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Not all of Firwood is within the city of Lake Oswego

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Alan Elstad's Dec. 20 letter, 'Firwood seems to be neglected in the city.'

Firwood Road is approximately 2,400 feet in length. The easterly 700 feet lies within the city of Lake Oswego and the remainder in unincorporated Clackamas County. The city is responsible for maintaining those streets within its boundaries.

A recently annexed portion of Firwood Road near Waluga will soon be resurfaced following the installation of water and sewer lines to serve new development. Once this installation is complete, this section will be returned to a drivable condition.

The city strives to maintain its roads in good condition. One of the issues affecting the drivability of many unincorporated roads, such as Firwood, is large areas of standing water. As with many old roads, portions of Firwood were constructed with no gravel base and no drainage. Standing water can significantly undermine the road surface.

As new development occurs, drainage will be required, which should improve the driving surface.

Bonnie Hirshberger

City of Lake Oswego - Public Affairs

Assessed value is the key, not the real estate prices

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to a letter to the editor that appeared in the Jan. 3 issue of the Lake Oswego Review by Gordon Umaki. Mr. Umaki stated that due to recent reports by Moody's and Bank of America forecasting a 15 percent decline in real estate prices, that the 'property tax revenues to the city will also decline, causing budget cutbacks.'

This is not necessarily true in Oregon. In this state, property tax revenues are not based upon real estate prices but are based on the assessed value of real property. Currently, residential assessed values are roughly 58 percent of Clackamas County's reported average real market values, and roughly 50 percent of Realtors' average sales prices reported in the Lake Oswego area. In order for Mr. Umaki's statement to be true, real estate prices would have to decline by more than 50 percent before property tax revenues would be affected.

In some states, such as California, property taxes are based on property sales values. After each sale, property taxes are adjusted to reflect the price someone was willing to pay for the property. To say that this is true for Oregon does not accurately reflect the current tax system.

Richard Seals

Finance Director

City of Lake Oswego

'Celebrate - remember - fight back'

To the Editor:

Four years ago my family left Long Island, N.Y., for the move out west to Lake Oswego. Many mixed feelings were flowing through us. Leaving the comfort and safety of our family and friends was not easy.

On the bright side, the new friends and neighbors we've made here in Oregon have certainly helped fill the void. The one constant that has remained in our lives during this move has been the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. In 1997, my mom began participating in her local Relay For Life, walking in the Survivor lap. Our family, extended family and friends all stood around the track cheering her and the other cancer survivors on.

She was only able to walk as a survivor for one more year before cancer took her life at age 58. Her team of supporters still carries on, walking the 24-hour event in her memory. Being so far from our New York home, we could not be there to walk with the team yet still felt the need to somehow be involved.

The solution ... bring Relay For Life to Lake Oswego! On July 12-13, Lake Oswego will be hosting its third annual Relay For Life at District Stadium. The Survivor Lap, the Luminaria Ceremony, the fun, the food, the games, camping out at Lake Oswego High School, staying up all night and partying until the morning light ... there is something for everyone.

If you attend the Relay For Life of Lake Oswego, you will be changed forever. Come to our Kickoff Party on Monday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m., Lake Oswego High School Cafeteria to find out more and check out the Web site at www.events.cancer.org/rfllakeoswegoor .

Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.

Rhonda Cohen

Lake Oswego

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Thoughtless vandals ruin local holiday display

To the Editor:

This New Year's Day morning, we found that our Christmas decorations had been vandalized - a toy soldier and lighted Christmas trees and other lights were strewn across the street. Our hearts broke as we wondered, 'Who would do something like this?' We have been burglarized twice since moving to this community eight years ago. Although this caused us less monetary loss, it hurt us more gravely.

We knew this was going to be a difficult Christmas. In this past year we lost a mother, a brother and a close family friend, but we decided to continue with family traditions and try to make the best of a year full of heartache. I was born in December and Christmas has always been a big part of my life. One of our traditions was to display Christmas lights for our neighbors and family. Every year, we added a little bit more and paid a higher electricity bill in January, but we loved this yearly display.

This year we stood on our front porch on New Year's Eve, enjoying the sound of revelers until about 12:15. We were sure the next year would be a better one. We looked forward to our future and remembered those who had passed from our lives. We decided to leave the Christmas lights on all night in celebration of that new beginning.

The kind police officer who took our report said that he had taken his family to our neighborhood several nights before to show them the Christmas lights; he said one of his stops was in front of our house. We said we didn't think we wanted to continue this tradition any longer. We are just hard-working people who love the holidays and thought that others would enjoy seeing Christmas lights, but perhaps we were mistaken. I don't know about next year.

Time will tell.

Sara McClurg

Lake Oswego