Please join me in voting yes on 3-273. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Lake Oswego Planning Commission and I was a member of the West End Building steering committee.
Never, at any time, was I asked by any city council member my opinion of what the WEB should be. In fact, I joined the committee with a very neutral position. It became crystal clear to me and to my other committee members what a wise decision this purchase was.
At the end of our year of education, planning, civil discourse, healthy debate and discussion, we had a plan. It also became clear to us that Lake Oswego faced a number of challenges, with the sewer interceptor being the largest.
The committee understood that the city council would most likely attend to this need in the short run. In its wisdom, that is exactly what they did. The council decided to 'hold' off on this particular plan and the steering committee agreed. However, after this full year of work, the committee really understood what a gem we had in this piece of real estate. When was the last time anyone saw an available 14- acre parcel smack-dab in the middle of our community with a move-in ready building? It just doesn't happen. What a wise choice our council made to get this once-in-a-life time deal for all of us.
The opposition continues to talk about, 'backroom and close door deals' that were made. That is just a lie. Our elected citycouncil is made up of a group of citizens that have long, long histories of doing exemplary work for all of us. Think of Millennium Plaza Park and Foothills Park to name a few.
The opposition continues to talk about necessary 'infrastructure, hardscapes, steel and concrete.' In my opinion .... families are, in many ways ... the infrastructure of a city. Isn't that what life is really about? Families living healthy, creative, meaningful lives together with others in their own communities? The West End would be a huge part of this picture.
The opposition continues to only talk about 'tax money' going to the WEB. The reality is that much of what we discussed involved potential private/public contributions by groups who understand that communities don't thrive by infrastructure alone.
The opposition continues to yell about ... 'Those duplicitous city council members.' Please stop yelling and consider actually helping. Run for an office and actually do something besides name calling, finger pointing and complaining.
In closing, I get a whiff of, 'we have ours, and we won't pay one cent for you to get yours.' That is like saying, ' I won't support the schools any more because my kids are grown up.'
Please, even if you are so lucky to 'have yours,' won't you be the kind of neighbor who wants others to have the same opportunities and benefits of such a future-looking community.
There are unlimited creative, smart, workable, well-conceived ideas for the use of the West End Building. I sincerely hope that our next task is to choose the very best fit for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Join me in voting yes on 3-273.
Mary Beth Coffey is a resident of Lake Oswego.