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Letters

'Time will tell outcome' for Measure 37

To the Editor:

In 1973 my wife and I purchased three acres of county land behind our house, as our house and others in our neighborhood had failing septic systems. We planted more than 100 trees and wildlife -improvement plants from the ODFW on the land.

Our land purchased in 1973 was designated in the Lake Oswego 1978 Comprehensive Plan for city park acquisition. It remained in the Comprehensive Plan for 17 years. The property was removed in 1995 on advice of the city attorney, citing adverse legal cases. The city annexed our land against our will in 1999 by getting the rules changed after failing before the Boundary Commission in Portland. Several months later half of the land was declared a city tree grove.

While attending a pre-filing Measure 37 conference, I discovered that our property's designation on the Comprehensive Plan Map had not been changed by the city; this was 12 years after official removal. Anyone looking for property to buy from the Comprehensive Plan Map would view the land as indicated for park acquisition. The city's response: 'somehow the city dropped the ball on making sure the designation was removed from the Comp Plan Map.'

In 1999 city council minutes, one member stated that he had reservations with an ordinance allowing only 50 percent of property to be developed. He also stated that the courts and Legislature would determine 'talking' and compensation in the future. He was a man with a vision who could see Measure 37 coming.

The new Legislature is now trying to make changes in Measure 37. Time will tell the outcome. The people of Oregon in 2006 expressed their continued views on property rights with 67 percent voting to prohibit government from taking private property and putting it to a use they preferred. The taking of private property is not seen as a problem until it is your property.

We are not anti-environmentalists. I have been a member of the Nature Conservancy and Sierra Club for years, the National Wildlife Federation since 1967 and Mazamas for more than 35 years.

Gerald Mock

Lake Oswego

Action by airlines seems like a crime, definitely should be a fraud

To the Editor:

This past Saturday I was attempting to travel from Charleston, S.C. to Portland. Unfortunately my flight was delayed due to mechanical problems. The result was that I missed my connecting flight to Portland.

I was told that the next available flight was three days later. I went online to check alternative flights and discovered that United (the airline I was flying) had a flight available through SF to Portland for $738. I carried my computer up to the ticket agent and asked to be put on the available flight that was shown online. When she checked the flight she said it was already oversold by several seats. I asked how United could sell seats on a oversold flight and was told that they had no answer. One agent suggested that I buy the ticket because with my frequent flyer status they would be bumping someone other than me.

Where I come from ... selling something that has already been sold constitutes a crime, I believe that it's called fraud. How is it that the airlines are immune from this? Does giving away a 'free flight' make it better? If I robbed a bank and gave some of it away to the customers of the bank would I be immune from prosecution? I don't think so.

Bruce Couch

Lake Oswego

British accent? There's not just one of 'em, but many

To the Editor:

Contrary to the feature article, 'The British are here' (in Last week's Neighbors section), there is no such thing as a single British accent.

As an American who lived for two years in England and 20 years in Canada and visited both Scotland and Australia for two weeks each, I can assure the writer that there are many accents in the United Kingdom and that neither Canadians nor Australians consider themselves British or speak with an English or British accent.

Fred de Luna

West Linn

Stafford Hamlet town hall is set for Athey Creek Saturday at 10 a.m.

To the Editor:

Hello Stafford Hamlet residents and property owners! You received a post card last week announcing our first official town hall meeting. We will hear from Brian Newman, our Metro counselor, about the New Look and how Stafford Hamlet fits in. Our very new draft timeline for the conceptual plan will be presented for input, and you will be enlisted to participate in defining what we need to know further about our area.

Last year I volunteered to work in the formation of the Stafford Hamlet. There was much excitement and participation as we met to define our bylaws, when we met to vote and residents voted overwhelmingly for the Hamlet formation!

It is now time to become 're-involved' - to be part of the concept design of our Hamlet area - to work with each other to define what is important to all of us for the future. I encourage everyone - whether you were a frequent or intermittent participant during our work last June thru November, or if you are a new person in the Hamlet … please come to the town hall meeting April 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at Athey Creek Middle School. We all need each other's ideas, creative thoughts, discussion. Don't miss this opportunity to be involved in this grass roots effort to make a difference - to help shape the future of our newly formed Stafford Hamlet!

Sally Quimby

Stafford Hamlet Outreach Committee

Community center fact sheet generates some concerns

To the Editor:

The city's Web site 'fact sheet' showing the costs and funding for the proposed Safeco community center is misleading. The 'fact sheet' shows the costs of the property acquisition ($20 million), building modification costs ($55-$60 million) and new library ($3 to $25 million) as separate costs. It then gives an example of the tax impact of the general obligation bonds at only the $60 million level for a home with an assessed value of $300,000 as $315 per year.

This is misleading for a number of reasons.

First, according to the city finance department, the average assessed value in Lake Oswego is $350,000, not the $300,000 used in the example. The correct increase is $369 per year for 20 years for the average assessed value at $350,000.

Second, and more significantly, the $315 tax increase is for only the building modifications and does not include the tax increase related to the Safeco property acquisition at $20 million and the cost of the new library at $25 million. Without the library, the bond issue cannot be sold to the public. These must be included with the cost of the facility and the bond issue. If these were included, the bond issue would be for over $100 million and the increased taxes for an average home would be at least $615 per year for 20 years.

The 'fact sheet' also refers to public/private partnerships, private sponsorships, donations, grants, and (ominously) using other city funds to reduce the cost of the community center. Until the city has commitments from these possible sources of funds, these are only financial wishes, which should not be included in a supposed 'fact sheet' on the proposed community center. The mayor seems particularly adept at considering financial wishes as 'facts.' So when you hear that the bond issue will only be $50 or $60 million, don't believe it until the mayor can show real facts and financial commitments on how we get from more than $100 million to $60 million.

I don't believe $60 million for a minute and neither should you.

And really, is it in the citizen's interests for the city's Web site to present misleading information?

Gordon Umaki

Lake Oswego

Editor's note: The Lake Oswego City Council responds: 'The actual average assessed value for a Lake Oswego home within Clackamas County is currently $303,562 based on recent figures provided to the city by the Clackamas County Tax Assessor's Office. When condominiums are included, the average assessed value for a residence in Lake Oswego is $287,450. The city uses $300,000 as a rounded, yet conservative number between these two.

The bond measure examples in the fact sheet are intended solely for illustration of what a total property tax increase could be, based on a certain size general obligation bond issue. The fact sheet example did not separate such a bond measure amount into allocations for building modifications, property acquisition costs, a new library, a swimming pool or any other potential center elements. The size of the community center project, various funding sources or size of a general obligation bond as a component of revenues, have not yet been determined.

Additionally, the fact sheet does not refer to other funds as a means to 'reduce the cost' of the community center. The use of other funding sources to pay for the project may reduce the size of a possible bond issue; however, additional funding sources will not reduce the cost of the project, and the fact sheet does not imply that.

Nowhere in the fact sheet does it state, or even imply, that there are commitments for any of the funding sources, including a bond issue. Citizens have asked for and should be provided information for what a reasonable funding plan might include, once it is developed. All information in the fact sheet was provided by the Community Center Project Team and the citizens Steering Committee - not by the city council.

The likely primary funding source for a community center project is a general obligation bond issue as stated in the fact sheet. However, the only means for committing to this funding source is by approval of voters. At the time that final project and cost information is developed, voters will know the cost of a bond measure and what they would be getting for their investment, so they can make an informed decision to support it or not. That information will be accurate, factual and appropriate, just as the fact sheet is accurate, factual and appropriate in terms of where the project is today.

Make your wishes known in city budget process

To the Editor:

On April 16 the Lake Oswego Citizens Budget Committee will have its first meeting to discuss the city's budget for the 2007-09 biennium. As usual, probably I will be one of the few observers attending.

Also on April 16 there will be a public hearing on how the city should spend an estimated $300,000 per year of state revenue sharing. The state requires the hearing to give the public an opportunity to suggest how these funds should be spent. I have had little luck putting forth my ideas. One budget year I suggested street maintenance, and in 2005 I recommended the funds be spent on library services. Both times I lost out to the wishes of the Budget Committee (whose members) preferred using the money for lobbying staff or project studies for the proposed streetcar line, with unused dollars put in the general fund.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage more citizens to become involved in the budget process. You have only to attend three or four two-hour meetings to see how the city plans to spend your money for the next two years. I hope to see you at 6 p.m. on April 16 at the West End Building, 4101 Kruse Way. I am sure the mayor and council will appreciate your interest.

John Pullen

Lake Oswego

Saturday events at George Rogers tied to limiting carbon emissions

To the Editor:

I wanted to alert you to two local events marking April 14 (Saturday) countrywide demonstrations urging support of congressional action to limit carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Individuals from two local organizations are involved. Eban Goodstein, economics professor and author of 'Economics and Environment' will speak at the Polar Bear Plunge at George Rogers Park (from 10 a.m. to noon). A rally and witness walk (to join the plunge) will progress from Lake Oswego United Methodist Church (starting at 10 a.m.).

Everyone is welcome. Music, inspiration, and posters will be provided.

Do check the stepitup2007.org Web site.

Barbara Stratton

Our Church in Action committee