- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
'Streetcar seems like a no-brainer'
To the Editor:
In his letter in last week's Review, Charles 'Skip' B. Ormsby inveighed against the proposed streetcar from Lake Oswego to Portland by suggesting that our city councilors did not use public transportation to get to the Portland Airport.
This accusation totally ignores the fact that there are no good public transit options between Lake Oswego and the airport. Furthermore, the proposed streetcar would greatly facilitate travel from Lake Oswego to OHSU (via streetcar and tram) or to downtown Portland (via the LO streetcar and the Portland streetcar).
In an era of skyrocketing gas prices, increasing highway congestion, and concerns about global warming, the Lake Oswego to Portland streetcar seems like a no-brainer.
Why is there a
curfew at all?
To the Editor:
I have just read an article regarding the curfew law imposed on the youth of Lake Oswego by its governing council. Bravo to the four high school students taking their local government to task over this matter. Was the Constitution forgotten when such a draconian piece of legislation was passed?
As a Massachusetts resident considering moving out to Portland, specifically into the Lake Oswego area, I have been continually told of how lovely the area is and what a great place it is to bring up kids. I am seriously questioning whether that is indeed the case. Furthermore, I wonder what impression other families also considering a similar move are likely to have.
Whatever happened to the encouraging family values, mutual respect and trust between parents and children and mutual respect for your fellow human being, young or old. It occurs to me that this is the start of a slippery slope towards, dare I say, a 'police state.'
Are the kids in Lake Oswego that bad that a state of curfew, an action normally employed in troubled regions of the world, has to be employed? I cannot believe that.
Meeting left plenty to be desired
To the Editor:
Last night (June 6) I attended the Palisades Neighborhood Association meeting held at Lakeridge High School. I was appalled at the way the meeting was held. The meeting was ramrodded and highjacked by four 'elected officials' who have been in office obviously much too long and have lost touch with their own neighbors. We were so glad to be finally able to be heard and recognized by our neighbors and to attend a neighborhood gathering with our friends. But, the chairman and his cronies refused repeatedly to allow us to vote and bring in some fresh air, fresh ideas, fresh news and most importantly, fresh faces. The Palisades Neighborhood Association directors are a small group of people, with even smaller visions, running their tiny kingdom with small, personal ideals. I say let's have a honest, open vote and see who our neighbors really want representing us.
Marlane K. Wilson
McPeak made a persuasive argument
To the Editor:
From the beginning I have opposed the Lake Oswego Mayor and city council's decision to purchase the Safeco property. It was arrogant to act without citizen approval and it was fiscally irresponsible in view of the other major and mandatory expenses the city is facing, including the $100 million-plus sewer interceptor and the multimillion dollar water system upgrade. In fact, I have signed a petition that would require the city to sell the property if the majority of voters oppose the purchase.
However, after reading Councilor Ellie McPeak's citizen's view in the Lake Oswego Review (June 7) I believe she made a persuasive argument for voting in favor of the purchase. Ms. McPeak points out that that the property is unique in the city. There is no other large, flat, centrally located property available now or in the foreseeable future for locating the vital services Lake Oswego will need to serve its growing population. And certainly not for the $20 million the owners are asking.
My concern was, and is, that the city will interpret a 'yes' vote on the bond measure as a blank check to spend millions more to develop this property. If this building is seismically sound, which city officials claim it is, then it would cost little to adapt the existing building to city and community use. However, if the city plans to raze the existing structure and start from scratch, or propose major reconstruction, I would strongly oppose acquisition.
Before we're ready to vote, taxpayers must know just how the city plans to develop the property and how much such renovation would cost.
Many thanks for historic home tour
To the Editor:
The success of the first annual Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour depended on the generosity of many in this community. I wish to thank those who were incredibly generous with their time and resources:
n Owners of the seven historic homes
n Oswego Heritage Council board members
n Planning committee members
n Windermere Cronin and Caplan Realty Group, Inc.
n City of Lake Oswego
n Umpqua Bank
n Lake Oswego Review
n Buckley LeChevallier, P.C.
n Organizers Northwest
n Lakeside Airport Service
n 100 docent volunteers
n 300 tour attendees
Thank you all for helping to establish this tour as a new community event and I look forward to seeing you next year.
Chair, Lake Oswego Historic Home Tour Planning Committee
Comment seems very inappropriate
To the Editor:
I cannot help but think there is a lot more to this story ('District patron takes exception' in last week's Review). In passing it seems merely words chosen in haste by (Bill) Korach. But on a deeper examination I felt a profound sense of outrage. Mr. Korach is not Joe Citizen offering a passing comment, he is a professional educator. He is the superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District.
I would appeal to Mr. Korach to reflect on the definition of salvage: 'Definition:. 1. save something for further use: to save used, damaged, or rejected goods for recycling or further use.' I would like to ask him if this is ever a word a professional educator ought to use in reference to human beings, let alone children. It connotes cold and callous calculation with respect to monetary profitability.
His attempt to redirect his slur from special needs students to students who have had other problems smacks of direction being given him by Lake Oswego District's legal counsel: Invoke safety and you are not being discriminatory. Mr. Korach has had his Don Imus moment.
His words connoted his intentions. In that respect they were a sincere representation of his feelings. This is an outrage. This paper has done a great service in exposing the beginnings of Mr. Korach's attempt to discriminate against children he does not deem acceptable.
Editor's note: Lake Oswego School District Superintendent Bill Korach responds: 'Historically, when students from other districts apply to transfer to the Lake Oswego School District, a number of conditions are required for approval, including that students are in good standing in their resident school district. For example, the district has denied admission to students who have been expelled from another district for significant behavior or safety-related issues. These guidelines are in place because the district has an obligation to protect the quality and the safety of the educational environment in our schools.
'Special education students receive funding for the special services for which they qualify. When special education students transfer from other districts to Lake Oswego, the funding for their services comes with them. If parents choose to pay tuition because their home district denies the transfer, they also pay the actual costs incurred for their students' special education services above the base tuition amount.
'As the district is increasing its focus on attracting tuition students for economic reasons, parents have raised valid and important questions regarding our admission practices. My response to that question at a recent meeting with parents was not a reference to special education students. I regret that my choice of words played any part in fostering that misinterpretation.
'The district will continue to consider questions surrounding the admission of students and to examine and adjust guidelines as necessary.'
The Safeco point seems to be missed
To the Editor:
It is apparent that Ellie McPeak doesn't get it in regards to the initiative petition to require voter approval of major real property purchases by the city, in other words, there are taxpayers in Lake Oswego who want to have something to say about borrowing millions of dollars to buy real estate.
McPeak thinks the Safeco acquisition was a wise purchase done at little risk but later in her citizen's view indicates that she has changed her mind about the Safeco property but doesn't regret her vote. She thinks that 'all our citizens should have a chance to vote on the new community center, but is not optimistic about the outcome.' What kind of reasoning is that?
McPeak misses the point: This is not about Safeco. This is about putting controls on people who think they can make unilateral decisions without voter approval. For her to think otherwise will shorten her career at city hall.
It's time for a board change in Palisades
To the Editor:
My husband and I went to our Palisades Neighborhood Association meeting last night (June 6) because a vote to elect a new board was scheduled. We felt it was time for a change and we wanted to have a say in our representation.
Unbeknownst to us (we did arrive late), and most of the others in the room, the chairman said he had earlier moved to postpone the vote and it had been seconded. There were 75 to 100 people there, most of who expected to vote and who didn't hear the motion to postpone. There was confusion. But rather than clearing it up by re-introducing the motion, the chairman said the vote would be postponed until later in the summer or perhaps the fall.
People got angry. Seems this was the second or third time the vote had been postponed. Questions were asked in and out of order. Roberts Rules of Order were quoted and misquoted. Apparently the board felt threatened and the police were called in. What a sight. Clearly this was more citizen participation than the board was willing to hear and there would be no vote tonight.
I went to another neighborhood association meeting last fall to hear the city commissioner candidates. Proposed language in the neighborhood association's 20-year plan for property around Lakeridge High School was also discussed. Fifty to 60 people came. There was disagreement about the proposed language, between the board and attendees there too. The board didn't call in the police, but the language for the plan went into some committee and I don't know if it's ever come out.
My point is that if you find citizen involvement a nuisance, or you're frightened of people voicing their opinions, or you really don't want people to exercise their voting rights, you don't belong on a neighborhood association board. It is time for a change.
Costs too high for Lake Oswegans
To the Editor:
In the near future a petition will be circulated that will change the city charter to prevent the city council from burdening the taxpayers of Lake Oswego (i.e., the homeowners) from additional taxes for projects that would exceed $2 million without a vote of the taxpayers. (If there are enough signatures, this could) be on the ballot in November of this year, so please sign the petition. A reality check is needed before you decide to support or oppose the petition.
The following are projects that are now being considered and in the planning stages for adoption in the near future (unless the petition is successful and the city is mandated to give its citizens a vote in prioritizing our tax increases for the good of the city). The projects are to be funded with the issuance of bonds for the payment of the projects that are to be paid back by additional taxes (real estate primarily or sewer and water fees). These numbers should be important to you. To amortize the bonds, the following calculations (estimates) should be considered.
1. Amount to amortize $100 million at 6 percent for 20 years. $100 million = $8,597,280 per year.
2. Estimate of 10,000 tax-paying homes in Lake Oswego = $859.73 per year additional tax.
3. So: $100 million for sewers (est.); $100 million for water system (est.); $100 million for Safeco remodel (est.); $100 million for fire station, city hall, parks (est.). $859.73 x $400 million = $3,438.92 additional taxes if approved.
This assumes that the estimates are not to be altered, that the assessed value of your home does not increase and that the city council can control the estimated costs of public works.
Please sign the petition so all the citizens can voice their opinion.
P.S. Do we really need a dog park next to a sports field? P.S.S. Can't we find other smaller buildings for the growth of government?
John Mills Woodworth