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First Addition is no longer the Best Cottage District

To the Editor:

First Addition Neighborhood is losing its unique character with the rapid invasion of McMansions.

I cannot understand why there was so much publicity and controversy over something less permanent, such as pole signs, while the 'double uglies' are allowed to be built five feet from property lines. A 5,000 square foot home on a 60-foot lot brings to mind the words 'greed' and 'pretentious.'

They are replacing the trees as shade on the narrow streets. I weep when I see how 'soul-less' the neighborhood is becoming. It is no longer America's Best Cottage District.

Eileen Neilson

Lake Oswego

Keep the tone civil in those letters to editor

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Holder and Ms. Haroldson's letter to the editor regarding efforts to repeal curfew in Lake Oswego.

While we appreciate that people may disagree with our position, we would ask that the tone of this debate remain civil. Mr. Holder's urging that we 'leave your pranks and stunts for Mayfete' and condescendingly calling us 'dears' hardly serves to improve the tone of the community's political dialogue. The letters sent in by my peers were respectful and dignified, while critics continue to call our efforts 'pranks.'

Let's instead look to the substantive objections to the efforts to repeal curfew. The recent flurry of student letters has shown the importance of this issue to area teens.

Although some may not believe that our efforts are important, keep in mind that it is not adult civil liberties that we are fighting for, but the rights of the young. This issue affects thousands of teenagers in Lake Oswego each night and we find it to be a worthy issue. If the curfew ordinance is unconstitutional, it does not belong on the books even if some people think it is good policy.

Ms. Haroldson argues that the recent vandalism of an area school proves the need for curfew. However this 'drunken clan of teenagers,' as Ms. Haroldson called them, could, and should, have been arrested for MIP at anytime before the vandalism took place.

Policemen and women have the power to arrest teenagers committing crimes such as MIP and vandalism at any time day or night regardless of curfew. The current curfew ordinance failed to prevent the teens from vandalizing the school, so what is the point of having a curfew ordinance?

At this point, curfew is punishing only innocent teenagers. Those few teens who are committing crimes are being arrested for more substantial reasons, not curfew. So in fact, the cited instance is not ironic at all - relevant maybe, but hardly ironic.

Kyle Hayes, Paul Trompke, Taylor Goldsmith, and Hanna Piazza

Lake Oswego High School students and Lake Oswego residents

Still have a couple of school questions

To the Editor:

Thank you so much for printing my letter to the editor in last week's Lake Oswego Review.

It was interesting to read Nancy Duin's reply in regards to high school closures:

Editor's note: Nancy Duin, communications specialist for the Lake Oswego School District, replies: 'The district is pursuing efforts on several fronts in order to avoid closing schools. If at some future date, however, the district must close schools due to the economics of declining enrollment, the updated facilities at both of the district's high schools would remain in use. If a single high school, single middle school configuration were considered, for example, both high school campuses would be employed in order to provide students with use of the comprehensive facilities available at those sites.'

My questions then would be:

1. What would be done to existing redundant middle schools and elementary schools? How would they be used or would the land be sold?

2. If our school populations continue to decline how is a community center going to be populated?

Kathe Worsley

Lake Oswego

Editor's note: Nancy Duin, communications specialist for the Lake Oswego School District, responds: 'Beyond the assumption that the district would continue to use its high school sites, there have been no proposals or decisions regarding school closure or reconfiguration, nor has there been any determination that such action will be necessary. As a strategic planning measure, the school board has appointed a Configuration Committee to develop detailed financial and cost/benefit analysis associated with various scenarios; reports on the committee's work to date are available on the district Web site. Should school closures become necessary in the future, the school board would initiate an extensive public process before making any decisions.'

Many transit questions remain unanswered

To the Editor:

Parallels between the Enron debacle and today's Lake Oswego to Portland Transit and Trail Alternative Analysis (LOPTTAAS) are startling.

I worked as a temp project coordinator at PGE to install the mechanics of competitive power pricing shortly after the Enron buyout circa 1997.

I was impressed with optimism and swagger of those from Texas who had come to Portland to herd us heifers into the new competitive world of the 21st century. They seemed to know something I did not. With 20/20 hindsight it turned out my suspicions - based upon accounting classes in the late 1970s, were right.

Enronistas told a good story about competition but they would not show how it was to work. By 2002 we learned the code words such as 'Chewbaka' told the real tale of who was to pay for electricity.

The Metro LOPTTAAS project is following the same course. With respect to Transit Oriented Development TOD and performance claims for the streetcar between Lake Oswego and Portland:

Where are the numbers to back up their assertions? In the multiple notebooks I have kept of documents released at meetings on LOPTTAAS not one reveals how the transit models work. No maps. No list of Transit Analysis Zones (TAZ) and primary destinations / originations. (What are TAZ designators for, Pioneer Square, PDX, OHSU, Union Station, Bridgeport?) Limited disclosure of population figures. No examples of sample trips, with time and distances for walk, wait, ride, and transfer. No rider projections between TAZ. No zone to zone times, travel times have been revealed.

On this basis a $232.6 million decision is to be made for the streetcar and bike freeway? Please review articles on the action of the PGE board of directors at the time of the Enron purchase. Before another debacle evolves due reticence to challenge authorities, make them state their assumptions and prove their calculations.

Charles 'Skip' Ormsby

Birdshill area near Lake Oswego

Is the mayor misleading Lake Oswego citizens?

To the Editor:

As a petitioner for the city initiative to require public approval for major property purchases I was alarmed to find Mayor (Judie) Hammerstad misleading citizens about the proposal.

Last Saturday I was gathering signatures with other volunteers at the Farmers' Market in Millennium Plaza Park. Although I know the mayor fiercely opposes our measure, I have always strived to remain on friendly terms with her. So I was a little surprised when the mayor challenged me for (apparently) having the nerve to gather signatures in the town square. With a sweeping wave of her hand she announced, 'None of this would have been built if your measure had been in place!'

I was taken aback somewhat but managed to say, 'Mayor, it's nice to see you' before politely telling her that I disagreed. Later, I discovered she had made similar statements in speeches and that others are beginning to repeat them. So I looked into the history of the Millennium Plaza Park property purchase and must conclude that the Mayor's assertion, taken in its best light, is a misleading half-truth - but you can be the judge.

In 1996 the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency (LORA) purchased properties that became the site of Millennium Plaza Park. Those properties (which included three apartment buildings) would have required public approval under our proposal, if the city was the buyer. But the city was not the buyer; instead LORA bought the properties through an urban renewal plan. Our proposal allows LORA to make such purchases unimpeded as long as the underlying plan obtains voter approval when enacted.

So why is the mayor's statement a half-truth? Well, in 1986 the urban renewal plan was enacted by the city but not placed before voters (it wasn't necessary at the time). So the mayor's assertion might be true if she really believed that voters did not support the plan in 1986. Of course nobody could really claim to know one way or the other (without a time machine). Still, wouldn't it be odd for the mayor to continue administering an urban renewal plan all the while believing it to lack public support?

John Kuran

Co-chief petitioner, Ask Lake Oswegans

Lake Oswego

Editor's note: Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad responds: Mr. Kuran's letter, which was based on what I thought was a short, but cordial conversation, brings up the many complexities and unanswered questions of the ballot petition that he, Mr. Surrett and Mr. Harding have authored, and for which they are now collecting signatures. Stating that 'none of this would have been built under the proposed ballot measure' is rooted in the language of the proposed petition. Because the cost of the properties comprising Millennium Plaza Park totaled $2.2 million, the properties were purchased within a two-year period, and were purchased by the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency (LORA), the purchase would have been subject to a vote under the proposed petition. On the other hand, if the public voted on the redevelopment plan and the plan permitted purchases in excess of $2 million, then the wording of the petition would allow purchase of properties without a subsequent vote. This raises other questions, however. If the prices that the city is willing to pay (and therefore, the taxpayers) for property are published in the plan, will properties be obtained for fair market value? There are many more 'what ifs' within the proposed petition that citizens will want to carefully weigh.'

Sign petition to determine the debt you'll tolerate

To the Editor:

Rob LeChevallier argues that more than $100 million of new debt for the sewer interceptor should not prevent us from splurging an additional $100 million on the proposed community center. ('Safeco was a good investment for city,' May 17').

These are 'two important needs,' and, 'this opportunity will not come our way again.' It's the same old refrain we hear from city hall, hardly surprising given that LeChevallier was hand picked for the Community Center Steering Committee in keeping with the mayor's policy of selecting only the like-minded.

Why the need to justify the Safeco purchase a year after the fact, when voter approval was not sought for it in the first place? The answer lies in the proposed ballot measure that would amend the city charter to require voter approval of property purchases exceeding $2 million. The measure is retroactive to last April. If it passes, the public will finally have an opportunity to approve the Safeco purchase retroactively. Without this initiative, voters would have been excluded from the process.

Because the existing city charter did not require a vote, the only remaining obstacle to the Safeco purchase was the Fund Balance Policy, a safeguard that provided that no more than 25 percent of reserves could be held in land at any one time. City council overturned that safeguard with Resolution 06-15 for better access to your money.

Now that there's a real possibility that voters may decide on the Safeco purchase after all, city hall and its minions will need to develop much better arguments to persuade taxpayers that it is worth miring ourselves in debt for years to come in order to subsidize the recreation needs of neighboring communities whilst tackling our own mounting public health and safety crisis.

There are several more projects on the table besides sewer and community center. If only these two are undertaken, our current debt load would increase from its present roughly $60 million to close to $300 million, an increase of 400 percent. Sign the petition so that you, not city hall, can decide how much debt you will tolerate.

Jacqueline Heydenrych

Lake Oswego