteau

Dear Villages BOD,

I will not be able to attend tomorrows Villages BOD meeting.  However, I am glad to see on the agenda that there will be a conversation regarding the dwindling membership, the lack of willing BOD volunteers and the tremendous disregard the citizens of the area have for The Villages at Mt. Hood as a whole.  I am encouraged that the Villages Board is finally having this conversation, but I fear it may be too late.

 Unless drastic measures are taken by either the Board of County Commissioners and/or the Villages BOD, I believe the plug may need to be pulled on the life support that has been keeping The Villages alive.

 Created over 7 years ago, The Villages at Mt. Hood have very few successes to show for its efforts and 7 year existence.  The visions and projects that were the inspiration for the initial formation of The Villages have unfortunately fizzled and died and the promises made... were unkept.  Not to mention the in-fighting that has taken place amongst past and present members of the Board and between the Board and the citizens has created a less than positive attitude toward the whole Villages concept.

While I believe that the Village/Hamlet concept that was initially put forward by Clackamas County's Complete Community Citizen Participation Initiative, is a sound concept, somewhere along the line, at least where the Villages at Mt. Hood is concerned, there has been a tremendous disconnect.  Ever since August 2007, when the New "Ram Rodded" By-Laws were voted in with a wanton lack of regard for the By-Law amendment procedures that were in place at the time, the Villages Board, the County Liaison and for that matter, Clackamas County's whole Complete Community Initiative, has lacked credibility.

 Coupled with the apparent lack of support by the Villages Board and the cover-up and misrepresentations by the county concerning the Visitor Information Center fiasco, it is no wonder the citizens of the Hoodland area feel The Villages at Mt. Hood has let them down and has little to show since it was formed in late 2005 & early 2006.

 The trust and credibility that the community placed in the Villages Board and in Clackamas County have been sullied and forsaken. It also doesn't help matters that communication between the Villages and the community is non-existant.  The County Web site and the Villages own web site are not kept current and the only web site that has any semblance of current information is one that breeds contempt for the whole Villages process.

I am not normally one to criticize, without offering suggestions for improvement.
 However, in this case, I am at a loss to come up with any remedies to reinvigorate the lack luster Villages at Mt. Hood.  

I believe it is more a matter of rebuilding trust and credibility.  Unfortunately, Trust and credibility are hard values to regain once they have been violated.

Perhaps the plug should be pulled and this experiment chalked up as a dismal failure with hopefully many lessons learned.  Remember, there is no shame in admitting defeat.


Steven Graeper
Rhododendron via SW Portland