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Rhody CPO meets in person for first time in two years posted on 01/01/2022

The last time the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization (CPO) held an in-person meeting, various dignitaries (and a cake) were on hand to celebrate the first of two centennial celebrations for the community. This month, the group will hold its first in-person meeting since then, a break of two years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s going to feel great,” Steve Graeper, CPO President, said. “It’s long overdue and we’ll be able to start a communication process that has been lacking for the past two years.”

The agenda includes a series of guest speakers, leading off with Hoodland Fire District Chief Jim Price, who will discuss his vision for the district and possibly making Rhododendron a Firewise community. Bill Messner and Julie Hernandez will represent Portland General Electric and will discuss wildfire management and preemptive outages, followed by a short discussion with Marci Slater about the Hoodland Park District that will be put to voters in May 2022.

Graeper also plans on providing updates on a possible Rhododendron Gateway Arch sign and next steps on the Rhody Rising efforts to revitalize the community. He noted that after the recent completion of a transportation growth grant, he hopes to get the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to do a traffic study (more in-depth than a speed study) in an attempt to make Hwy. 26 in Rhododendron more pedestrian friendly.

“It was not my idea to put the highway on a road diet,” Graeper said, referring to the idea of reducing the lanes on Hwy. 26 to a single lane in each direction in Rhododendron. “That was ODOT’s idea. It’s just a possibility.”

The meeting will also feature the election of new officers for the CPO, with Graeper planning on no longer serving on the board.

“It’s time for a change,” he said.

The CPO meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Mt. Hood Village RV Resort, 65000 Hwy. 26 in Welches.

A full agenda is expected to be posted in the Rhododendron Post Office in early January.

Graeper noted that COVID-19 protocols will be in place, including masking, but the specific measures in place may change based on recommendations at the time.

“It’s a very fluid environment with COVID, we don’t know what the requirements will be,” he said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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