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Entry to city through Lake Grove needs improvement

Lake Oswego is a unique city in this day and age of ever-expanding city limits and blurring metropolitan boundaries. Lake Oswego's city limits are easily recognizable, unlike most cities that reside in close proximity to one another. We are fortunate that our portals provide a sense of place upon entering the city.

From the north, traveling along the Willamette River on Highway 43, there are large expanses of open space devoid of commercial development with significant elevation changes and a sense of having arrived upon entering the city. The same holds true when entering from Terwilliger Boulevard or Highway 43 from the south or Boones Ferry Road from the north or Stafford Road from 205. This uniqueness is due to topography, land use planning and open space purchases by providing a defacto bagel verde surrounding our city. It was with this view of Lake Oswego that I attended the Jan. 24 open house at city hall regarding the Lake Grove Village Center Plan.

The design of the plan, and its presentation by city staff member Dennis Egner, was impressive. I believe that the Lake Grove Village Center Plan can provide a positive framework for Lake Grove's future. Enabling Lake Grove to grow into a sense of place in its own right, currently something I feel is lacking. Entering Lake Grove along Boones Ferry Road from I-5 hasn't the same sense of having arrived as do the other major portals into our city. This plan lays the groundwork to rectify that lack of community. The plan also is very extensive, encompassing Boones Ferry Road from Waluga Drive to Kruse Way Place and from Carman Drive to Boones Ferry Road including the contentious Safeco/West End property.

There was considerable concern voiced by stakeholders on the impact this plan may have on current businesses along Boones Ferry Road and the surrounding neighborhoods. The current city council must adequately mitigate those concerns, and others which may arise, to the stake holders satisfaction. As the plan, no doubt, will be adopted by the current city council and left to the next and future city councils to implement. Given the animosity generated in this city by the handling of the Safeco/West End purchase and the subsequent ballot measures, we can't afford another fiasco. It is in everyone's best interest to practice openness and transparency in dealing with and subsequent adoption of the Lake Grove Village Center Plan.

With the upcoming November elections I would hope the voters of Lake Oswego will elect to the city council members who have the taxpayers interest at heart. Previous mayors and the current mayor have taken the lead in making Lake Oswego an absolutely beautiful city. I would hate to see any reduction in their accomplishments along those lines. Given the infrastructure needs of our city, it will take astute elected officials with common sense and fiscal responsibility to guide development in a way that does not impose upon the residents of Lake Oswego confiscatory property taxes and excessive user fees.

Russell Jones is a resident of Lake Oswego.