Letters to the Editor
The Nicita saga
The recall of Mr. Nicita is not just about his efforts to stop The Rivers/Cabela's development. Recalls are about malfeasance in office. The recall organizers report that there are several issues to consider in their effort.
These include, but are not limited to: Mr. Nicita has many times demonstrated poor leadership and management. Many people view Mr. Nicita as being very unilateral and unwilling to work to consensus with others and to listen to their point of view. As an active member of an organization with an 'anti- growth and anti- development agenda,' Mr. Nicita has a long record of demonstrating his lack of support for downtown development. Mr. Nicita reportedly pursues his agenda and fails to consider the desires of his constituents. The above issues were demonstrated in his efforts to stop The Rivers/Cabela's project and led to the recall effort.
It is important to note that informal polling demonstrates that 70 to 85 percent of Oregon City residents support The Rivers/Cabela's project. It would create approximately 1,500 local jobs in our city and provide millions of dollars in tax revenues for decades to come.
It was going to be a $220 million investment for an upscale facility by a proven developer who has constructed several similar and successful shopping centers in the Portland area. It was going to find a use for a very difficult site of the old Rossman landfill next to Home Depot.
In addition, this developer was also interested in developing the old Blue Heron site. However, due to the efforts of Mr. Nicita and 'others,' they placed roadblock after roadblock in the process and delayed it for over three years. Finally, the costs of the developer became too excessive and he has walked away from the deal for the time being.
It is interesting that Mr. Nicita expressed his concerns about the project being built 'during a recession.' Again, this developer has a great track record and his similar developments in our metro area are all very successful. Does Mr. Nicita not understand that jobs help our local economy to recover from recession? Does he not see the blight in our great city? While we desperately need tax revenues and jobs from the project, Mr. Nicita turned them away. Meanwhile, our city is limiting some of its services and operations due to shrinking budgets.
Finally, while others also helped stop the project, Mr. Nicita played a key role.
The clearest indication that voting no on the Nicita recall ballot is the proper course, is the propensity for Fowler's recall crowd to resort to distortions of truth.
First, recall petition circulators claimed the petitions to merely be requests for Cabela's to 'come back' to Oregon City, and now William Gifford-who definitely knows better-blatantly distorts fact when he claims in his Nov. 9 letter that Commissioner Jim Nicita 'actually helped organize a demonstration against Cabela's.' This is deceptive, and my previous admiration for Gifford as a leading citizen involvement activist has just gone down the toilet.
There was no 'demonstration!' Last winter, Fisherman's Marine owner Dan Grogan chaired a meeting, in a vacant Oregon City Shopping Center storefront, of citizens concerned about The Rivers project using urban renewal bonds to support a chain store competitor, and about the potential for the mall putting existing local merchants out of business, causing a large loss of jobs.
Three city commissioners-Nicita, Roth and Mumm-were in attendance to listen to opinions expressed at the meeting.
Many citizens in attendance supported the right of the public to vote on issuance of urban renewal bonds. Many local business owners in attendance were worried that the project might be their undoing and negatively impact the livability of our city.
Those who were in attendance would be justified in being highly offended by Gifford's misrepresentation. Mr. Gifford should retract his false statement and apologize for it.
J. Kevin Hunt
We need to move city forward
Most Oregon City residents had not visited the wagons. Many of the other Oregon City museums have also closed. I like museums. My daughter has a career in museums (archeologist degree-unemployed). We have enough historical items in OC. We now need to work on the current OC. And yes, the new OC. If we do not look for new businesses in OC, I believe we will kill the city. I for one have decided to sell my home and leave the city because of the lack of leadership that has been shown during the 'Rivers' failure.
I have lived in OC during all of the years when we had a terrible reputation as a stinky mill town and a stinky landfill town. We now have an opportunity to put Oregon City on the map with a Bridgeport type mall. Look at the popularity of Bridgeport, it is amazing how it has transformed Tualatin. I think it is great. I think that our town will slowly die with the direction of the current leadership that is pushing away developers.
I agree with Don Slack's opinion from Nov. 9. I am sure we will get back all of the urban renewal funds. If we don't, the jobs, facelift, property value increases will be worth any loss. The urban renewal funds are the big issue from Nicita's camp. Even if the entire bottom fell out of the idea of getting the money reimbursed, wouldn't it be worth it to save the city?
I believe the property value of nearly every OC home would increase in value if the Rivers project were put in. The increase in tax revenue from these property value increases would more than cover any unrecovered money from CenterCal or any other developer. This does not even consider the monetary benefit each and every homeowner would realize from the property value increase. More people would move to OC with a big facelift of a new mall.
The Nicita camp tries to say that Dan Fowler is behind this rage for personal gain because of his vast real estate holdings. They are saying Dan wants this development to happen because his property values will increase. This also means they agree that all the other property values will increase, even if they do not want to admit it.
If every property value in the area increases we all win, in so many ways. We have a more attractive city. We have an increase in jobs. We have an increase in tax revenue due to the new mall property.
I see this as two sides that have differing ideas of the direction of the city. One camp wants OC to grow. One camp wants OC to stay just the way it is.
I for one see growing as good and a large improvement in the current OC. We can keep all of the historic nature of the area. We can survive with both the old and the new. If we just stay with the old, what we have is an old city getting older. How has that worked for us so far?
I take offense to the notion that the Nicita camp says this is Dan Fowler versus Jim Nicita. There were over 2,000 signatures on the petitions. There were over 400 people that attended the town meeting at the Pioneer Center that were 99 percent for the Rivers by a show of hand vote. Dan Fowler will benefit with a new mall on the old landfill site. But so will all of us in OC.
The Urban Renewal Agency agreed to trade a piece of property to Dan Fowler. It turns out the city owned the property in question and the Urban Renewal Agency had no right to sell it.
Many of the voters were on both of the government agencies involved that agreed to a deal and now will not follow through on the deal. Really? If I were a developer and I saw how the city is 'operating,' I would not touch OC with a 10-foot pole. I think recalling Nicita is a good start.