Some Lake Oswego residents may feel they've already gone down this road with a ballot measure vote on the West End (formerly Safeco) Building last November. They did, but they didn't.
While they voted on the WEB more than six months ago, the May 20 vote in the Oregon Primary is an entirely different matter. The previous vote, Measure 3-273 - which passed with about 53 percent of the votes - meant that voters decided to keep the Safeco Building. Next up is Measure 3-295, which the city of Lake Oswego has placed on the May ballot. The hope is that voters will pass it and allow the city to issue up to $20 million in general obligation bonds to refinance WEB.
Currently, the building's cost of $20 million is being paid for with reserve funds that were replenished through a short term line of credit. This translates into interest-only payments of $1 million a year.
We can empathize with those voters who are irked by this vote. The city made mistakes in how and why it acquired the building and many residents don't want to pay this or any price.
We also understand the frustration of a 'cart-before-the-horse' approach in that the use/uses for the building won't be decided until after the election.
There's no doubt that the WEB and its 14 acres is a rare acquisition in a city that is so built out. If the city is to keep the building - which it plans to do regardless of how 3-295 works out - it makes sense to set up a better, more economically prudent funding system.
Lake Oswego residents are facing some jumps in the cost of government (WEB, sewer, infrastructure, etc.)
We suggest voters support Measure 3-295. But we understand the sentiment that might lead them to vote the other way.