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Why I oppose the proposed location of the new Lake Oswego library

I joined the library board in 1990. At that time the board had already been instructed by the Lake Oswego City Council to find a solution for the overcrowded conditions at the present library. That was 22 years ago.

We had started looking for a site for a branch library location when I joined the board. In the mid ‘90s, the city council, at our request, searched for and hired the top library consultant team in the nation to study the Lake Oswego Library problem.

The consultants, over a six-month period, did studies, developed focus groups and did extensive interviews with Lake Oswego residents.

The conclusions they delivered to the board and city council were as follows.

  • Lake Oswego did need a larger public library.

  • A branch library would not work in a city the size of Lake Oswego.

  • A new, larger library should be located in a more central location to serve all residents properly.

  • The most central location they proposed would be the corner of Boones Ferry Road and Kruse Way.

    This report was presented before the city bought the Safeco property (now the West End Building), and before Lake Oswego High School was remodeled.

    After weeks of discussion, the city council passed a proposal to proceed with the project. A week later, after aggressive opposition from some downtown city business that did not want to lose the library traffic and Old Town residents who wanted to continue to be able to walk to the library, the council reversed its decision.

    Now the city council is going ahead with plans to build a new library downtown at an excessive cost when you consider that the West End Building, a location very near the one that the consultants originally recommended, is available at a much lower cost of remodeling.

    I believe the city council is wrong, and I believe the public will vote down the proposal at the upcoming vote.

    I urge the city council to reconsider its actions.

    Martin L. Jacobs is a resident of Lake Oswego.

    (Editor’s note: Darrel Condra of the Yes LOPL committee campaigning to pass Measure 3-405, responds: “The study referred to was submitted by Professional Library Consultants, P. A. in December, 1995.

    “They did not recommend a ‘more central location.’ On page 61 they set out a list of location requirements, the first being ‘An area which is frequently visited by all segments of the community during daily activities.’ That describes downtown. In fact, they identified five ‘excellent sites’ downtown but noted that ‘costs of site acquisition in the area ... would appear to make such properties unavailable.’

    “Now, in 2012, the urban renewal agency has purchased a site downtown and we can finally move the library to the ideal location.

    “Rather than attempting an expensive retrofit of a 30-year-old office building, we should use the location that will ‘allow construction of the programmed building’ and that meets all the study’s criteria for a library site. The council is right to move ahead with a new library downtown.”)