How about having a capital campaign?

To the Editor:

The acquisition of the Safeco buildings and land was a brilliant and visionary move by the city council of Lake Oswego. Land in the city limits is fast disappearing and an opportunity like this will never again be available.

Other civic developments in the city have often lacked this kind of forethought, witness the library, which was too small when it was built, and city hall, which is sited on a crowded block on A Avenue.

In years to come people will marvel that this property became available and was acquired. But, I think the city needs to rethink its method for funding this 'pearl of great price.' Many civic buildings thoughout the country are funded by a capital campaign. The campaign gives large and small givers an opportunity to give according to their means and their interest.

Persons who wish to honor someone with their gift can memorialize rooms, facilities and perhaps the building itself. Smaller givers can designate their contributions for specific items of furniture and equipment. There is enormous wealth in Lake Oswego and it would be shameful to pass up the opportunity to let those of wealth express their civic pride through their generous gifts.

A capital campaign would remove or at least diminish the need for city bonds and increased taxes. It would mute the opposition that may come from people on fixed incomes and from persons whose location or circumstances would inhibit their use of the property.

Up to the present time much of our philanthropic wealth has gone to colleges or projects in the city of Portland. Isn't it about time that we gave those who enjoy the benefits of Lake Oswego the opportunity to give back through generous charitable investments in this once in a life time opportunity. A Blue Ribbon Committee should be formed to explore this opportunity.

Clifford D. Mansley

Lake Oswego

Bring the corporate tax up to date

To the Editor:

Currently a corporation that loses money, regardless of its size, pays $10 as a minimum tax with its Oregon tax return.

This has been unchanged since 1975.

With many lower wage Oregonians paying substantially more than this each year, I think it is high time we asked our state legislators to bring the corporate minimum tax up to date.

Steve Larson

Lake Oswego

Taxpayers don't need any more surprises

To the Editor:

While reading the Southwest Weekly section of The Oregonian on Jan. 18, the headline, 'Costs Grow Like Weeds for Two Schools' Artificial Turf Fields' came to my attention.

Again another cost overrun of school expenditures. The total cost estimate for the fields from last year has grown from $1.6 million to the latest estimate of $2.4 million. Considering the track record of our school board, will this be the final figure or will we have another school expansion debacle? When will this group be held accountable for mismanagement of projects?

I agree the playing fields need to be improved, but better advanced planning is needed. Lake Oswego taxpayers do not need any further surprises.

Larry Cartwright

Lake Oswego

Editor's note: Nancy Duin, communications coordinator for the Lake Oswego School District, replies: 'Following a lengthy siting and development review process, cost estimates for the two fields have risen due to a number of factors, including inflation, relocation of a previously unidentified water line and, most importantly, the opportunity to expand the size of one field by 10,000 square feet. Initial estimates did not anticipate the possibility of installing a larger playing surface, which has increased surface area costs. The district and school board are delighted to provide a larger field, which will better serve our school, youth and community athletes.'

Sell Safeco if voters shoot down plans

To the Editor:

I read with great dismay in Lee Van Der Voo's article on the (Lake Oswego City) Council's key goals for 2007 that the mayor and new Council 'could opt to keep the West End (Safeco) Building for public use whether a community center for the site is approved by the voters or not.'

If this is truly representative of what they said, there could not be a better description of the complete distain this council has for the opinions of the citizens of Lake Oswego than this statement. Their attitude can only be described as arrogance of the highest order.

If the community center at the Safeco site is rejected by the voters, it must be sold immediately. The only possible use council could be contemplating for it would be a new city hall since that is only city facility that has so far not been formally proposed for the Safeco site. I have long suspected that this was the hidden agenda of the council all along.

To move city hall to the Safeco site at the exorbitant costs we paid for it is truly appalling and a revolting misuse of public funds and the public's trust.

Gordon Umaki

Lake Oswego