In 1974 the City of Lake Oswego officially recognized the first neighborhood association to provide a way for people to participate in shaping their neighborhoods and participate in our Lake Oswego city process. Today that number has grown to 24 neighborhood associations.
Neighborhood associations are different from homeowner associations. Anyone who either lives or owns property within the boundary of the association, or a business within the boundary, can participate. People who live in an HOA located within the boundaries of a neighborhood association can still be a part of that neighborhood association. Unlike HOAs, dues cannot be charged. A neighborhood association is led by an elected group of volunteers headed by a neighborhood chair, or perhaps to share the role, two co-chairs. I served for the past eight years as the neighborhood chair of First Addition/Forest Hills and learned firsthand the value that neighborhood associations bring to our collective community.
Each of the 24 recognized neighborhood associations are unique. The neighborhood association boards led by their respective chairs have represented and worked to maintain and enhance those distinctive neighborhoods. A neighborhood chair may take on many roles from talking to an elderly neighbor who needs help connecting with resources to participating in the larger civic process of Lake Oswego. Neighborhood chairs meet on an ongoing basis with our mayor, sharing valuable feedback and perspective. They work alongside city staff and developers. They may host community meetings to "get the word out," disseminating information on many important land use issues within the community. Neighborhood chairs are often testifying in public hearings, representing their respective boards. They are instrumental in shepherding the Neighborhood Enhancement Grants that are an asset to our collective community. Your neighborhood association may be promoting emergency preparedness within your neighborhood.
The trees, the pathways, the neighborhood parks, the look and feel that is Lake Oswego is enhanced, in no small part, by the countless hours of volunteer effort from the dedicated individuals who serve in neighborhood associations.
And that is the word. Dedication. That is what you find on your neighborhood board. Dedicated individuals who are working collectively for their community. I encourage you to participate in your neighborhood associations and to thank anyone you know who has served on a neighborhood association board. "Thanks" is a word that can't be said too often. From the first association back in 1974 to our current 24, neighborhood associations have helped to keep Lake Oswego the vibrant, connected community we value so highly.
Carole Ockert is the land use liaison for the First Addition Neighborhood and Forest Hills Neighborhood Association.
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