The O by itself just has to go
To the Editor:
I have a pet peeve. As a longtime Lake Oswegan and married to a native (or nearly) Lake Oswegan, I have a real problem with the newcomers to our area referring to our beloved little burb as Lake O. We are Lake Oswego, L.O. or Oswego, but never, ever Lake O.
Here's a flash; we even have a lake called Oswego, not O.
We are proud of who we are; so all of you out there, and you know who you are, stop demeaning our fair little village with your slangy euphemism.
We'll be listening, so beware.
Use caution with fire in the forests
To the Editor:
The Keep Oregon Green Association is cautioning Oregonians to use extreme caution when visiting the forests this summer. More than 200 wildfires have been caused by careless humans since Jan. 1, 2007.
Many Oregonians love the great outdoors, and no matter what the recreational activity, sitting around a campfire is one of the special times we all enjoy. In the last five years, however, 681 campfires built on state and private lands burned 11,253 acres and cost taxpayers $1,710,370 to suppress.
Abandoning camp and warming fires is the fourth-leading human behavior that causes wildfires in Oregon. Here's what you can do to help:
Always call the local fire district to assure that fires are allowed where you're going to camp. If they are allowed, and you choose to camp in an undeveloped campground, here are a few suggestions to ensure that your campfires will be safe.
When selecting a site for a campfire, avoid areas near buildings, fallen trees, tree trunks, or low overhanging branches.
Scrape all leaves and litter away down to bare earth for at least five feet on all sides of the fire. Dig a pit in the center of this circle and surround it with rocks.
Build your campfire downwind and at a safe distance from your tent, never leave it unattended, and after you light it, throw your match into the fire. If any sparks escape the campfire, have a shovel or rake handy to suppress them.
When it's time to leave the campfire and head to bed or back to town, make sure you put the campfire out - dead out!
Drown all embers, sticks, and coals, especially those that might have fallen under the rocks.
Stir the coals to make sure all heat has been removed.
Drown the area again.
Wildfire prevention is the responsibility of every individual who visits the forests. Be alert to weather conditions, especially wind, and always be careful with fire. Keep your bucket full of water and your shovel near by. Smokey Bear and the Keep Oregon Green Association thank you for taking that responsibility.
Mary Ellen Holly, President and CEO
Keep Oregon Green Association, Inc.
Concerns continue on Safeco purchase
To the Editor:
Since Lake Oswego purchased the Safeco property for $20 million about 18 months ago, there have been many articles about the pros and cons of the purchase and possible uses of the property. This purchase was done without any vote by the citizens of Lake Oswego. One projected use was for a community center. A 2005 survey showed that 45 percent of the community did not support this versus 36 percent that did, with 16 percent neutral.
There has been very little information reported on the costs except the purchase price and the line of credit for $25 million that the city opened in July 2006, of which $20 million was used to purchase the Safeco property. The interest on the line of credit is 4.94 percent.
Last week's article in the Review on the 2007-2009 biennium budget just mentioned the $2 million interest cost on this loan. It did not mention the lost property tax to the city and the ongoing costs for personnel services, material and services plus costs to move in personnel as the 25 people from Parks and Recreation that were just moved in. Here are the estimated costs for the Safeco building per year for the next two years:
Line of Credit Interest Payment $995,000
Lost City Property Tax $50,000
Total Personal Services, Salary and Benefits $117,500
Materials and Services
General office costs $10,500
Professional and Tech. Services $6,000
Repairs and Maintenance $36,500
Miscellaneous Charges $70,000
Move-in of 25 Parks and Recreation Staff
Cost to move $140,000
Cost to prepare area for move-in $100,000
In addition, $200,000 has been appropriated for preliminary design plans, with $60,000 spent so far.
If the property has to be sold, expected value depends on appreciation on similar properties. Properties on Kruse Way have been appreciating at 10-15 percent per year. This implies that the property could be sold for about $24 million this year. It's very unlikely that the Safeco property would be viewed as in the same class as the Kruse Way property.
This information was taken directly from the 2007-09 Biennium Proposed Budget page 57 and my conversation with Richard Seals, city finance director. I was very impressed with Mr. Seals' objective comments on the Safeco purchase. He was very patient with me and honestly answered all my questions.
If you are concerned about these ongoing expenses to just maintain the Safeco property, particularly in light of the sewer interceptor project, vote in favor of the city selling the Safeco property now.
Proud to call Oregon home following session
To the Editor:
The following is an open letter to all Oregonians:
Yesterday (June 28) the 2007 Legislature adjourned, closing the door on one of the most successful and productive sessions in 30 years. While this door closed, new doors of opportunity are opening for Oregonians across the state as a result of the policies enacted by this Legislature over the last six months.
We started this session with the resources to do more, the opportunity to do better and the responsibility to do our best - and an ambitious agenda to restore economic stability and prosperity for the citizens of Oregon.
After years of gridlock and budget challenges, the 2007 Legislative Assembly seized this opportunity and put Oregon back on a sound fiscal path, saving for the next economic downturn, while making key investments in education at every level, rebuilding the state police, transforming mental health care and positioning Oregon as a leader in alternative and renewable energy.
This Legislature also made landmark gains in sustainability, consumer protections and equal rights, making Oregon a more open and tolerant state that values the talent and contributions of all of our citizens.
Oregonians should be proud of the progress made by their elected representatives this session. But our work is not done. The successes we are celebrating mark just the beginning. We owe it to the citizens of Oregon to continue pushing policies that help our working families and improve the lives of all of our citizens.
I will continue to hold myself accountable to this promise and look forward to partnering with Oregonians across the state to continue the progress we've started so we can leave Oregon a better place for future generations to live, learn, grow and work.
Thank you for your contributions to Oregon and for making it the state that we are all proud again to call home.
Governor Ted Kulongoski
Outdoor seating violates Westlake rules
To the Editor:
Last week's edition of the Review carried a letter from Gale and Gary Gipson which asked if I was going to 'listen to the over 500 people who have signed the petition for restoration of the outside seating ...' at Oliver's. Unfortunately, outdoor seating in the Westlake neighborhood commercial district is not a popularity matter; it is a matter of law. Ordinance 1783, which established zoning requirements for the Westlake Planned Unit Development, includes the following use limitation: 'All business, service, repair, processing, storage and merchandise, shall be conducted wholly within an enclosed building …' There are exceptions listed to this section of the ordinance; however, none apply to outdoor restaurant seating and service.
The owners of Oliver's were apprised several times, the latest in correspondence from the city's Code Enforcement Specialists in a letter of 8 June, of how to initiate an application proposing that Ordinance 1783 be amended to allow outdoor dining at this location in the Westlake area. While the applicants have filed the necessary documentation for amending the Conditional Use Permit for the restaurant in order to amend other conditions, they have not applied for an alteration to 1783. It might be appropriate for those desiring outdoor seating to ask the owners why the necessary application for amendment has not been filed.
The city encourages outdoor dining elsewhere within Lake Oswego. Lakeview Village and the downtown have numerous outside dining establishments, as does Lake Grove. However, there is a prohibition in regard to the Westlake neighborhood, which currently prohibits similar activities.
Until such time as an application is received from the owners of Oliver's, and has been acted upon by the designated panel of citizens, the prohibition remains in effect and the city will enforce and uphold the law.
Douglas J. Schmitz
'Water Spot' segment airs tonight on cable TV 11
To the Editor:
In response to viewer requests, the cable TV show, the 'Water Spot,' is presenting a live program tonight (Thursday, July 5) at 8 p.m. on cable channel 11 about 'Radioactivity, the Columbia River and Hanford.' Dirk Dunning of the Oregon Department of Energy, Hanford nuclear specialist, will be the featured speaker. Viewers may call in with questions at 8:30 p.m.
Topics will include past problems with radioactivity in the Columbia, the current status of the Columbia and consideration of possible future problems related to contaminated groundwater in the Hanford Reservation. In addition there will be some discussion of the federal Department of Energy's current planning for future use of Hanford Reservation.
The 'Water Spot,' sponsored by Citizens for Safe Water, will rerun on cable channels 11 and 23 during the month of July. For the rerun schedule see www.tvctv.org.
Citizens for Safe Water
How about a developer for the Safeco property?
To the Editor:
I think Lake Oswego should select a developer that would develop the Safeco property for a company like Club Sport on a 20- or 30-year land lease. This would retire the note payment on the initial land cost, while testing the viability of such a center. If they cannot find a tenant and developer interested in the speculation, perhaps it is not viable to begin with?
If it is a worthy project and a tenant/developer combination goes forward with the project, the land (and facility - albeit it will need some renovation at this point) will be free and clear in the end, and not cost the taxpayers a nickel, and likely be a good longterm investment should they elect to sell the property later. It sounds like residents would have to pay the same membership fees if the city was the operator or not, but be taxed whether they use the facility or not. My vote would be for the city of Lake Oswego to run the city and focus on issues such as affordability, livability and maintenance (i.e. the sewers and roads) and not run health club/community gathering centers.
Case in point regarding large scale development projects: The Lake Oswego School District recently 'rebuilt' Lakeridge High School for $25 million (when the original budget was for $16 million!) Two years after their completion there is talk about potentially closing Lakeridge and have the students join Lake Oswego High School, as a result of the population decline. Why not stage the brand new Lakeridge to be used as the community center if this is truly the direction they intend to go as we already own that property and are paying for it?
Editor's note: In a previous posting, Nancy Duin, communications specialist for the Lake Oswego School District, has addressed rumors about possible school closings. She note previously: 'The district is pursuing efforts on several fronts in order to avoid closing schools. If at some future date, however, the district mustclose schools due to the economics of declining enrollment, the updated facilities at both of the districts 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.'
'Be careful what you wish for' in Westlake area
To the Editor:
While it is true that neither the Westlake HOA nor Oliver's owner, Mr. Mannis, ever asked my opinion; as a long-time consistent coffee consumer I feel the need to share my sadness (though hardly surprise) at finding my neighborhood coffee place shuttered and closed this morning. Since I have been a patron of Bean Street/Talarico's/Cafe Calabria/Pasta-Rico's/Oliver's from the beginning, I'd like to share what that eatery, in all its guises, has meant to me, my friends and family:
n A place to grab a quick coffee on my way to work.
n A place to drink coffee and chat with my friends on my days off.
n The first destination we let our older elementary students walk to alone.
n A more 'sophisticated' lunch date place for the teens who weren't driving yet.
n A place to meet my husband after work for a drink and/or dinner.
n An 'after walk/gym' destination for friends, either for morning coffee or evening glass of wine.
n A place for local teens to find employment.
n A place to celebrate and commiserate, both with my friends and the employees who became friends.
n A place for business meetings, soccer parties, bible studies, volunteer meetings, high school study groups, political discussions.
n A true neighborhood meeting place.
While Oliver's certainly needed to improve its coffee business to previous levels, I was willing to be patient. But now it's gone. Thank you, Westlake HOA. Will you be brewing my cappuccino now? Or can we look forward to another real estate office (heaven help us!)? Another local business bites the dust, so I guess I'll be heading to Starbucks, and the kids can go back to hanging out at 7-11. Be careful what you wish for.