Tag Archives: Power of One

Voices From the Crowd: More About Our Co-op

Members of Power of One appear to have expectations and beliefs about Oregon law which are not borne out in reality. Again, the following is an attempt to set the record straight:

West Oregon Electric Cooperative (WOEC) is a non-profit cooperative corporation, operating under Oregon law (ORS chapter 62). All corporations and other businesses in Oregon are subject to law. Statements suggesting that WOEC is somehow not subject to law are false.

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) does not regulate Cooperatives, Municipals or Public Utility Districts (PUDs) except in matters of safety (ORS chapter 757).

The powers of the Attorney General can be found in ORS chapter 180.

Next, how is it that people re-elected multiple times to the Board are not “a model of democratic conduct”? Perhaps people are re-elected because they are doing a good job. Perhaps they are re-elected because it is a tough job and nobody else wants to do it. The board as currently constituted contains a mixture of long-time members, new members and some in between. It is a good mix. Some new board members bring new ideas to the table. New ideas are not necessarily good ideas. The older board members also have ideas, but in addition, have a memory of ideas that have been tried, some of which have succeeded and some that have failed. The bottom line is that each and every board member has been elected democratically and represents us in their decisions. They are doing their best on our behalf. There is no evidence to the contrary. Read More

The Sounding Board: Voices From the Crowd?

Jim Buxton, critic of Power of One in his article in the October 3, 2013 issue of Vernonia’s Voice, is just one person.  His crowd is some of the Board of Directors, Marc Farmer and a few reactionary members. However, Jim has a past record of committed service to the community.  He should be heard.  Let’s take a look at his commentary:

Regulation: WOEC, in order to exist, was placed under Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 62.  It formulates a cooperative template.  What Jim did not tell you is that WOEC is a private corporation not subject to the regular jurisdiction of the Oregon Attorney General or the Public Utility Commission as are other government-administered utilities like a PUD (Public Utility District). Tree Trimming?  Debt service?  Come on.

Democratic Conduct: WOEC is a model of democratic conduct?  Think about Robert VanNatta being reelected for 27 years with no one showing up at minimally advertised, annual nomination meetings, weak election committees and annual meeting installments featuring free, catered luncheons, door prizes and limited member comments. Try Dixie London for 16 years; David Hess for 19 years;  Brian Baker for just about as long; and Bob Paleck for over 6 years. That’s democracy in action?  Yes, courtesy is deserved but respect for this mess? Mmmm?  Read More

The Sounding Board: Why Power of One?

I’ve been asked by my friends with Power of One to talk to you, our fellow members of West Oregon Electric Cooperative.

First I should let you know why we settled on that particular name for our efforts. Think about who we are and how helpless we feel for a second. Alone, we are only one and powerless to exact change, but if our “ones” band together the “ones” gain the power needed to get answers, find solutions and hopefully fix the problems we have before us. And so “Power of One” was born.

The past year we have spent educating ourselves, learning about co-ops in general and our co-op in particular. The final analysis is that no entity-federal, state, county, or city has any jurisdiction over co-ops. Period. We the members have the power and duty to see that our co-op is run efficiently. Yes, we elect a board to represent us, but without some oversight, do we really know that our best interests are being served? I know the board members are all honest and mean well, but it’s these and others like them that have gotten the co-op into such debt. When more than 60% of the total worth of the co-op is debt…well, you decide. Read More

Report From The Rural Organizing Project Caucus

Rural Organizing Project is an organization that helps Community Organizations.  It provides in-person, on-sight assistance and open access to research, data libraries, communication techniques, established networks and scheduled regional meetings and caucuses.

Once a year, R.O.P. meets at their headquarters in Woodburn, OR in an organization-wide caucus, strategy meeting and social get together.  Janelle Cedergreen and I, representing Power of One attended the meeting this year.  The meeting, held on June 8th, was eclectic, enthusiastic, fun and very instructive.  It was deliberately casual and very focused on networking.  Attendees covered a wide spectrum from every race, sexual orientation, social class and level of education.  R.O.P.’s strong Latino involvement and physical location in Woodburn was of benefit and instructive. Read More

The Sounding Board: WOEC Elections are Nigh!

In my headline I am referring to the two positions for Districts #2 and #5 on our Board of Directors at West Oregon Electric.  Nominations for these positions are being taken this month and the actual elections will take place at the WOEC annual meeting on Saturday, August 17th.   Important:  If voting by mail, please hold off doing so, at least through July; so, we can find worthy write-in candidates for these two positions.

Why is this so important?  Because it may turn out that replacing the entire Board of Directors might be the only way we can regain control of our electric co-op.

Unfortunately, it would take us over 3 years to elect a whole new Board.  So we must continue to try to get our current representatives to help us find a solution.  We can’t wait three years and I would prefer to not throw the baby out with the bath water.  This Board, even as presently constituted, is probably as capable as anyone we could find to replace them;  but they’ve gotten into some bad habits and simply refuse to acknowledge that our rates are unacceptable and that it’s their job to control them.   Rather than contrition all I’ve seen so far is denial and a measure of indignation. Read More

The Sounding Board: What’s Up With Electricity?

What’s happening with Pwr/1 and WOEC?  Or said another way, “ho hum…what’s new?”  Complaint or criticism repeats.  Answers roll back as if pre-recorded. Rates continue to increase.  Life goes on.  Nothing changes.  Or does it?

Sometimes, poetry helps.  I like to write it for brevity of expression. So, here it goes:

“Who’s knocking on my door?  Poverty-man!

Who’s that with him?  Inflation-kid!

Who’s standing behind them?  Oh, that’s cold North Wind!

Why are they knocking on my door?  You have not paid your electric bill!”

How many of us, young or old, are financially stressed in a collapsed economy?  How many of us are older, retired and have only social security income?  How many of us are a sneeze away from disaster only to watch wide-eyed as our food prices, fuel prices, medical bills, retail prices and electricity bills skyrocket to the moon?!  What happens if your electricity is turned off?  What if you have to choose between warmth or freezing temperatures?  Gasoline or isolation?  Food or  medicine?  Staying in business or leaving town?  How many of us have had these experiences?  Pwr/1 would like to hear your stories.  Contact  or write us c/o this paper.  Our blog spot is:   www.utilitymembershippowerof1.blogspot.com  Or call Jack Phillips (503) 429-8089; or Sally Harrison (503) 429-8425; or Nick Galaday (503) 429-8910 Read More