A True Opportunity to Purchase A Landlord’s overt offer to Tenants and CASA of Oregon (Part 3)

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By:  Dale Strom, Second Generation Oregon Community Owner and MHCO Board Member

This is the third of a multiple part series on a private owner of a Manufactured Home Community willingly attempting to sell that Community to an Association of tenants within that Community. Riverbend MHP is a 39 space community located within the city limits of Clatskanie, OR. In the first part of this series, the motivation of the owner is revealed on why he wanted to work with CASA of Oregon exclusively rather than offering this Community for sale to all interested private parties. In the second part, the owner met with the Deputy Director and the Real Estate and Cooperative Development Manager for CASA of Oregon. The framing, presentation and negotiation of the “Agreement to Purchase” was discussed.

In this third part, the meeting with the tenants is held in Clatskanie, OR. We will find out how much support there is by the tenants to purchase Riverbend and how CASA approaches this meeting.

Now that the “Agreement to Purchase” has been signed, it is now up to CASA to recruit someone at the park to discuss the idea that the tenants can purchase the community that they currently reside. I will wait for their next step.

During this time, CASA contacts the 2 tenants at Riverbend that were provided to them as possible interested parties. It would also be up to CASA to set up a meeting with the interested tenants.

On June 26, 2018, I was to attend a meeting at the Clatskanie Public Utility District Board Room at 5:00 in the afternoon. What was the purpose of the meeting?

I was to meet the tenants and give a little talk to the tenants regarding Riverbend, and any other issues that I thought was relevant to my personal decisions.

I arrived 10 minutes early for the meeting at the PUD and was surprised to see how many tenants were there. As it got to be 5:00 PM and later, there were more tenants that arrived, some “fashionably late”, as the meeting was underway. I was told that I would speak after the introductions and then I could leave for the evening. I sat down at the end of a long row of tables, then was soon joined by my onsite manager of 12 years who arrived after I had.

The Development Manager opened the meeting by welcoming the guests, introduced members from CASA and representatives from Elk Meadow Homeowners Cooperative in Warrenton whose community sold in 2017.

Elk Meadow is a very comparable facility to Riverbend in that it has 2 less spaces and the amount asked for the sale is identical. Where Elk Meadow is a 55 and better community, Riverbend is a family park.

In the first 5 minutes before I was to address the tenants, the tenants were told about this opportunity. If interested they were to form an association, come up with a new corporate or cooperative name and elect officers or board members to run the association.

Then it was my turn. Greeting the attendees, I introduced myself and recognized the tenants that I had gotten to know over the last 12 years. My message was simple and straight to the point. I purchased Riverbend in 2006. In 2006 it was to be a 10 year hold before moving on to another point in my life. Here it is 12 years later, and I am ready to move on. Speaking between 5 and 10 minutes, I gave the floor back to the Development Manager. I was dismissed from the meeting and headed back home to Beaverton. According to an agenda sheet that all attendees received the meeting between CASA representatives and the tenants would not last in its entirety for more than 90 minutes.

The 3 takeaways that I soon thereafter found out was that 1.) The tenants did form an association, 2.) Did elect a board and named the new cooperative “Deer River” and 3.) The most surprising takeaway was that the tenants that I thought would take the lead in this process disappeared from a leadership position while other tenants that I never considered did take the proverbial bull by the horns.

I guess we have a buyer and a seller. I will wait for the next steps from CASA and where we go from here.

Now the seller visits the “Dark Side of the Moon”.

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