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For Crooked River Ranch election

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Crooked River Ranch Seniors painted the big front fence at the Senior Center in June.The Crooked River Ranch Seniors organization is facing a challenge for which a solution is not yet apparent to the Seniors’ elected leaders.

Their annual election, coming up in December, has traditionally given the Ranch Seniors a new slate of officers for the coming fiscal year, including a president, secretary and treasurer, according to Ranch Seniors President Earleen Arthur.

By this time of the year, there area usually enough candidates seeking nomination to run for election for those positions. This year, however, there are very few candidates who will seek election, according to Edie Williams, of the nominating committee.

Williams has been talking to as many of the roughly 100 Senior members she has been able to buttonhole to urge qualified members to step forth and run for office. Her efforts haven’t produced any candidates so far, and the board members are concerned.

Ranch Administrator Judy LaPora said she isn’t worried and is sure the Seniors will come up with new officers in time to carry on.

Arthur has been president for two years and does not want to continue in that position. She has been a hardworking president and says it is time for some new blood to take the reins of office.

A partial list of accomplishments during her two years in office includes: repaired second-floor ceiling; placed decorator rocks in back of house, plus paver blocks at back entry; replaced screening around back entry with paneling; replaced broken glass on back entry door and dining room cabinet; repainted entire front yard fence after it was repaired; hired a licensed lead accredited professional painter to repaint the entire outside of the Senior Center; started a successful new 50 Plus or Minus Car Show; cut down a very old, tall, dead cottonwood tree in the back yard; added soaker hoses with timers in the front flowerbed; and placed trim around the bottom of the four front patio columns.

Arthur attributes the dearth of candidates for election largely to a lack of new members coming into the organization and the aging of current members. The current 100 members, who are pretty evenly divided between men and women, have been Seniors for a long time. There have been very few new potential Seniors coming to live on the Ranch in recent years. New Ranch residents arriving now are largely young working families who commute to jobs in the surrounding communities.

That contrasts with the Ranch’s early development days during the 1970s and 1980s, which attracted mainly retirees or older workers with grown families. They were good candidates for active membership in the Seniors and were eager to run for office in the Seniors organization.

The Seniors' main base of operations is the Old Ranch House in the north end of Ranch. The Ranch, which owns the house, has historically let the Seniors use it during the year. The Seniors have reciprocated by maintaining the house and grounds in good shape and making improvements on both.

Several other Ranch organizations also make the Senior Center their base of operations, where they run their events. That revenue helps to pay the upkeep and improvements.

Events at the center include: balance/cardio exercises twice a week; Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs), usually once a month; quilters twice a month; birders once a month; bingo once a month in the fall and winter; Juniper Jumpers once a month; bunco once a month; Dutch Oven Group once a month; AARP, at no charge, two or three times a year for Safe Drivers Classes.

In addition, the Senior Center is a popular place for both Ranchers and nonRanchers to stage weddings and receptions which bring in revenue for the Seniors.

The Seniors play a vital role in Ranch activities and incoming revenue every year. It would be a shame to have them fold up and retire because there are not enough interested golden-agers on the Ranch to pitch in and run the organization and its activities.

They have done their best to slim down their organization and events list to minimize expenses and improve income. That includes unloading their bus used to drive members without transportation to shop and for doctors’ appointments. It was too big an expense for them to absorb and it wasn’t used a lot.

Now they appeal to members and other Seniors to volunteer time during the year to carry on their revenue-producing activities.

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