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Fusion crowd looks at ways to improve LO life

by: Submitted Photo, A record attendance of 75 people participated in last Thursday’s  Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce Fusion event.

Fusion is showing a lot of talk can go a long way toward improving life in Lake Oswego.

The local civic group is coming off an extremely successful annual meeting last Thursday in which a record attendance of 75 representatives from nine boards of directors met at Oswego Lake Country Club to discuss key questions facing Lake Oswego.

The nine groups had some very different agendas, but they were amenable to sitting down to talk about what can bring about the common good.

'We want to collaborate on important issues,' said Jerry Wheeler, executive director of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event. 'We want to discuss what is happening, what we're facing, and find ways to advocate.

'When we go home we feel really, really good. It's a really positive atmosphere when the people who make a difference in this city sit around a table and talk.'

There were certainly a lot of Lake Oswego difference makers at the event. Organizations represented included:

n Lake Oswego Chamber of Com-merce.

n City of Lake Oswego.

n Lake Oswego School District.

n Lake Corporation.

n Oswego Heritage Council.

n Lakewood Center.

n Downtown Business Associa-tion.

n Lake Grove Business Associa-tion.

n Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition.

That represents a lot of movers and shakers, and they do not agree on everything but, Wheeler said, 'They collaborate and talk about coordinating business the way it should be conducted.'

Items at the top of this year's agenda were the city library and the watershed.

'The watershed is the elephant in the room,' Wheeler said. 'But we said, 'Yes it's phosphorus, but it's more than phosphorus,' ' Wheeler said. 'How can we mitigate the problems causing phosphorus?

'Phosphorus is going on everywhere, not just here. If everyone here did everything they could about phosphorus there would still be phosphorus issues because other communities also create phosphorus.

'But we need to do what we can. It's a big issue.'

The city library is a hot enough issue to get people marching in the streets, and Wheeler said that the Fusion folks hope that patience on the matter will pay off.

'The steering committee is addressing the community center issue,' he said. 'Citizens will decide what they want with a community center and what it will look like, whether it's one, two or multiple locations.

'Today, we couldn't find a consensus. But we hope the steering committee can come up with a satisfactory plan over the next year.'

If solutions for these important issues lie in the future, Wheeler says Fusion participants can take pride in the fact the event gathers important people for agreement - or disagreement.

'None of these people need to go to another meeting,' Wheeler said. 'The fact that they come to this is pretty telling. There was a lot of credibility in that room.

'Can we solve each other's problems? No. Can we advocate and promote for the common good? Absolutely.'

When asked if he could think of another city with a similar organization, Wheeler said, 'None! It's really very unique. I think for a medium-sized community, with 20,000 to 50,000 people, this might be a good model.'

Fusion goes beyond one big meeting, too.

'I know I can call any one of these people and have their ear,' Wheeler said. 'They know they will have the chamber's support.'