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Crooked River Ranch Roundup

Unsafe driving habits on Crooked River Ranch roads was the topic of a lengthy discussion during the CRR Club and Maintenance Association's workshop Dec. 2.

Ranch resident Dennis Kirk expressed concern about the generally unsafe driving habits of Ranch vehicle owners and drivers on Ranch roads. He cited several examples he frequently observes, such as excessive speeds, not coming to a full halt at stop signs and passing in zones marked for no passing.

Kirk would like to see more evidence of Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies patrolling Ranch roads.

Even though there were only five attendees on hand, Kirk's comments ignited a lively and lengthy discussion by the homeowners association board and attendees about whether the Ranch should contribute funds to more sheriff’s department patrols and manpower for the Ranch.

Board President Ben Johnson noted that violations listed in the weekly distribution by the sheriff’s office show that the Ranch consistently has fewer investigations than most other Jefferson County towns each week.

When a motion was finally made, five votes were cast in favor of a larger Ranch contribution of funds to enforcement of all laws and regulations on the Ranch by the sheriff’s department. No amount of increase was specified. The board also decided to extend an invitation to Sheriff Jim Adkins and the Oregon State Police to attend the December HOA board meeting to discuss the issues.

Kirk said publicity about the Ranch endowment and trust fund that was established to receive bequests from Ranchers who want to leave part of their estate to the Ranch is underemphasized and underpublicized.

He thinks the Ranch board is missing an opportunity to capitalize on a significant number of Ranchers who would include the Ranch in their estate plans because they really love the community. There was general agreement on Kirks' contention and Johnson suggested to Ranch Administrator Judy LaPora that this should be investigated further for action by the HOA board.

There also was a discussion on the issue of dangerous target shooting practices in the Crooked River National Grassland, which abuts the northern Ranch boundary.

A letter was written by Johnson to the the U.S. Forest Service district ranger, Slater Turner, who responded by sending out a mail survey to all Ranchers requesting their opinion on whether shooting should be allowed in that portion of the Grassland and whether to shut down the road that links that area to the Ranch. The survey reportedly drew sparse response from Ranch residents.

After another lengthy discussion, it was decided by the board to oppose prohibition of shooting, but to demand observance of safe shooting practices and stricter law enforcement and leave the road connecting the Ranch and Grassland open.

Next on the agenda was discussion of the Ranch's position about a request to rezone three parcels of commercial property near the stables and corral, adjacent to the golf course, to rural residential.

Paulette Nordin, a member of both the Ranch Architectural Committee and the Jefferson County Planning Commission, reported that the commission doesn't want to rule on the request and thinks the Ranch HOA board should make the decision. The board decided to oppose the change from commercial to rural residential to the planning commission. The issue of who has jurisdiction — the HOA board or the Planning Commission — was left dangling.

It was reported by director Mitch Poppert that the issue between horse riders, trail hikers and disc golf players, who were getting in each others' way in the area by the ball park that all three traverse, had largely been resolved.

In a meeting between the three groups, the placement of signs warning of the presence of all of them in those areas was thought to be adequate.

Director George Mitchener reported that efforts were ongoing to make Ranch properties so-called “defensible space” to prevent the spread of wildfires. That essentially means cleaning out excess grass and plant life and trimming trees which is part of the program.

That brought up the existence of campfire pits in camping areas near Steelhead Falls and whether they should be allowed, which was not decided.

To wrap up the workshop, LaPora brought out the first draft of next year's budget plans, but there were not enough copies for distribution to attendees to follow the discussion without having written details.

If the HOA board is serious about enticing more property owner members to attend their meetings, perhaps discussion material should be available. That would involve earlier planning of the agenda, plus more extensive distribution of backup materials, so attendees could follow the same materials the board is reading and deliberating upon.

Publishing handouts on the Ranch website would allow Ranchers to read and print material out themselves as an alternative to extensive copying and distribution of handout material.

Contract Publishing

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