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The right track for Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar

When my husband and I were house hunting in Lake Oswego, we would never have considered a home that cost $450,000. But the same house, priced at $250,000, might have caught our attention.

That's because price matters. The same is true of the Portland to Lake Oswego Streetcar project.

Two weeks ago, Clackamas County Commissioners postponed deciding whether to endorse the streetcar project. We wanted more information before we vote. Here is some of the information I am seeking:

The refined project cost: Would this project cost $450 million, as opponents assert, or is the cost closer to $250 million? To what extent can we minimize cost through value engineering?

The realistic project benefits: How many riders would the streetcar serve after Foothills and nearby areas develop? How much congestion would it alleviate? How many local construction, manufacturing and other jobs would the project create?

Community support: Would residents of this area support a value-engineered version of the project? As recently as last year, 67 percent of Lake Oswego residents supported extending streetcar to the city.

Lake Oswego City Councilwoman Mary Olson recently cited 'overwhelming opposition' to the streetcar in our community. She suggests Lake Oswego residents emphatically oppose emulating transit-served vibrant cities such as Vancouver, B.C.

As a constituent of Councilwoman Olson, I respectfully note she does not speak for me.

My family wants to see a Lake Oswego that provides transit options for seniors, commuters and people of modest means. We want a vibrant, energized downtown where we can spend our shopping and entertainment dollars at local businesses. We want our community to include homes that young families and downsizing seniors can afford.

The streetcar project may be the right next step for our community and our region. The information we seek will help us discern that. If this information depicts a project offering significant benefit at a good value, I will join 67 percent of my neighbors and support it.

Lake Oswego is a great community because of residents who have a positive vision for our future and a willingness to implement that vision. We absolutely need leaders who will be careful with public resources. We also need leaders who, when the project is right, are willing to invest in the common good.

Ann Lininger, Lake Oswego, is a Clackamas County Commissioner.

Editor's note: It is true that our rule governing the number of opinion pieces one person can have printed in the Lake Oswego Review during a calendar month has not changed. It remains one. It is also true that Clackamas County Commissioner Ann Lininger, a Lake Oswego resident, had an opinion piece published in our June 9 newspaper. How can this be? The bottom line reason is that we picked up Lininger's June 9 piece from our sister newspaper, the Clackamas Review. She did not submit it to us. We felt the subject matter she dealt with at that time was worthy, so we added it to our list of columns for that week. We feel today's piece on the streetcar is also worthy, and because she personally has only submitted one item - this one - to run in the Review, we are including it in today's newspaper.