Lets stop the urban utopia dream for LO
Welcome back from your summer fun, Lake Oswegans. Your mayor and redevelopment department have continued to be busy pursuing all of their wish lists for Lake Oswego without input from you. They roll out new projects to spend your tax dollars on because they know they can do it and get away with it.
Now we are leasing Lacey's for $11,000 per month and promising to buy it for $2.35 million (the owner bought it in 2006 for $2.1 million, giving him more than a 10 percent profit during a real estate downturn). In time, adjacent businesses will have to move so that we have a new downtown. Do they have a clue what it takes to find another location, shut down the current business, move inventory and update business documents? Unlike Lacey's, the other businesses are open and (reading between the lines from previous reporting) reluctant to sell.
Another Review article reports on the 'consortium' bringing back the vintage trolley. When I first read this, my impression was that Mayor Hoffman and his Metro, ODOT, TriMet and Clackamas County cronies are like a bunch of children who won't take 'no' for an answer. Regardless of the economy, they disregard the consequences and seem preoccupied with spending money.
Frankly, Lake Oswego should not be involved with Portland at all. Lake Oswego is not Portland. Most of what they want involves private enterprise projects and the city should not be involved, but the majority of city leaders believe in public/private enterprise.
What a beautiful picture they paint of a completed downtown with new library and extended shopping and living spaces overlooking the new Foothills expanse to the river and new streetcar terminal. Totally disregarded is the fact that all these building blocks have to fit in place for a successful completion. Federal and state funding for the streetcar has to be forthcoming. Is it realistic to think a Portland to Lake Oswego line is going to pass scrutiny? Again, current residents will be displaced against their will. We have a floodplain involved along with too many environmental questions.
Then residents and business operators must move into the new spaces to create the additional tax revenues necessary to pay for it. There are too many unknowns to continue making expenditures. The now or never cry is a fabrication to get public support. We can wait for private development. We can wait for a better answer than the streetcar.
Our leaders have not been honest with their plans, which will turn Lake Oswego into South Portland. City hall sent out their Foothill brochure with lovely artist conceptions produced with our tax dollars. When we are in such a critical time in our country, what are these people thinking? Can't any of this wait until we can get a glimpse of the economic future of our country? Don't they have any clue of the hardships on families right now?
Things are not rosy and I am sick and tired of insensitive people. I see their pictures in the paper and them at public meetings and have to wonder what they are smiling about. We have a country falling apart and disengaged leadership at all levels, and we are not enraged? We are spending ourselves into oblivion, and they still have dreams of making Lake Oswego an urban utopia.
Gale Gipson is a resident of Lake Oswego.