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Council moves on key fronts

Interceptor, 50+ Dialogue lead city discussion

Lake Oswego City Council made significant headway Tuesday night, approving a $661,958 revenue plan for the Oswego Lake Interceptor sewage program and commenting on the 50+ Dialogue Report.

The council also awarded a $154,555 contract to Group Mackenzie Engineering Inc., for the architectural design of an artificial turf sports field and dog park complex at Luscher Farm.

The council unanimously approved beginning phase two of the interceptor sewage program, a project which began in 2004 to replace a 20,000-foot sewage pipe under Oswego Lake that has backed up during wet weather seasons for a decade. This has caused feeder pipes on the west end of the lake to sometimes overflow.

Yet building plans for an interim solution will be postponed until the coming wet weather season has passed due to insufficient time before the season begins.

'There is no way we can get something built before the wet weather season,' said city Engineer Joel Komarek.

He said construction for the pipe could begin several years from now.

'Though we have spent all of five minutes on the topic tonight, we consider this a very important, complex and expensive problem,' Councilor John Turchi said about the estimated $65 million interceptor project.

After the council approved the interceptor pre-design budget, consultant Kristin Bodiford presented the 50+ Dialogue Report about improving services for an expanding baby boomer generation reaching retirement. It also focused on the necessity to change Americans' attitude of aging.

'We know that ageism exists in the United States,' Bodiford said. 'And it is a fact that the U.S. is an aging population.'

She said Lake Oswego's median age is 41 and 20 percent is 45 to 54 year old.

'Baby boomers are aging and wondering what they'll do for the rest of their lives,' Bodiford said.

The plan, put together following months of community involvement, would create a community that is pro-elderly, one that does not shut out its aging populous in elderly homes or hospitals. Rather, it would create home-sharing programs between renters and homeowners where participants would allocate different chores that some may have difficulty doing on their own.

Bodiford also suggested creating places for all generations to meet where elderly can provide wisdom and culture for younger generations.

'A lot of this stuff is in place, it is re-directing some of the things we are already doing,' Turchi said.

As baby boomers reach retirement, increases on federal funding for affordable housing will help residents continue to live in their homes, Bodiford said, while expanding services through church congregations and state programs can keep them active.

'We are talking about the whole aspect of how we thrive as a city,' Councilor Gay Graham said. 'Lake Oswego has an opportunity to take community to a new level.'

Turchi seconded her thoughts.

'After a certain age or infirmity, we banish people to Beaverton or Oregon City,' he said as the council and audience burst into laughter. 'But, I think this is unfortunate.'