Even to the casual observer, it isn't difficult to notice that the Safeco/West End building has proved a very divisive issue for the residents of Lake Oswego.
All the more so with the upcoming elections. With Ballot Measure 3-269 on the November ballot, it looks to me as if a lot of disinformation is being put forth to defeat the measure. This disinformation, through lack of knowledge or prevarication, concerns acquisition of real property and parks development by the city.
Members of the opposition are claiming that if measure 3-269 had been existing policy Millennium Plaza Park, Luscher Farm and other open space and parks wouldn't be possible. As I recall in 1991, Luscher Farm was gifted to the city in a Life Estate Trust by Rudy Luscher, Millennium Plaza Park was developed through urban renewal funds and the open spaces were acquired through voter approved bond measures to which I don't believe Measure 3-269 would have proved an impediment
In 1986 the city of Lake Oswego implemented an urban renewal project and since then the city has collected $105 million to improve city streets, pathways, and assist in funding Millennium Plaza Park.
On Saturday, Sept 22, at the Farmer's Market, a life-long resident of Lake Oswego and Realtor commented she approved of the Safeco/West End building purchase (suggesting) that the citizens of Lake Oswego shouldn't have a say in city purchases because the city knew best. (This person also said) that if people couldn't afford the taxes they could just move. The city of Lake Oswego needs a diversified citizenry of all age groups and income levels who can afford to live here, not just a bunch of folks with more dollars than sense. With the looming sewer interceptor and water supply requirements our taxes and/or sewer bills are going to increase dramatically enough as it is. We don't need a property tax bill that becomes confiscatory.
I've lived in Lake Oswego off and on since 1972. I've seen it grow from a quaint little town of 8,500 inhabitants to the pleasant and beautiful city it is today. There isn't a town in Oregon in which I'd rather live. I don't mind, too much, paying taxes to maintain this city and to improve, update or build infrastructure. I do mind paying taxes though for what appears to be a spurious endeavor. It seems to me that the Safeco/West End building issue has become so personal that I can only conclude it may just be someone's idea of their legacy.
Russell Jones is a resident of Lake Oswego.