Editorial contained incorrect language on time frame

To the Editor:

The March 15 editorial in the Lake Oswego Review contained a serious misstatement of fact. In the bottom third paragraph, second sentence: 'If voters reject the (Safeco) purchase, the building must be sold in 180 days (emphasis added).' This is untrue. The provision relating to Safeco reads:

(3) Implementation: This measure is effective upon enactment; however, any real property acquired by the city after April 1, 2006 that would require voter approval under the terms of this section if occurring after enactment must obtain voter approval on or before the first available city election date following enactment. Any such property purchased without voter ratification must be placed for public sale within 180 days following enactment. (Emphasis added).

We put in the 180 day provision to give the council enough time to effectively research market value before putting a property up for sale, not to require a property sale by a date certain. So the 'scary' conclusion that this measure would force a below market sale is completely without merit.

While I'm addressing misconceptions, I'd like to point out that the volunteer pool for 'Ask Lake Oswegans' has grown from two dozen to nearly 150 people in the last three weeks. The organization is not a small group of disgruntled letter writers as your editorial suggests. The petition is proposed legislation and the sponsors consider it very serious business. It is tough enough to fight city hall without being dismissed as a group of malcontents by the editor. We are earnest folks and know that we have a lot of hard work in front of us.

John Surrett

Lake Oswego

Grahams again show their leadership in community

To the Editor:

Kudos to Paul and Terry Graham for their leadership in recommending 'Shadow of the Wind' for the Lake Oswego Reads promotion and to this community-spirited couple for the wonderful celebrations they held each Saturday during the event at Graham's Book and Stationery.

The Spanish theme was creative and lots of fun for all who participated.

Thank you, Grahams, for your continuing contributions to this wonderful community.

Michael and Cheryl Dotten

Lake Oswego

Costs seem to keep going up for city residents

To the Editor:

We attended the community center open house on March 7. We listened with interest to the presentation by the Boora architects and read the handouts. The following project costs include:

n Safeco purchase: $20 million (plus $1 million in annual interest) - Construction: $60 million (but remember public projects always overrun estimates)

n Probable library: $20 million (ditto on cost overruns here, too)

The increase to property taxes for a $300,000 home: $525 every year for 20 years.

Now add: The sewer project, $65 million; the water project, $73 million; and the newly discovered need for a new city hall, $13 million and you have:

Additional increase to property taxes for the same $300,000 home: $790 every year for 20 years.

For a grand total annual property tax increase of $1,315 for every home owner.

And these huge increases to our property taxes don't even get you into the door of the new community center. For access to pools, gyms and fitness areas, you will pay annual fees and membership of: family, $725; senior, $350; adult, $475; and youth, $300. Makes Club Sport, 24 Hour Fitness and the many other workout businesses look like a real bargain!

While the presentation was informative it was more of a dog-and-pony show for the center proponents. There was not adequate opportunity for us to express our cost concerns. (We did try to talk to City Councilor Donna Jordan, but she seemed more interested in defending the city's position than listening to us). We are still left with that the pesky 800-pound gorilla in the corner - total cost to taxpayers. Every citizen should be very concerned about this huge increase in our property taxes. We urge our city officials to focus on the essential infrastructure priorities, i.e. sewer and water, and put the Safeco project up for a vote now.

Wally and Marilyn Helm

Lake Oswego

'Let the voters decide this November' about purchases

To the Editor:

I, too, would like to know the level of the public's support of the current plans for the Safeco purchase and the community center. Unfortunately, the mayor and council do not want to know. If they did, they could ask Campbell Delong to do another survey to find the level of support at various levels of expenditure from $50 million to $100 million with tax impacts disclosed.

The 2005 Campbell Delong survey question regarding the public's support of a community center at $27 million was 'lukewarm at best' and that 'only about one-third display strong support for building a community center.' At the new proposed costs of the community center, I can only guess that support would be clearly against the proposal. But why guess? Take the survey before we spend millions more before November 2008! The mayor and council have said no to my request.

By their refusal to consider citizen input or citizen opinion on their purchase of the Safeco property and the community center proposal, they have initiated a tidal wave of citizen protest and caused an initiative petition drive. Now we learn today in the Review they want to build a new city hall, after only 21 years in a building the city built. Log cabins last a lot longer.

You'd think the city would have had the good sense and foresight to build a city hall that would not yield to mold and mildew in that time and that, in earthquake country, what a surprise, would be earthquake resistant. But they didn't.

Frankly, I think, this is yet another ploy to move city hall to the Safeco site. They probably think they are being subtle, but it insults our intelligence.

The citizens should sign the petition to limit the mayor and council's excesses in purchasing real estate without voter approval. The Review has also incorrectly reported that the city must sell the Safeco property in 180 days if the voters approve the petition as written. The petition says the Safeco property must be 'placed for sale' within 180 days of enactment, not sold. Frankly, I think this gives the city too much leeway.

Let the voters decide this November.

Gordon Umaki

Lake Oswego

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