10 more thoughts on Safeco


Ten more reasons to stop worrying and love the Safeco project:

No. 20 -We desperately need another Pilates studio.

We actually have fewer of these than dandelions in LO.

No. 19 - There will be fewer commuters on our roads.

The finished project can't possibly employ as many permanent workers as Safeco, even after spending tens of millions of dollars for remodeling and new construction. After all, how many city employees does it take to check out a racquetball?

No. 18 - It will show our generosity to residents of neighboring cities.

Strategically located in the 'west end,' Safeco is actually closer to most Tigard and Tualatin residents than to some in Lake Oswego. Our neighbors might get by for decades without ever spending their own tax dollars for a community center.

No. 17 - Boiling frogs - Lake Oswego style:

Do you remember the old experiment where frogs put into hot water just jump right out, but if placed in cool water they'll sit there while the temperature is slowly raised until they're cooked? Some project proponents propose starting off 'small' with just part of the proposal, spending more and more taxes over the years until completion. Guess who get to be the frogs?

No. 16 - The project brings understated subtlety to public discourse.

Expressions such as 'grandiose,' 'over-the-top,' 'boondoggle' or 'ego trip' for the project and 'handful of residents' for opponents just scratch the surface.

No. 15 - It will provide for 22nd century growth.

The current park master plan budgets a total of $10.7 million for a recreation center, a community center and a new indoor pool to meet foreseeable needs. The $77 to $100+ million Safeco project looks far beyond that. Some say that our population growth rate has peaked and will never justify the project. What about the great grandchild of 37? After it passes in November 2136, the Stafford area will become the New Pearl with back-to-back 100-story residential towers. Secondly, naysayers discount the burgeoning Y-NIMBY (Why not in my backyard?) movement. These high-end homeowners work hard to convince the city to change zoning to encourage large multifamily affordable housing projects in their own neighborhoods.

No. 14 - It gives the city a chance to prove its managerial efficiency.

We're spending (money) to move park and recreation offices to Safeco, even though they'll have to be moved again whether or not the project is approved. Now we'll learn how convenient it is to have some city offices several miles from others, how much more quickly special park use permits are processed and how much money is saved by the temporary relocation. In fact, ...

No. 13 - It could become our new city hall.

Moving other city offices may well be Plan B if we reject the community center. Some Machiavellian thinkers believe it's really Plan A; that the idea is to propose such an expensive rec center complex that city leaders could show us that they would be saving tens of millions by morphing the project into a relocated municipal center. In preparation, the city is starting to publicize long known defects in our existing city hall. Stay tuned.

No. 12 - It will attract families with children.

Take some of the most expensive metro area housing, add several hundred dollars per year in new property taxes to each home, and eliminate millions of dollars from the school district tax base to build a project which mostly duplicates existing facilities. Parents will be camping out in front of every real estate office.

No. 11 - It can be a monument to our city leadership.

The name 'West End Building' is not exactly a keeper. To be known informally and affectionately as 'The Ham,' it will be a fitting tribute. Have you ever seen a monument to a politician who saved taxpayers a dollar?

R A Fontes is a resident of Lake Oswego.