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Don't let project go forward in Old Town

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Barbara Perris and Stephanie Detjens for their thoughtful letters to the editor in last week's Lake Oswego Review. Barbara makes a strong case for the lack of city management of developments, and Stephanie gets right to the heart of the specific case I wish to discuss now.

The proposed development of 10 expensive condominiums at 397 Furnace St., in Old Town has brought into play a terrible mistake made many years ago when Old Town was zoned high density. Because this project would destroy the quality of life residents of our neighborhood have enjoyed for decades, and set a precedent for future similar developments, city council must enact an emergency measure, unprecedented though that may be, to reverse, or severely modify, the high density zoning decision. This is nothing short of a moral obligation on the part of the council as the preservation of Old Town as the spot where Lake Oswego was founded in 1850 is at the heart of statements in the city's Comprehensive Plan, e.g., 'ensure that the neighborhood's transition to high density occurs in such a way that the desirable 'village' appearance is preserved.' ' … ensure new structures that compliment the existing neighborhood fabric; protect lower density developments from more intense adjacent uses; …' 'Consideration shall be given to relationships between new construction and adjacent land uses as well as to how the proposed development incorporates the desirable 'small village' or 'historic town' appearance of Old Town …' These are just a few of the statements in the plan showing the city's vision for Old Town. In addition, the City of Lake Oswego Community Development Code, Articles 50.66 and 50.09, regarding Old Town Neighborhood Design Standards, contains verbage similar to that of the Comprehensive Plan.

In every way possible, the proposed condo project flies in the face of statements in documents that the city has spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to develop. Does it make economic sense for the contents of these documents to be ignored when the time comes to implement them? The lack of control by the city on development that will be destructive to the quality of life in our neighborhoods is a concern of the highest priority and must be addressed immediately by city council. The project in question, or anything remotely resembling it, cannot be allowed to go forward.

Check out the new Web site, www.protectfurnacestreet.com .

Jeannie McGuire

Lake Oswego

We can't afford all that the city wants

To the Editor:

Regarding the continuing debate over the purchase, financing and uses for the former Safeco building: First, as a former 9-1-1 employee, I know that the city already had plans for a new, earthquake proof 9-1-1 center before the Safeco building was even purchased. The site was to be on property the city already owns, on Jean Road where the Maintenance facilities are also located. Employees had input on layouts and viewed the plans. It strikes me as deceitful that the mayor and the council threw a new 9-1-1 center into the mix as a possible use for the Safeco property, without mentioning the more financially prudent alternative they already had.

Also, the council should consider a spin other than the ones they have put forth so far on why the measure failed: That this is a very different economic climate than the one when the property was purchased and people are feeling the pinch. The Safeco building has really always been a 'want' and not a 'need' and voters just might not want it anymore, especially in light of what is already on the city's financial plate. Can we afford to become an infinite funding source for everything the city wants?

Karla Nielsen

Lake Oswego

It doesn't make sense for the city to keep the WEB

To the Editor:

The refusal by the taxpayers of Lake Oswego to purchase the Safeco Building (WEB) with general obligation bonds was in no way a call to fund the purchase by other means.

Everyone on the city council and the mayor knows that general obligation bonds, with the tax-deductible advantage, would be the cheapest way to finance the purchase of this white elephant. Revenue bonds would charge a higher interest and would be added as 'fees' to our bi-monthly bill with no tax deduction advantage. For the council to even suggest that the citizens of Lake Oswego want a more expensive funding method is misleading.

What our city council and mayor seem to overlook is the major change in the financial outlook citizens see in the foreseeable future. All costs are going up - asphalt for roads, gasoline and diesel, food, lodging, home upkeep, and the list goes on. Has the council figured in the increase in costs to the sewer project and the water project certain to rise with the high cost of fuel and parts, combined with road repairs?

It is time for us all to separate our needs from our wants, and in doing so to realize the Safeco Building is really not needed. After all this time, a valued use for this building has not been found, even after several trial balloons.

Our city officials should be good stewards of the tax money and the need is in infrastructure. Selling city-owned properties to move from one 21-year-old building (city hall) to another of the same age is incongruous, as both need to be upgraded for earthquake requirements. Has anyone thought about adding to the present city hall, which has room with additional space for parking plus the convenience of being in the downtown core area?

It is time for the city officials to seek ways to save money for projects that are needed, and not for things they may want but are not needed. (Our) citizens love so much about this city; don't disappoint them by hanging onto a building for which a bonafide need will not arise.

Sell it.

Bill Mahorney

Lake Oswego

Lakeridge High School sport field editorial was 'one-sided'

To the Editor:

After 45 years of reading and appreciating the Lake Oswego Review, I was shocked to find the May 29 edition so totally one-sided in regard to the Lakeridge High sport field. Nothing 'fair and balanced' about it. Every citizen's view letter expressed emotionally charged feelings about getting a stadium behind Lakeridge High School. Your editorial was obviously written to please the majority of Oswegans who do not understand the facts, and to side with the city and school board. Please stop and examine the following information fairly

1. The Lake Oswego High School football stadium is not surrounded by residences. Two sides are bordered by highway. The long buildings of the school are on the north and the administration offices on the east. The field is at a lower level than all of these areas so noise and lights do not offend residences. Across the street are open spaces

At Lakeridge, homes border the field - boundary to boundary where lights, sound, littering and spectators walking between homes can be very offensive. Why would any future home seeker pay for such a property? Huge losses could occur for current owners. Your editorial and the citizens' letters trivialized these concerns with demeaning remarks - emotional and not factual.

2. If you had listened to citizens with facts you would know that the city omitted documents from the city traffic engineer regarding parking. The problem is huge. Narrow streets, inadequate lighting and careless drivers are a threat to all when cars line the streets as there are no sidewalks. Emergency vehicles and private driveways could be blocked especially when traffic stalls.

The result is there is no way to make traffic safe and adequate. Eventually the Land Use Board of Appeals will need to enter these discussions.

3.How senseless this all seems when Luscher Farm has so much space, is so close to the school, and it has already been developed for minor sports, which could be altered for the stadium. The Review could be instrumental in calming the waters and getting the city, the school district and LUBA to work towards this goal.

Barbara Schlauch

Lake Oswego

Get the pathway reopened now

To the Editor:

Mayor Hammerstad, city councilors, John Kennedy and other involved persons, Spring is here and summer is soon upon us. When will the George Rogers pathway reopen?

Enough is enough. If the responsibility of the repairs lays with the private landowner, please pressure the involved party, get the repairs and cleanup done quickly and reopen the path that is such a vital link to the downtown area for so many local and recreational users. The closure of the George Rogers Pathway has caused a hardship for our family and has seriously decreased our enjoyment of the park and the downtown area. Our carbon footprint has increased since the closure has forced us to use our car more. I live .2 miles south of the Old River Drive entrance.

My 22-year-old son does not have a driver's license and rides his bike or walks everywhere on a daily basis. The pathway provides us with a pedestrian-friendly, safe way to go downtown. Since its closure, my son continues to walk and bike but uses the only option available to him - Glenmorrie Drive and Highway 43. This is one of the most pedestrian-unfriendly stretches in our city. The curvy Glenmorrie Drive, with many blind turns, puts pedestrians and cars in treacherous, conflict situations. The situation tempts me to advise him to hop the fences as many have done. You have to be a nimble, sophisticated walker to safely negotiate this street. I drive below the speed limit and even so have had many close calls, one with a mother pushing a double wide stroller uphill on a blind curve.

Open up our pathway. We miss our connection to our downtown - our farmers' market experience doesn't feel right when we have to use gas to get us there and back, all because our pathway is still blocked.

Gloria Benci Handy

Lake Oswego