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letters - Dec. 15, 2011

To the Editor:

Councilman Mike Kehoe does not owe an apology to anyone!

He walked out of a city council meeting in protest of the mayor and his gang of four for failing, time and time again, to acknowledge and implement the will of the majority related to the streetcar and Foothills. City council meetings on this subject as well on sensitive lands are a farce.

Many well-informed and articulate citizens have expressed their views to a collective stone wall. They, as well, could have stayed home. I no longer go to these meetings for the same reason. I'm convinced that the gang of four has agreed in private on how they will vote, public testimony be damned.

Mike Kehoe gave an excellent run down of the problems created by this gang of four. To which I add: 'Amen.'

Amid the millions of added dollars for these projects, for which we all have to pay in added taxes, there is the $20 million dollar indebtedness for the white elephant, the West End Building. The offer to buy our votes for a promised $208 million reduction in the streetcar costs demonstrates the low opinion held for voters in this city. It is an empty promise that can only be realized at the end of the project construction - if at all. To the contrary, an overrun of $100 million can be expected.

For those people who complain of divisiveness in the city, I share their view. The real cause is the lack of leadership. That has to come from the mayor. Mayor Hoffman has to lead or resign.

John F. Beau

Lake Oswego resident

To the Editor:

The holiday tree is beautiful, but wouldn't it be nice if the Lake Oswego treasury had a tiny bit of money so that we could have a Christmas tree?

Tom Beckwith

Lake Oswego

To the Editor:

Fostering current economic development does not require sacrificing our past. Given the community update to the comprehensive plan, we have an opportunity to rethink our approach to historic preservation and recognize the contribution Lake Oswego's existing historic fabric makes to the local economy and to sustainability.

To fully utilize the potential of Lake Oswego's built heritage, the Lake Oswego Preservation Society suggests that the following 'better by the dozen' concepts be included in the comprehensive plan update:

* Educate the community about the strong relationship between sustainability and preservation.

* Promote rehabilitation of historic buildings, which contributes more, in the long term, to the local economy than new construction.

* Actively encourage partnerships among municipalities (city, county and state) and local businesses and organizations specializing in building reuse.

* Enhance the protection and retention of landmark properties by strengthening our code language.

* Encourage the use of conservation easements to protect historic properties.

* Protect National Register properties the same as landmark properties under the city's historic preservation code.

* Provide incentives for relocating buildings within the community as an alternative to demolition.

* Prohibit demolition by neglect.

* Reexamine the criteria for delisting an historic property and make them more objective than the current method.

* Require deconstruction on any remodel or new construction project costing more than a certain to-be-determined amount.

* Require that photographic documentation be submitted with a demolition permit application for buildings over 50 years old.

* Actively encourage homeowners to document and share the history of their homes, streets, and neighborhoods via workshops, storytelling sessions, photo contests, etc.

Marylou Culver

President of the Lake Oswego Preservation Society