Lake Oswego has a history of planning, process and public participation. These have been our guiding principles. These principles are what make our community special. It is these principles today that allow us the luxury of being the caretakers and stewards of a very livable community. It is with due diligence of these principles that we carefully timed very important votes: library, parks, pathways and open space, Lake Oswego School District facilities and public safety.
As election time is upon us, the city council is asking the voters to ratify its decision to use the city reserve funds to support the purchase of Safeco for $20 million.
Measure 3-273: This vote is a city precedent I cannot support. The reserve fund's intended use is for emergencies, a rainy day fund.
I do not share the allure of Safeco. We are now a mature city. Paying the cost of the sewer interceptor, water treatment, public safety needs including LOCOM and emergency services are higher priorities. The mayor identified $120 million in upcoming projects to be funded (this includes the $20 million for Safeco).
There is a significant difference in our economic growth potential from past years. Fewer young families are moving here to share the tax burden. Nancy Duin, Lake Oswego School District spokesperson, can best recap it. 'The (district) enrollment slump is the result of several factors: That Lake Oswego's high real estate prices have kept young families from moving in, the city's demographics are aging and city's geographic setting leaves practically no room for new housing.' (Portland Tribune, Sept. 25).
Regarding Measure 3-269, Restore Accountability, Ask Lake Oswegans, I will support a cap that exceeds $2 million for purchasing properties. I am not fearful of the consequences.
Again, we can look to the progressive nature of our citizens. When general obligation bonds have been presented that clearly defined their intended use, particularly in the areas of our library, parks and public safety acquisitions, the voter has said yes.
Even when we take into account new urban renewal plans, before these can be adopted everyone affected will know in detail, the plans intended outcome. For example: Millennium Plaza Park was in the downtown urban renewal plan. It did not go by that name, but open space above Lake Bay and the lower property, formerly the Pinafore … was purchased, because these elements in the project, stood the test of being important to both business and the neighborhood associations.
Lake Oswego does a great job when we are at the beginning of a legitimate, credible process. It's time to return to accountability, I hope you will join in voting yes for Measure 3-269.
Alice Schlenker, Lake Oswego, served as mayor of Lake Oswego from 1989 through 1996.