My family chose Lake Oswego for its schools and small town character. Our vision is to see Foothills develop into a vibrant picturesque riverfront community which ties in with the ambiance of Lakeview Village and surrounding home styles - not a steel and glass mid to high-rise South Waterfront style extension of Portland. A 'streetcar' conjures up images of turn of the century charm; in reality, it is urban transit. We are in favor of redeveloping Foothills but not with urban style buildings, a massive parking garage and a concrete transit station that will change the feeling of L.O. forever. We can redevelop Foothills to attract younger families without sacrificing our town's character.
The Oregonian headline, 'More crime rides TriMet rails' states 'research has shown light rail is far more susceptible to crime than buses, largely because of the presence and watchful proximity of the driver.' No one can state with certainty that Lake Oswego will not see a rise in crime with the streetcar, especially since TriMet does not provide adequate fare collectors or security. Drug dealing and crime rose with the streetcar line to Gresham. Vagrants and criminals, on insufficiently manned streetcars, can find easy (and often unpaid) access to Lake Oswego.
Downtown Portland has lost control of its vagrancy and drug dealing problem and has not developed adequate programs to help its growing homeless and mentally ill population. One only needs to read The Oregonian editorial pages to sense the utter frustration expressed by Portland business owners, shoppers and homeowners trying to cope. It doesn't take a horde of criminals to create insecurity and disrupt a tranquil community.
Enhanced bus service would maintain Lake Oswego's suburban autonomy and character and meet the needs of future commuters without a possible streetcar price of $458 million. How many Lake Oswego residents or our children will personally use this streetcar? Will we, the taxpayers, be responsible for as much as 50 percent of the price tag and gain only a 100 car reduction?
A project 'unlike any in the United States in both price and ambition to link a big city and a suburb by streetcar,' according to The Oregonian, deserves a vote by city council in favor of local taxpayers, not for a plan that hugely favors TriMet, Metro and Portland developers. Continue to develop Lake Oswego as a delightful suburban town, not as a district of Portland.
City council (should) vote no on the unpopular and too expensive 'streetcar.'
Philip and Leslie Pirrotta are residents of Lake Oswego.