Rogue Valley Manor residents made it clear where their loyalties stand this week when more than 75 percent of the inhabitants signed a petition supporting the retirement community's board of directors and embattled executive director.
The petition was a response to Pacific Retirement Services — Rogue Valley Manor's parent company — notifying residents that longtime executive director Kevin McLoughlin had been put on administrative leave and that it intended to remove board members, who have filed suit to end PRS' ownership of the Manor.
Rogue Valley Manor's board filed a suit in Jackson County Circuit Court last week seeking to prevent PRS from removing board members during an Aug. 24 meeting called for such a purpose.
The request for a preliminary injunction against possible PRS action goes before Judge Phil Arnold on Monday afternoon.
"We wanted to demonstrate the people here are definitely behind the issues addressed by the petition," said Don Lewis, vice president of the Residence Council of Rogue Valley Manor. "Secondly, the residents feel like they are doing something about the situation by signing."
After a Wednesday morning informational meeting, the Residence Council handed out petitions. Between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., some 727 signatures were collected and another 23 came in after the initial tally, Lewis said.
Updating the numbers originally sent in a letter addressed to PRS chief executive officer Brian McLemore, Lewis said more than 89 percent of the ambulatory residents had signed off.
A total of 968 people live in Rogue Valley Manor's two towers and surrounding cottages.
"That is not the complete story," Lewis wrote McLemore. "The number of residents that were in the various health facilities on that date was 89. Also, the number of residents that had indicated that they would be away from the Manor on that date was 49. To me, that is an impressive support for reinstating Kevin and the retention of the RVM Board."
Lewis said he was unaware of anyone refusing to sign the petition, but avoided inflating the numbers.
"We didn't want people to think we were stuffing the ballot box," he said. "That's why we used conservative numbers."
Lewis said a minister and his wife, who heard about the issue while helping build churches in Africa, emailed to have their names added to the petition.
"We realize this is a very emotional and important issue for the residents," McLemore said in an email to the Mail Tribune. "It is for us as well. We continue to believe that this longstanding relationship between PRS and RVM has provided great benefits to both organizations. We look forward to a resolution."
At this point, life goes on with PRS Chief Operating Officer Mike Morris sitting in for McLoughlin until the court sorts out the matter.
"I have no idea if we'll get a response," Lewis said. "I expect nothing."
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.