|History of HOA
Estates was established in the mid 1960’s by the Bonanza
Development Company. The neighborhood consisted of 3 ½ miles
of packed gravel roads, 329 lots surrounding a centralized lagoon and
neighborhood was very rural and primitive in those days, deer were
frequently seen in front yards, and even cougars were occasionally
sighted. Grocery shopping meant driving to Auburn or Enumclaw. Major
purchases usually required a trip to Tacoma or Seattle, normally an all
Lots in Ponderosa Estates could be purchased for around 2,500 dollars
in those days. Terms were $100 down, and $25 per month. When you
bought, you became an automatic member of the Ponderosa Maintenance
Company, and were responsible for the roads and common areas.
The maintenance company was rocked with scandal in those early years.
Large guys would come around door to door once a month, usually on
Saturday mornings, and tell owners that they were collecting dues for
maintenance. People felt like they were being strong armed, and would
maybe get a little gravel dumped in their potholes for the money they
had to pay. They also said that it seemed like the collection guys were
all driving new trucks.
One day, a fire occurred in the neighborhood, and the fire truck pulled
up to the nearest hydrant, hooked up their hose to it, and took off
down the road towards the fire. Instead of the hose unraveling behind
the truck, the hydrant pulled right out of the ground. It
hadn’t even been hooked up to the city water! Neighbors all
watched it burn down; the fire department couldn’t do much
After that happened, the homeowners all banded together and decided
they weren’t going to be bullied into paying any more dues,
and they ran the crooks out. They rented equipment and hooked up the
fire hydrants the right way. At that time, the saying in the
neighborhood was, “In Ponderosa, we take care of
independent attitude continued into the 1990’s. At that time,
the roads were in extremely bad shape. School buses and the US mail
were both threatening to end service unless the roads were improved.
The potholes were huge. People often lost mufflers, scraped bumpers,
and occasionally even windshields would pop out from the bumps in the
roads. If a house caught on fire towards the back of the neighborhood,
it was a gamble that the fire truck could make it to the fire before it
In 1992, Road Improvement District 1 was formed. The intent was to
bring the roads up to county standards, and then deed them to the
county. Pierce County said the idea was fine, but they did not want to
try to deal with 329 different homeowners, they wanted an HOA to deal
with. At that time, Ponderosa Estates Homeowners Association was formed.
Even though all lot owners would be required to pay for the roads, the
PEHOA decided not to force membership on the “old
timers”, because many of them still harbored resentment
toward the “maintenance company” from years
earlier. We started out with less than 100
“voluntary” members. However, every time a property
is sold, the new owner becomes a member of the PEHOA. We are now well
over 200 members, and more are added each year. The owners are bound by
our codes, covenants, and restrictions (CC&R’s), our
by-laws, and are required to pay annual dues. Every dollar of dues paid
goes toward improving the livability of our neighborhood.
Our roads are owned and maintained by Pierce County. It cost an excess
of 3 ½ million dollars to bring our roads up to county
standards, an average of nearly $11,000 per lot. That included
engineering storm sewers, 2 retention ponds, and even re-grading some
hills that were too steep to meet county standards.
Most everyone will agree that it was worth it. Once the roads were
done, and the new blacktop was cooling off, a change in attitude was
apparent throughout the neighborhood. Yards were cleaned up, houses
suddenly looked nicer. Kids were able to play basketball, or ride
bikes, or skateboard. Work parties were formed to clean up the
overgrown, underused park. The front entrance sign got a fresh coat of
paint. Pride in our neighborhood had returned!
The continuing goal of the Homeowners Association is to make Ponderosa
Estates a neighborhood we can be proud of. We are always looking for
input and suggestions on how to improve our neighborhood. Contact any
board member for more information on how you can participate.