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Mayor responds to Luscher Farm claims

To the Editor:

I am compelled to respond to the Citizen's View by Russell Jones on July 31, 'Don't risk contaminating Luscher Farm area with dredging spoils.' I realize that an opinion piece is just that - opinion, but I would like to contribute a few facts towards another perspective.

First, the city would never place anything on a public open space that was not deemed safe for human health, plants, animals or groundwater. In this case, the city is simply doing its due diligence to find a beneficial use for the excavated material from the lake as it would with any project. We hope to identify a responsible and cost efficient means of best managing the debris. In working with the Parks Department, Luscher Farms was identified as a potential storage site. We intend to do what we always do, which is to manage the lands held in public trust for Lake Oswegans for appropriate uses.

Second, the reason that the Army Corps permit issued to the city for the interceptor project did not require any additional testing for contaminants is that existing test data caused Corps reviewers little concern. With excavation of lake bed sediments done when the lake is drawn down, there is no chance for the soils to contaminate lake water. Excavated sediments do not become the 'problem' of DEQ as stated in Mr. Jones' letter. If contaminants are identified, it will be the city's responsibility to address it through an appropriate beneficial use or proper disposal.

And finally, as to the Friends of Luscher Farm grant application, Mr. Jones is correct in saying that the city would not sign a letter of indemnity. The city does not do this as a matter of policy, unless the city itself is a grantee or a joint grantee on a project. In this case, the city was neither.

Judie Hammerstad

Lake Oswego Mayor

Solar could be the answer to the nation's energy woes

To the Editor:

High prices for gasoline, natural gas and electricity combined with increasing evidence for global warming have highlighted the need for a bold plan to free ourselves from fossil fuels.

An article titled 'A Solar Grand Plan' in the January 2008 Scientific American (www.sciam.com/article.cfm

?ida-solar-grand-plan ) presents an analysis of the potential of solar energy to fulfill these requirements.

The article, by respected scientists Ken Zweibel, James Mason and Vasilis Fthenakis, suggests that 69 percent of the U.S.' total electricity and 35 percentof its total energy could derive from solar sources by 2050.

By the year 2100, the authors predict that solar power could supply 100 percent of our total electricity and total energy. Some key concepts of the plan are as follows:

1. A vast area of photovoltaic cells would be erected in the Southwestern U.S. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours. Wind-generated electricity could also be stored in this manner.

2. Large solar concentrator power plants would also be built. The thermal energy produced could be stored in molten salt to make it available at night.

3. A new direct-current (DC) power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country. DC power transmission over long distances is far more efficient than the currently used AC transmission.

4. $420 billion in price supports from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive. This is about the same as the current cost of farm price supports and far less than the cost of the Iraq war, to say nothing of the cost of imported oil. The authors estimate that by 2050, the unsubsidized price of solar electricity would be no more than the current price.

And we are already heavily subsidizing oil and nuclear power.

All of the components required have already been shown to be technically feasible. The plan could be successfully framed as a 'Green New Deal,' to shore up our drooping economy by creating hundreds of thousands of family-wage jobs. Since Oregon is already poised to become a leader in manufacturing solar panels, many of these jobs could be created here.

Mike Litt

Lake Oswego

School district advised to 'take some risks'

To the Editor:

Lake Oswego is a fine place to educate kids.

If you are one who looks at superficial ways to rank and assess schools, like test scores, you'll find Lake Oswego at the top. If you take a more in depth look, you'll find a thoughtful school board, a trusted superintendent, some of the finest teachers anywhere, and motivated students with parents who value education.

The weak link in all these strengths is the lack of motivation to innovate. It's easy to stay with the status quo when you are doing fine. However, Oregon is a state that is rapidly changing with a population that is becoming more bilingual. We cannot afford to allow our children to miss out on second-language learning opportunities that will better equip them to face a changing economy and population.

As an LO parent, I would like the district to take a few risks. In the thoughtful and thorough manner with which they treat all decisions, they should initiate a second-language immersion program at one or more elementary schools. This would attract families with kids to a district whose enrollment is declining, and give our kids another wonderful educational opportunity.

Ruth Wallin

Lake Oswego

The citizens are paying the bills

To the Editor:

In the Lake Oswego Review published Aug. 7, Mayor Judie Hammerstad responded to Denny Hageman's concerns regarding the funding of the proposed sewer interceptor plan.

She said that five years ago sewer rates were increased in order to build up a reserve to pay for the new system to come and she did not expect that a bond measure would be needed for additional funds. Instead, the money from the increase was used for immediate sewer repairs.

If we, the Lake Oswego citizens, had known that the sewer system was in such a poor state, perhaps we would not have approved many additional projects and expenditures the city council has seemed to think we need. Too many decisions are made without clearly informing us.

Let's remember that we, the tax-paying citizens of Lake Oswego, are paying the bills. Hopefully the incoming mayor and new council members will understand that communication with the public is integral to success.

Possibly they will bring more experience to huge projects like this one and the others we are facing.

Larry Cartwright

Lake Oswego

Thanks for the scarecrow story

To the Editor:

I want to thank you for the recent interesting and colorful article in the (July 31st Neighbors section of the Lake Oswego) Review that featured Luscher Farm's scarecrows.

The scarecrows have been a feature in the garden and a major attraction for a number of years. As you pointed out in your article, the Oswego Garden Club has been a major contributor to the program. I wanted to point out that the scarecrows have been a project for the whole community.

The Lake Grove Garden Club has also been a major supporter and in fact three of the scarecrows pictured in your article were actually their creations. Many of the scarecrows have been created by individual families, staff, Girl Scouts and other groups.

We appreciate your making the community aware of some of the fun things that are going on at Luscher Farm.

Karen Davis

Luscher Farm Garden Coordinator