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Dont put the cart before the horse

On Oct. 1, I attended the DRC meeting regarding the proposed Low Income Seniors housing on Oakridge Road in Lake Grove. My goal was to convey my concerns regarding the long-term impact on my neighborhood, and to make suggestions that would make this project a welcome addition rather than a unwelcome neighbor. I sat through almost three hours of testimony by senior supporters, all of whom were members of the Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, a.k.a. the applicant; none of whom live in Lake Grove, and all but one wouldn't qualify to live in the proposed housing. Then my fellow neighbors presented their valid and thoughtful concerns regarding very real issues namely:

n The impact of 45 units on the water pressure. Currently area houses in Lake Grove can hardly wash dishes and shower at the same time.

n Adequate parking spaces to avoid street parking including overflow parking in adjacent business lots; hard to avoid with 20 parking spaces allotted for the 45 units, not counting employees, caretakers, family, and guests. The city has identified the shortage of parking in this area in the Village Plan, and yet staff has not only considered but accepted a reduction of required parking space .

n Increased traffic in the neighborhood, from this development, the 30-plus Trillium Woods units, and the six houses on Quarry at Galewood. These developments will add to an existing traffic nightmare on Quarry Road for residents and police alike. Currently there is not enough traffic police to adequately service this area, however with limited staff, police in the months of June/July wrote 400-plus tickets in Lake Oswego, over 190 of those were written on Quarry Road.

I stayed at the DRC meeting until well past 11:30 p.m. to give my testimony regarding my similar concerns. I quickly realized that the board wasn't asking any questions or really responding to any neighborhood concerns, in fact they seemed more concerned with discussing the color of paint or how to make the building 'look' smaller, hard to do when it pushes the boundaries of all code limits, and will be the tallest building in Lake Grove. I was horrified at one point, as one board member referred to my neighborhood association as activists. Activists? If the city of Lake Oswego wishes to see activism in the neighborhood, then they should continue to rubber stamp projects such as this, without giving true consideration to the impact or meaningful consultation with concerned citizens, enough is enough !

This is a turning point for Lake Grove and Lake Oswego - we are growing and change is inevitable; however, my family, just as many of my neighbors, choose to live in Lake Grove for the variety of housing styles and the country feel. I resent the attitude of treating Lake Grove as one of the ugly stepsisters in Lake Oswego. The continuous destruction of my neighborhood , only to be replaced by infill of uninspiring cookie-cutter houses, detracts from the quality of life we live and removes the inspiration that made Lake Grove the place we love and choose to live. My neighbors and I pay our taxes just as everyone else does and our voices should have the same weight or greater when it come to developing our neighborhood.

I ask my neighbors around Lake Oswego to join me in insisting that the city no longer puts the cart before the horse,. There must be appropriate utilities, services, and traffic control is in place before any future development is allowed and approved.

Gail Stuart-Bowles is a resident of Lake Oswego.