Ten reasons to stop worrying and love the Safeco project:

No. 10: It will fight the heartbreak of TriMetiasis.

One disturbing thing about living here is occasionally witnessing a neighbor use the bus to visit city hall, the library, or the swimming pool. While eight buses per hour from all over town stop at the Lake Oswego Transit Center (Memo: send note to TriMet to rename as East End Transit Center) and six pass the pool, only one in each direction goes by Safeco. Bonus: no service at all evenings, weekends, or holidays.

No. 9: It will bring people together.

Finally, we have something to fight about! The neat thing is that just discussing the proposal will create winners. For example, somebody will win if we move the library. Somebody else wins if we don't. It's a win-win situation.

No. 8: It will finally bring Mountain Park into Lake Oswego.

Mountain Park residents identify very strongly with their neighborhood, partly because they have their own recreation center. Of course, the center might not be around much longer after they get their Safecoproject tax bills.

No. 7: It will give entrepreneurs currently wasting time operating health clubs and meeting rooms the chance to do something else with their talents.

It's only right that publicly financed facilities, which never pay taxes, should use their competitive advantage to drive out less efficient operations. Why shouldn't the Mercantile Plaza health club across the street from Safeco be put to better use?

No. 6: It will eliminate all that wasted space in front of Safeco.

That's where the pool building goes. Won't it be nice to change the tired old sightlines?

No. 5: It will eliminate unnecessary trips downtown.

Since Safeco is significantly closer to Bridgeport Village, Home Depot, Fred Meyer, Costco, etc. than to Lake Oswego's city center, residents won't be forced to shop downtown when using the new facility. This should free up valuable retail space. Maybe we could finally have a Fantasy Video or payday loan store.

No. 4: It will help Southern California immigrants feel at home.

Unlike Los Angeles, major cities in this part of North America follow the trite old pattern of having a single center which includes the city's historic, civic, premier retail, and cultural heart. Lake Oswego has been doing this but now sees the light. We'll be joining our neighbors in West Linn and Tigard by following LA's lead in avoiding the stale status of having a single focal point in municipal life.

No. 3: It will be 'something we can be proud of.'

This 'once in a lifetime opportunity' to keep up with the Beavertons is not something to be sneezed at. Besides, pride has got to be Lake Oswego's favorite deadly sin.

No. 2: It will make us No. 1 in cost overruns.

For years, Boston got lots of free publicity for spending almost four times as much on the Big Dig than its original cost estimates. Well, we've already passed that mark. (CNN, Fox News, New York Times - are you reading this?) In 2002, Lake Oswego's park master plan called for spending $4.8 million on a new recreation center. We've already spent $20 million for just an office building and a parking lot. Add $57 million more for the actual project development and we're better than 1,600 percent over budget. We're going to win this one!

No. 1: They're going to do it anyway, so we might as well relax and enjoy it.

Project supporters have proven their ability to get past obstacles and inconvenient truths. Whether it was the way that last year's survey was designed and conducted, the screening of steering committee members to discourage dissent, instructing the committee that it was to consider neither better sites for specific activities nor selling the property, or moving city offices to Safeco even before the committee's final report; is there any way they'll let a little thing like adverse election results deter them?

R.A. Fontes is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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