It appears that opposition to the West End Building as a location for the library, city hall, or any other city function, may not be a well-researched or practical point-of-view.
The future of the WEB has been obscured by a cloud of negativity likely caused by the initial purchase of the building and the process by which it was acquired. Quite simply, the WEB is tainted.
Now it's been several years and so the very large and attractive WEB sits virtually dismissed when there are clearly many city uses for the building. Of course, we paid a lot for the WEB and it will cost money to renovate the building to bring it up to standards, but according to the city's own cost analysis scenarios (WEB Scenarios - Cost Analysis, Exhibit Q), those costs do not even approach the amount of money necessary for purchasing land and new construction, especially in downtown Lake Oswego.
One of the most important factors that should be considered in placing our new library has not been publicly discussed at all, that is, access to the new facility. We have produced two maps with all Lake Oswego schools represented and showing their linear distance from a proposed library at First Street and B Avenue versus their distance from a new library at the WEB site. When these linear distances are added on each map, it is clear that our schools are cumulatively nearly twice as far from the proposed North Anchor location as they are from the WEB location.
Clearly our schools are a reasonable surrogate for population patterns and masses and it certainly makes sense to have a library as near to student population as possible. Just a glance at these maps makes it obvious that even the current library location on Fourth Street is not really an ideal spot in terms of student access, much less placing it at the farthest eastern corner of Lake Oswego. Isn't convenient access to our new library by Lake Oswego students of all ages one of the most important considerations in creating the 'best' facility?
Let's ask the city council and the mayor how they came up with the current plan for the new library at First and B? Did they look very carefully at real data on restructuring the WEB for city use? We believe that there's a lot of research to be done by the council and much solid information (rather than subjective feelings and preferences) to be communicated to us all before we must vote on a new library.
It's certainly past time to make a decision about the WEB and its use and stop holding a grudge against a place that should be an asset to Lake Oswego.
Pam and Paul Hooper are residents of Lake Oswego.