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Ballot measure wording set

Residents will have a chance to city how the city will proceed with its purchase of the Safeco building

Ballot measure wording set

By SAM BENNETT

Staff Reporter

The Lake Oswego City Council has ironed out the exact wording for a May ballot measure that could refinance the Safeco building.

The May 20 vote will give residents a chance to decide how the city will proceed with its purchase of the building.

Last fall, residents voted to keep the building in the city's inventory for future use.

The council on March 18 unanimously approved the explanatory statement for Measure 3-295.

The statement says the city may use the building for a 9-1-1 dispatch center, police department facilities, additional library services and other public offices and recreation facilities.

The statement also says that the council will adopt a process by the end of June to receive information and advice from the public about the appropriate immediate and long-term uses for the property.

The May 20 vote does not constitute a vote for or against any use of the property, according to the council.

By voting for the measure, residents will give the city the authority to issue up to $20 million in general obligation bonds to retire a temporary line of credit and to permanently refinance the purchase of the property.

The city bought the property in July 2006 for $20 million, using a short-term line of credit. The city is paying $1 million a year in interest on the interest-only loan.

The $20 million property has 14 acres and an 88,000-square-foot building that was used by Safeco Insurance.

The city originally bought the project with the hopes of renovating it into a community center, with large swimming pools.

But the estimated $80 million price tag for such a project, combined with the urgent need to construct a $100 million sewer interceptor project, swayed city officials to indefinitely postpone the community center and plan for other uses.