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History of Summerplace

Once upon a time there were 135 beautiful, peaceful acres in the countryside - a rural area just outside Portland, where cattle and horses grazed on the lush grass that was inhabited by China pheasants, field mice and rabbits. There were some beautiful trees for the chipmunks and squirrels and a dense woods area where a coyote lived in a den of thick blackberry vines. There were wild strawberries and yellow violets covering the
ground in the Spring. And there were two small ponds and an underground spring.
Well, the federal government liked the area because it was so open and so they erected a number of high
towers for monitoring radio stations. Then when the monitoring was no longer needed at the site, it was
declared surplus and MHCC considered it for a campus they were planning to bui ld. They did a lot of planning
and designing, but finally decided it was not a large enough area so took their plans and built at the present
location of Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.
Next on the scene was the Tualatin Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Hayden Island Corporation.
They acquired the land and received permission to build 350 homes. The area first developed was the
Clubhouse, for which there was a ground breaking on December 1, 1978.
Prestige Properties handled the real estate and opened the first office in June of 1979 to show model home
plans because the models were not available until late 1979. The model homes were built along 152nd
Avenue, backing up to the pool and along the greenway opposite the tennis courts.
Phase 1 had buyers ready to move in at the end of 1979 or in the early '80s. These are the earliest residents, a
few of whom are still in the area. Phase 1 included San Rafael Drive, 150th Avenue North to what was to
become Sacramento Street, and 148th Avenue.
The underground spring was channeled off and the ponds were drained and cleaned of old tires, a kitchen
range, car parts, and all manner of debris. Streets were opened up to 162nd by completing San Rafael and by
extending 150th from approximately where the Woods Area pathway starts now. That end of the street used
to be a lovers' lane; there were often parked cars there for a little necking, with a beer can or two left after a
social evening spent in the woodsy seclusion.
Tualatin Development was sold to Hayden Island Corporation, which was owned by the Hillman family. Early
officials in the development were from Hayden Island Corporation and finally from Hillman Corporation.
The concept was always for an adult community and the age restriction was originally 40 years. When the
National Housing and Urban Development Commission (HUD) was formed to oversee all kinds of hou_sing, the
adult communities came under their supervision and the age was lifted to 55.
Another major change beside the opening of the streets to 162nd was the opening of the first condo units at
Glenwood in May 1984. They were built off 148th on a large area that had been cleared and supplied with
water for any residents who wished to grow a garden. Many residents had taken advantage of the offer and,
aside from the rocks, the soil was virgin and the gardens were a sight to behold with everything from huge, tall
sunflowers to carrots, onions, peas, string beans (some on tall bean poles), wonderful tomatoes and corn and
some beautiful rows of Dahlias. When construction was going to begin for Glenwood, the gardeners were
offered an area across San Rafael from the clubhouse by the horseshoe pitching pit, which went the same
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way as the small putting green outside the clubhouse. But the gardeners voted to give up on the project
because the rocks in that location were just as bad if not worse.
Excerpts from a 1980 newsletter dated February 2ih notes that a potluck dinner was held at the clubhouse
for all residents, with 20 in attendance. They formed a committee to plan for future activities and were
instructed by one of the developer's officers about the general rules of living in a structured community. He
explained that they would operate as a civic association until the regular homeowners association would be
In 1981 the Active Club was formed and planned the main activities for the year. Officers were elected, bylaws
were written, $10 per person yearly dues were put into effect and lots of things began to happen.
The civic association was in place until Spring of 1986 when the Summerplace Homeowners Association was
formed and the civic association became known as the present day Activities Committee.
After the formation of the Summerplace Homeowners Association, management was by a board of directors.
Three Summerplace residents were elected to serve on the board along with four representatives from
Hillman. As more properties were developed and sold, the makeup of the board changed accordingly and
gradually the Hillman board members were replaced by elected Summerplace residents. Elections have
always been held at the October Annual Meeting. Board members' responsibilities are governed by the
By-Laws and CC&R's. All regular Summerplace Homeowners Association Board meetings are open, held on
the second Wednesday of each month. Residents are urged to attend.
There have always been many activities provided at Summerplace. In the early days the developer would
often hold sales promotions in conjunction with the gas company and set up big barbeques and tents and
treat all the residents or prospective buyers. Once there was a horse and carriage offering rides around the
project. On another occasion a hot air balloon was tethered. One time during Rose Festival there was a hot
air balloon race. One of the balloons which had planned to land at Glendoveer Golf Course blew off course
and landed at the Summerplace tennis courts area. It scared all the cats and dogs and a few people, but it was
interesting to watch how easily it was dismantled and trucked away.
If you have ever looked over the activities list, you will see there is something for almost everyone to
participate in, plus the outdoor area and the fitness areas. Many of the early day activities have been
replaced, like having a Summerplace Queen. I am not sure if there was a king, but I saw the queen's crown,
scepter and royal ribbon among the old artifacts one time. The Christmas tree decorating morning was also a
pancake and sausage brunch and the notes describing the event suggested the following: "It must be watched
that those who eat, help with either decorating or cleanup." Probably some free loaders back then.
At the opening of the Glenwood Condos champagne was served. What was left over was kept to be served at
a champagne brunch later that year. The first Spaghetti Feed was served in February 1985. This was so
successful that it has been continued each year.
The "Sew & So's" were organized early, but have recently changed their name to "Friendship Circle" The first
Active Club Christmas Dinner was served in 1983 and cost $5.80. A professional billiard instructor was brought
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in to help get more of the ladies interested as well as show the gentlemen some of the fine points. There was
a 9 AM exercise class, sometimes attended by only two. The same tape is still being used in the early morning
group! There is also a long ongoing water exercise group. The pool looks different now with the diving board
removed. Originally there were two umbrellas, four lounges and four chairs. In the '80's there were groups
formed for drama, singing and dancing, which are all still very active. The annual Parking Lot Sale in August
has attracted people from all over the city for almost the past ten years.
There have been a number of committees formed in years past to help keep our neighborhood happy and
beautiful such as the Architectural Review & Design, Grievance, Landscape, and Neighborhood Watch
committees. The newsletter, which after 1988 became the Summerplace News, helps each month to keep
residents and management informed of business matters and happenings in Summerplace.
The original appearance of Summerplace has changed greatly with the addition of many homes {585 houses
and 222 condos) and the development of Glenwood, the Windsors, the RV Facility and the assisted living units.
Our trees have grown tall and beautiful and management and residents together are keeping Summerplace a
very well known Portland Eastside adult community of approximately 1,200 residents who can still enjoy a
walk in the woods, listen to the birds, see a chipmunk, squirrel or even a rabbit, and maybe meet another
resident stroller to exchange greetings and news.
Hurrah for Summerplace and best wishes for the next 25 year!
By Gaye Di Pasquale

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