Pay attention to Measure 37 claims
To the Editor:
Citizen awareness and involvement is fundamental to the way your Clackamas County Board of Commissioners conducts its business. That is why we have authorized the unprecedented mailing of a map showing all 1,060 Clackamas County Measure 37 claims to our residents and businesses. The map includes a list of all 541 claims still pending in the county, so that people who want to comment on a claim may do so. Your copy should arrive in the mail later this month.
Measure 37, approved by Oregon voters in 2004, provides either for the waiver of land-use restrictions put in place after property owners acquired their land or compensation for the cost of those restrictions. The total amount of compensation if waivers are not granted exceeds $1.6 billion dollars.
Clackamas County's 1,060 Measure 37 claims were the most received by any county. They represent about 37,000 acres, an area nearly half the size of Portland.
As you will see when you receive your map, the claims are scattered throughout the rural areas of our county and have the potential to dramatically alter the rural nature of our county. Virtually all of the proposed development would be in areas where public services and infrastructure (such as sewer, water, roads, etc.) are at a level sufficient to serve rural areas, but not to serve urban-style development.
Please take the time to review this information when you receive it. Even if you have not filed a Measure 37 claim or do not live near any of the claim sites, it is possible that the number and size of the claims will affect you and your family for many years to come.
Chair, Clackamas County Board of Commissioners
Dogs and walkers need to be seen
To the Editor:
I have occasion to drive from West Bay to the high school swimming pool five times a week. The time is between 6:30 and 7 (a.m.) - right now pitch black.
The runners and walkers are pretty considerate. They wear either light-color clothing or reflectors. But that is not true for the dog walkers, who are out in great numbers. If all the dogs were white, this would not present a problem; but most of them are not.
I would suggest that we have a regulation requiring some kind of reflectors on the dogs. Ideally, they would be attached to their tails, but they might not like it. As second best, I want small reflectors to be handed out with dog licenses, which could be attached to the leash. All of us who drive at 6:30 in the morning would be grateful.
Museum would be a nice addition for the city
To the Editor:
In support of Marylou Culver's letter regarding a museum for Lake Oswego, I've long wondered why a city of this size and renown is without one.
Communities throughout Oregon with far fewer resources have charming small museums that are a delight to visit. Without a museum, a city is not speaking well for itself. Where is the history of this (community) one asks. Don't the citizens care enough about their chosen place of residence to provide what has become a worldwide icon of culture, the museum?
With each passing day, as our older citizens pass on and their possessions are dispersed, many items of importance to the community are lost forever. It really makes me sad to think of what has been lost since the founding of Lake Oswego in 1850.
However, as the saying goes, 'It's never too late.' While we've lost much of value, and a museum of the city of Lake Oswego is long overdue, let's develop a plan to secure space and funding for a museum.
A partnership consisting of the city, generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers can do this. There are many fine examples of small museums whose founders would be happy to share their development formulas; we wouldn't need to reinvent the wheel. I know this can be done and I'm sure many of you reading this would be willing to help. Let's get busy!
Avamere experience was very positive
To the Editor:
I'm writing regarding the recent article about the Pearl at Kruse Way in the Lake Oswego Review. I understand that things can go wrong, but that article was not a fair assessment of the Pearl and its staff, and our opinion of the facility is completely different.
My parents were both suffering from dementia when we moved them to the Pearl in January of 2006. At that time, my mother was on hospice, weighed about 90 pounds, and was considered to have a very short time to live. She was living at her own home before, with 24-hour care. After moving to the Pearl, she began to gain weight, and eventually gained 20 pounds. Soon, she was taken off hospice, and the visiting hospice nurse told us she was receiving excellent care, and given the limitations of her condition, she was thriving.
When my Dad moved to the Pearl, he thought he was in a hotel. He talked a lot about the good food and the activities, which Greg Bledsoe arranged for the residents. The staff involved him immediately, and being very social, this was very good for my Dad. He often talks about how kind the staff is.
Personally, I feel that the staff at the Pearl has been very supportive of my wife, Nancy and me. I receive frequent calls regarding my parents' condition, and have had regular meetings with supervisors to go over changes in their care plan. When issues come up, we have been able to discuss them, and they have always been resolved to our satisfaction. There are some exceptional caregivers that come to mind, including Carlos, Judith, Kim and Lu, although these are the ones I see most often, so I'm sure I'm leaving someone out. The Pearl also offers many opportunities to meet with other families and caregivers through group meetings, brunches, football parties, etc.
When I chose the Pearl for my parents, it was a stressful time. I visited about ten facilities, and I felt the Pearl was the best of the bunch. I wanted to do the best I could for my parents, and I felt this was the one place that I would like to live if I were in their condition. I still feel that way.
I have no illusions that my parents are going to get better. All I can do is provide them a place where their needs are met, and they are in a comfortable, clean and healthy environment. I think the Pearl at Kruse Way is that place.
Pearl has exceeded all expectations
To the Editor:
I read through the newspaper article regarding the Pearl at Kruse Way in the Lake Oswego newspaper and wondered if it could be the same facility where my husband has been since the first part of December.
I average spending 11 hours a day at the Pearl so I have observed the staff and treatment of other residents daily. My husband also suffered severe head trauma and when he was unable to move on his own they made sure he was turned at least every two hours. They checked for skin breakdown daily. All food and fluids are charted and if the level of fluid or food intake is too low they urge my husband and other residents to eat or drink more.
The rehab has been beyond my expectations; my husband has gone from little movement on his left side to starting to walk with a cane. They work him hard then cheer him on, a great group.
The nurses and all of the staff have met my expectations for care. Everyone at the Pearl has had genuine concern and a caring attitude for both my husband and I. There have been down days that have been hard for me to get through and the 'how are you today' helped me get through them. I heard the cheers when my husband first walked in his walker and then with the cane.
Hopefully it won't be long before my husband and I can return home thanks to everything and everyone at the Pearl.
Caregivers at Pearl are definitely very helpful
To the Editor:
The facility is beautiful and all of the caregivers are so nice. It does not matter if you need help in the morning or late at night. They all have good attitudes. The nurses are wonderful and very caring. My sister was at the Pearl last year and that is why I came. She also received great care and was able to go home.
Mary Jane McLeish
'It just keeps getting
better at the Pearl'
To the Editor:
This is my third stay at the Pearl and it just keeps getting better. The staff is always willing to help with anything. I do not know where they found all of these nice people. My call light gets answered and they all smile.
Pearl gets a thumbs-up for its rehab program
To the Editor:
My stay at the Pearl has been a great experience; of course no one wants to have to go to a rehab but if you have to go this is a great place.
The staff is knowledgeable and very helpful. They have made an unpleasant situation as pleasant as it can be. The therapists are kind and helping me achieve my goal of returning home with my family.
I want to thank all of you for all of your help and support and I will recommend the Pearl to anyone who needs to go to a rehab.
Concerns raised about the community center
To the Editor:
In Mayor Hammerstad's piece in The Oregonian on Feb. 1, the mayor characterizes Gordon Umaki and a 'handful' of others that do not agree with the city council purchasing the Safeco property as ''short sighted and self-serving.' Yet the city council and their 'handful' of appointed committee members are spending millions of Lake Oswego taxpayer dollars on interest and design cost without a single poll or survey that shows anywhere close to a majority support for the idea of a basic community center, much less a community center costing $75 million. This figure does not include the loss of hundreds of thousands in potential property tax dollars generated by the site each year or annual upkeep for the center.
While I have not seen an average cost per home as proposed, I suspect that many homes in Lake Oswego will see their property taxes increase $800 or more each year for the next 20 years, and users will pay yet again each time they walk through the community center doors. It seems that the 2005 council's pet project of making Lake Oswego more affordable for lower-income families has been left far behind.
I suspect that there are many less expensive, unexplored options to address the needs that the city is trying to fix with the Safeco building. Why not purchase homes around the library (pay a premium to encourage willing sellers) and construct a new parking facility? Has anyone tried to negotiate a partnership with the Mountain Park Homeowners Association that would provide funds to fix its empty pool in exchange for citywide use? Could we partner with schools and churches for community meeting spaces?
If the mayor is certain that the majority of citizens support this project, bring the general concept of the community center, using the most conservative cost estimate, to a public vote now, and if it passes, bring the finished proposal to another vote. Let us find out which 'handful' of voters is currently being self serving, and which side is in the majority before the council digs us so deep into Safeco that we cannot get out without a significant loss.
Let's vote on the
center plan in 2007
To the Editor:
Terry Scalzo complains about the number of letters to the editor written by Gordon Umaki about the Safeco property. (Gee, Terry, I think that's called free speech.) But Mr. Umaki is not alone in his concern about our city council's irresponsible behavior.
Every week I read letters in the Review and Oregonian from many individuals taking issue with the council's actions. These questionable actions include:
1. Putting off a citizen vote on a proposed community center until Nov. 2008, two and a half years after purchasing the Safeco property.
2. Ignoring its own survey that shows lack of citizen support for such a center (even when the survey used a much lower cost estimate).
3. Suspending a city policy that limits the amount of property tax reserves that can be held in land.
4. Incurring millions of (taxpayer) dollars in interest expense for the loan to purchase the property.
5. Moving the parks department to Safeco at even more taxpayer expense, obviously to establish a foothold there.
6. Downplaying other more pressing infrastructure needs like the decaying sewer system, which will also require a huge bond measure.
The common thread in all these letters and opinion pieces is that the writers resent both the council's assumption that we are willing to blindly fund bond measure after bond measure, and the continuing condescension from a council that thinks it knows better than the citizens what is best for this city.
Mr. Scalzo himself cites 'the lack of public support for conversion of the Safeco property.' Yet he claims such a facility is needed because private clubs are too expensive. He wants 'equal access to public recreation and fitness opportunities.' The city already provides pathways, hiking trails, parks, a rowing center, tennis center, golf course, etc. Should we pay additional taxes to provide for all the Scalzo family's fitness and recreation needs?
Let's vote on it. In 2007.
Community center seems unnecessary
To the Editor:
We respond to the letter by Lake Oswego budget chairs (past and present) challenging questions by local residents about the 'fiscal prudence of the city's purchase of the Safeco property and the financial viability of a proposed community center' (Lake Oswego Review, Feb 8, 2007).
Include us among those who have serious concerns about the fiscal prudence of this purchase. It is expensive and the need is highly questionable. And equally important, the city of Lake Oswego confronts significant infrastructure costs in its sewer and water systems. The Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer replacement is considered one the largest, most complex projects in recent history (Hello L.O., February 2007).
It is critically needed. Raw sewage has polluted local streets and the lake (97,000-plus gallons last year alone) since 2005. Likewise, our drinking water supply infrastructure is projected to reach capacity within three years (reported at LONAC, Feb. 3, 2007), an obvious new challenge for city finances. In the face of these very basic needs, the community center project, which would duplicate existing services, seems an unnecessary diversion and a huge financial burden.
Why not first repair and preserve what Lake Oswego has already invested in. That is the fiscal and prudent thing to do!
Doug and Janice Parker
Safeco property better suited for private use
To the Editor:
It appears that the Lake Oswego city administration's haste to purchase the Safeco property has amounted to a bad bargain for all of us. Even to turn around and sell it now would result in a loss.
In the mayor and city council's efforts to create a Pleasantville in Lake Oswego, there is a consensus of the public that it is overreaching itself.
Abraham Lincoln once said, 'Never squeeze a bad bargain.' This seems to be exactly what our city is now doing. They are trying to figure out ways to make this palpable for voters. Quite frankly, this expensive site is better suited for private enterprise to develop than for civic use.
Certainly, moving the Parks and Recreation Department to the Safeco building is just 'putting the camel's nose in the tent.' Although the money is there to move in, how much will it cost to move out after a failed bond issue?
Our main priority now should be the costs of a bond for the necessary and prudent sewer project for the city of Lake Oswego.
This, combined with other bond issues, is creating a new problem for our city, which our city leaders must address. The cost of housing, plus the real estate taxes, is already making housing unattainable for young families. Young couples and their children bring vivacity and vitality to our neighborhoods. We need and desire young families living here. Let's not price them out and force them to live elsewhere.