- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
Proposed housing project supported
To the Editor:
We have lived in Lake Grove since 1989.
Our move to Upper Drive in 1989 was intentional because of the proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, dry cleaners, post office and medical services. We didn't need the car and used buses to go to Portland's downtown - which remains true today. We also appreciated the intergenerational nature of those walking the neighborhood.
My regular walking route takes me through the Waluga Neighborhood as well as my own Lake Grove neighborhood. As we walk, we notice many changes both in density, property values and architectural design. We are glad to see that Ms. Uchida acknowledges the need for affordable housing for seniors, because it is a fact that the need is there. The proposed housing design does more, in my opinion, than fill a need; it is an attractively planned building incorporating green design that continues the community values and diversity that we so admired and sought when we moved into Lake Grove.
Change is sometimes uncomfortable to consider, but a wider view sees the inevitability and wisdom in good management for the future. We no longer live in a 'lake forest;' the mitigated trees replacing old and unhealthy trees will provide a canopy suitable for the new village we are becoming. The trees remaining at more than 100 feet in height will enhance the design of the new building in an attractive way. Senior citizens who seek to live in this housing will not seek expensive automobiles to further crowd our streets, but will benefit from the proximity to services and bus transportation. As I walk and see the new designs developing our village streets, I imagine the attractive community we share continuing into our future.
We do not expect to be residents, but we do support the plan. This proposal contains the same desirable attributes that drove us to the neighborhood 18 years ago. I imagine that the residents will enjoy the same amenities we are so fortunate to use.
Our support of this proposed housing cannot be more firmly stated.
Howard and Bettirae Willis
Solution isn't right for the concern
To the Editor:
Charter Amendment 3-269 was born of opposition to a specific issue, the city's acquisition of the West End property. This Draconian solution will permanently change our government and will negatively affect this community, our quality of life, and property values for years to come.
Open a newspaper to the Lake Oswego real estate ads and count the number of single-family residences listed for over $2 million. Yet $2 million is the limit that 3-269 would impose and any city purchase over this amount would require a vote.
How many times do we need to vote? We elected our officials and they have a great track record. Our property values have skyrocketed, we have many new parks to enjoy, downtown redevelopment is a huge success, and we are receiving national media attention for our quality of life. 3-269 would essentially halt this progress.
Citizens also vote on bond measures that pay for civic improvements. Whatever is proposed for the West End property, assuming we are not shortsighted enough to force a sale, will go to a vote of the people whether or not 3-269 passes. These votes mean that 'accountability' is already in place and does not need to be restored, as the proponents of 3-269 would have us believe.
Let's not make Lake Oswego the first and only city in Oregon to impose such restrictive and redundant financial constraints on progress. Our local government works; we don't need to fix it. Vote no on Charter Amendment 3-269.
Athletes deserve a stadium of their own
To the Editor:
Residents living alongside the Lakeridge football field have it all wrong when they say a new stadium would hurt the neighborhood. In fact, a new, state-of-the-art mixed-use stadium would be great for the whole neighborhood and community. It would give Lakeridge students a sense of self-worth, create a new dynamic in southern Lake Oswego and strengthen the city's overall community by bolstering both Lakeridge and Lake Oswego's identity.
There is nothing worse than telling a high school athlete he or she can't play home games at home. It especially stings in Lake Oswego where Lakeridge athletes must take to the field of their arch rival. This is just wrong, especially when the two teams play each other. This scenario could work at a neutral site, but does not work when the District Stadium is at Lake Oswego High School. Football is the only sport where this is a problem. For every other sport, Lakeridge calls facilities at their own campus home. Lakeridge athletes deserve a stadium of their own.
Mention Lake Oswego and almost everything is north of the lake: Downtown, Lake View Villiage, Lake Grove Swim Park, the country club, city hall and Lake Twin Cinemas. Even the main thoroughfare to get to Bridgeport Village goes through the north part of town, not the south. The only thing southern Lake Oswego has to offer is Luscher Farm and a more rural setting. The south side of the lake could use a community building catalyst like a football stadium. Athletes, students and fans could walk to games that they could really call 'home.' Boosters wouldn't be forced to cover stadium signs with Lakeridge banners and athletes could play on the actual field where they practice.
Lakeridge needs a stadium for its own sake. We all know it lives in the shadow of everything that is Lake Oswego. With its own stadium, Lakeridge can develop an identity of its own. Not just some Lake Oswego resident subset that lives south of the lake. Two unique school identities will strengthen the city because both will have the same opportunities at their own campus, without one overpowering the other.
3-269 is a step backwards
To the Editor:
The proposed charter amendment, Ballot Measure 3-269 is a drastic step backwards for our community. All the good that has been done in the past for our community by our local elected leaders will come to an end. If the proponents of Ballot Measure 3-269 have their way, the ability to purchase property enjoyed by past elected leaders will disappear. Future elected leaders will not be able to quickly and efficiently purchase and build another Millenium Plaza Park, another Foothills Park, another Luscher Farm.
Future city leaders will no longer be able to negotiate and purchase land to improve our community's livability.
Rather, if the proponents have their way, future elected leaders will be required to place before the voters at a special election the question of whether to purchase a piece of property for a park, a pathway, a city facility. Such a complicated and time-consuming process will certainly in the future dissuade property owners from selling to the city.
Don't let our community's livability diminish. Vote no on Measure 3-269.
Former Lake Oswego City Councilor
Local voters feel 'disenfranchised'
To the Editor:
In early America only white males over the age of 21 were allowed to vote.
In the late 1860s the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were passed after the Civil War. These amendments outlawed slavery and extended civil rights and voting rights to former slaves. However, numerous restrictions kept many from actually voting until the 1960s Voting Rights Act.
In 1920 the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.
In 1971 amidst the Vietnam War, the 26th amendment lowered the voting age to 18 years. This occurred while 18 year olds were being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam without the right to vote.
The above facts lead me to my point in reviewing the history of voting in America:
Today in Lake Oswego the voters have been disenfranchised by the mayor and city council. They have essentially stripped us of our voting rights by deliberately not placing the purchase of the Safeco Building on the ballot in a timely fashion. The Safeco Building was purchased in spring of 2006 without voter approval. The city was going to place it on the ballot in November 2006, but pulled it off the ballot when realizing voters would defeat it.
Measure 3-269 will not only allow us to vote on the purchase of the Safeco Building but will also prevent future grandiose purchases without voter approval.
Contrary to what the opposition claims, this ballot measure will not 'tie the hands of the city forever,' but actually create open dialogues between the government and the citizens who pay for it. No longer will there be hidden facts and agendas, but honesty and clarity.
Please vote yes on Measure 3-269.
County needs to have five commissioners
To The Editor:
I am writing to encourage Clackamas County voters to vote yes on Measure 3-272. The measure expands the Clackamas County commission to five members, which will make the county commission more accountable to citizens and improve our representation.
Measure 3-272 makes the county commission non-partisan, continuing Oregon's tradition of independent leadership by freeing our elected commissioners from partisan party labels. This will increase the number of people who may run for election.
The measure also requires candidates for the county chair position to run county wide. Presently, the chair is selected by the other commissioners. This will make the Chair accountable to all voters and not just his or her colleagues.
More accountability and better representation make Measure 3-272 an easy yes vote!
Don't support Ballot Measure 3-269
To the Editor:
As a former Lake Oswego Parks and Rec Chair, I've had the privilege of working with our city council and city staff and I value their decision-making process.
Most recently, Lake Oswego has been able to acquire land for Millennnium Plaza Park, the US Bank Building Property, and five properties in the Stafford area.
All of these acquisitions cost more than $2 million and are wise decisions. This measure (Measure 3-269) would handcuff our councilors into waiting for a citizen vote for any purchase over $2 million, which means that opportunities for acquiring land will most likely slip away.
Pathways, parks and open space enhance the livability of Lake Oswego for us all.
Vote no on Measure 3-269.
Number of reasons that Safeco is an asset
To the Editor:
Our city council and mayor made a wise decision in purchasing the West End property (former Safeco Insurance property). It is an asset, not a liability. There are a number of reasons why purchasing the property has been good for our city and why we should retain it.
1. There is a definite need for the facilities. Our 911 emergency call center and police need a new facility that is seismically sound. We also need additional space for city offices and public facilities. We need to continue to evaluate the potential uses of the building. Its use has not been decided.
2. We will most likely never have another opportunity to purchase 14 acres and an 88,000- square-foot building within our city limits. This is an opportunity that we should not lose.
3. Retaining the building at this time does not raise your taxes.
4. A vote to retain the building does not mean that we will have a community center with all the amenities. We would have to vote on that issue.
5. The property is appreciating faster than the interest we pay on our loan.
It makes good sense to retain the building while we consider our options.
Many of us choose to live in Lake Oswego because of its public facilities and quality of life. It is important for us to not be shortsighted about our community's future. Please join me in voting yes on 3-273 to retain the West End Property.
Concerns raised against 3-269 aren't accurate
To the Editor:
Opponents have raised two concerns about Measure 3-269. First, the measure is unworkable because it would require so many details of any proposed property purchase over $2 million that a bond measure title would not have enough room to describe them all. This is just silly! Far more complicated ballot measures are easily described in their titles and details about the measure are provided elsewhere. For example, Measures 49 and 50 - simple ballot titles, lots of description elsewhere spelling out all the details.
Second, the measure is unworkable because the process of asking for voter approval before making land purchases over $2 million is too cumbersome and sellers would not wait for the city's process. Not so! For example, Safeco took nine months from the point of offer to closing. The city has four election opportunities within a calendar year so there would have been at least two times to ask for voter approval during the Safeco process. Real estate transactions are commonly negotiated using a variety of contingencies - sale of a home, obtaining financing, title search and so on. Therefore, the city could make an offer, contingent on voter approval at the next possible election.
Don't be fooled that the city will come to a standstill. We should not be in the business of rampant land acquisition anyway. However, when the city proposes acquisition over $2 million, if the project is properly described and has merit, the voters would approve it. We have in the past.
Blanket mover shows no respect at football game
To the Editor:
Friday night football is a wonderful community event that takes place here in Lake Oswego, when we play at home, the Laker fans come out in droves, from young to old.
We come together for the sole purpose to watch good old-fashioned football in its purest form. For years the strapping of the blanket on the bleachers has been happening, it is great to drive by on Country Club Road, and see all the colors of the blankets tied/strapped/glued to the bleachers. We do not know if this is the last game that a grandparent may be able to watch, or a parent to see their child cheer, or play before they can no longer get to a game due to illness, we do not know what anyone's motivation is to get there early to strap that blanket down.
(A couple days after I strapped my blanket down at the stadium I went) back to check. Imagine my dismay to see that someone had cut my tape (seven strands) and thrown my blanket off in the corner, and placed their's where mine had been. I took my blanket and moved it down about five feet, and restraped it, and just sighed, thinking, 'Wow, someone really must have wanted that spot, not only to remove my blanket, but to throw it in a corner.'
We wonder why our children or the youth of today do not have respect, but do we really have to look far, when we can not even respect the fact that someone got to what we think is 'our space' in a bleacher, that we disrespect their property and replace it with our own? I would suggest that if you want a 'special' place, get their early, strap your blanket down, and enjoy the game.
I know this is what I will suggest to the person who did this to me.
Hamstrung? No Hog wash? Yes
To the Editor:
City officials and its supporters have often used the argument that the city will be 'hamstrung' in the future by the measure which will require voter approval of real estate purchases costing more than $2 million. In last week's forum sponsored by LONAC and The League of Women Voters, I asked Debbie Craig of Our City our Future, the group opposing the measure, whether the threat or use of eminent domain could be used to prevent a property owner from selling a desired property until the purchase could be approved by the voters as required by Measure 3-269.
She said while it could be used, the process was too complex or cumbersome to use in this way. John Surrett correctly pointed out that the city used precisely the threat of eminent domain and condemnation in its negotiations with Safeco. It was a successful tactic.
Obviously, there is no reason why condemnation or the threat of condemnation could not be used effectively to acquire any property desired by the city and to hold it for voter approval if required by the charter amendment assuming it is voted in by the voters in November.
'Hamstrung' is better described as 'hog wash.'
Measure 3-269 is not a 'knee-jerk' reaction
To the Editor:
To characterize Measure 3-269 as a 'knee-jerk reaction to the purchase of the Safeco property' is wholly unjustified.
From the start, city officials exaggerated the level of public support for a community center. When opposition was immediate, they deflected the public's concerns, telling people to express themselves at council meetings and via the media. After trying for a year to be heard, the concerned public had no alternative but to form a grassroots organization.
Our only recourse was to create safeguards through the Oregon initiative system. More than 5,000 Lake Oswego citizens, including two former mayors and a former city councilor agreed with us and put Measure 3-269 on the ballot. Not a knee-jerk reaction, but a thoughtfully considered citizen response to government that is acting in opposition to the public will.
As one of our group, Bob Harding, said recently: 'Representative government is predicated upon the consent of the people and when it deviates from that consent, its actions are no longer legitimate. It then becomes the duty of the citizenry to oversee the actions of government and make sure that they represent the public's best interest.'
Measure No. 3-269 is a thoughtful, measured response to a city government that has been acting unilaterally and in defiance of the public will.
Ask Lake Oswegans
Comments by students weren't in bad taste
To the Editor:
This is an open letter to Shelbi Wescot, who wrote a letter to the editor in last week's Lake Oswego Review:
I am a Lakeridge senior and happy to be part of the community. Your comments about our so-called 'vulgar' comments and unsportsmanlike conduct have struck a nerve with me and many other students at Lakeridge.
First off someone as old as you should know better than to attack the character of kids half your age. Talk about picking on someone your own age. Then you attacked a community as a whole when only a small part of it was involved in your 'alleged' obscene behavior. All of this coming from someone who is part of the perfect community of Milwaukie.
You also questioned our administration for how they regulate cheers or comments made by fans - well you should know our Principal Mike Lehman is on any student who cusses or personally attacks an opposing player like a fat kid on cake. Even if an occasional obscenity or an act of immaturity was to occur, you have to remember we are high schoolers. Its funny that high schoolers can still outwit people like you. Fans at the game were cheering 'push-it,' and your interpretation of that cheer coming out of a muffled crowd was bull___.
'Block that kick,' that one really does not sound like 'Block that s___' but if you say so.
That's the goal of saying harmless words that in turn sound like vulgar words. It's part of going to sporting events, cheering on your high school and supporting them through the ups and downs. That is the way it has been always been.
If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. If you don't like our community, don't attend our games.
I don't know how you can applaud the character of Joe Bushman, either. He who said he was 'going to be part of the community of Lakeridge for the long haul,' just picked up and left us after two years for Clackamas, just like he did with Central Catholic. He is a nice person and he might be a good football coach but I would rather have someone that sticks to their words.
Measure 49 impacts will last long time
To the Editor:
Ballot Measure 49 goes to the very heart of what Oregon is as a community and what we are as citizens. When we vote on Measure 49, we'll be making a decision about what generations after us will inherit.
Will it be the same landscape of preserved forests, farmlands and clean water that we inherited, or will it be a couple of bucks left over from the profits we made from cutting it up and selling it?
I can only hope that our heirs will be given good grounds for looking back after we're gone and saying, 'Thanks. Thanks for not being selfish, and thanks for thinking of us.'
Safeco purchase was a 'savvy move'
To the Editor:
I've changed my vote to no on 3-269
I was approached by one of my neighbors a few months ago about signing up to establish more control over our local government because of what they did with the purchase of the Safeco building. I added my name to their list and helped bring about the 3-269 initiative. I did so because I consider myself a prudent person and thought it might be a good thing.
Since then I have learned more about the initiative, and about our Lake Oswego government. Regarding the initiative, I think it's a mistake. I think it would handcuff a government that doesn't, and shouldn't be restricted in its ability to serve us. And it would add one more, unnecessary level to the bureaucratic process. The Safeco purchase was a far-sighted, savvy move that may have very well been lost if 3-269 were in place.
Our fair city has, since the Safeco purchase, been given a credit rating level no other city in Oregon even comes close to. I'm sure if the powers that be who establish those ratings thought the Safeco building was a financial burden, the city would not have received such a high rating.
I also think we should retain the property. Whether we use it for city services, or we move ahead with voter approval and build a community center, it should be put to good use.
In many cities I see wonderful libraries and great community and recreation centers. These are the kinds of things local government should provide. And a city as great as Lake Oswego deserves them.
Are we voting angry message or city's future?
To the Editor:
Fifty years ago the city of Oswego signed an option to buy Morris' Lake Oswego Swim Park for $200,000. The property enveloped the east end of the lake and included the land on the south side of McVey Avenue from State Street to the McVey Avenue Bridge.
The resort had been a boat rental and swim park since 1904 and was the only place where the public could use the lake. It had a generous parking area, a gabled bath- and boathouse, docks, diving boards, and wide lawns that framed a view of the lake.
But with other projects to pay for, such as a new sewer line on the lake bottom, city councilors feared voters wouldn't approve a bond issue for the property. So they dropped the option. Six years later the Bay Roc Apartments were built, ending the possibility of a public swim park on the lake.
Perhaps the council's decision was wise. But imagine what might have been. Some think this was the worst decision the city ever made.
Like the swim park, the Safeco property has attributes that would be difficult, if not impossible, to find again. Regardless of whether we approve of how the city handled this purchase, we should ask ourselves, 'How will our decision to keep or sell the property hold up fifty years from now? Are we voting to send an angry message or are we voting for the future of the community?'
Susanna Campbell Kuo
Folks could be laughing at us here in Oregon
To the Editor:
Why doesn't the Lake Oswego Review rise in defense of our constitution?
It contains a provision stating that all tax increases must be passed by a 'supermajority' of 60 percent. Measure 50 is a brazen and unprincipled attempt to put a tax increase into the constitution by a bare majority, because it did not get 60 percent support in the Legislature.
If it passes, Oregon will be the laughing stock of the country, with a tax increase in the very document that forbids such a thing.
Robert C. St. John
Understand what your votes mean
To the Editor:
What does a yes/no vote mean? Clarification on Measures 3-269 and 3-273 (your informed vote is important):
A yes vote on Measure 3-269 will change the Charter of the city of Lake Oswego and require that the city obtain voter approval before a major ($2 million or more) acquisition of non-essential real estate can be completed. This measure is very clear. If Measure 3-269 passes, we will be voting on whether to keep the Safeco building in the March 2008 election.
A yes vote on Measure 3-273 means that the city may keep the Safeco property and do with it what they deem is best for the citizens without further voter input - except to vote on a bond measure for funding of this project in the future.
A no vote 'directs' but does not require the city to sell the Safeco property. Both yes and no votes on Measure 3-273 are advisory and not binding on the city council.
Citizens of Lake Oswego, now it is your turn to vote in an informed fashion!
Ulla Christina West
Attorney Eric Winters' role is questioned
To the Editor:
Who and what is behind Ballot Measure 3-269?
At the League of Women Voters/LONAC Issues Forum held on Oct. 17, the Ask Me First's position was again presented by John Surrett and Eric Winters. What nagged at me was who is Eric Winters and why was he there? Mr. Winters, an attorney, does not live in Lake Oswego - he lives in Wilsonville. I wondered why it wasn't someone from Lake Oswego, but it became clear when I did a little investigation.
Eric Winters, according the Secretary of State's Web site on elections, joined with Don McIntyre, in writing the Explanatory Statement for Measure 48, which was defeated last November. You will recall that this was the spending limit at the state level (called TABOR) that was a disaster in Colorado. Fortunately, Oregonians were wise enough to recognize that it would have been bad for us too.
I also reviewed the Campaign and Expenditure documents that 'Ask Me First' has filed with the Secretary of State. Their largest single expenditure - by far - as of Oct. 13, are legal fees of $3,900 paid to Mr. Winters.
This leads me to wonder: Is 'Ask Me First' really about Lake Oswego - or is it the next step towards more anti-tax, anti-government measures that would limit local government authority throughout the state. Something to ponder.
Use of title upsets member of PNA
To the Editor:
The following is an open letter to Sally Moncrieff, president of the Palisades Neighborhood Association:
I strongly object to you using the title: 'President of the Palisades Neighborhood Association' - along with your name in a list of endorsers in the Our City Our Future, green and red flyers mailed to thousands of Lake Oswego households, and published as an ad in the Review.
It is unfortunate that you chose to use the title to credential yourself so that an unwitting reader would think that you represent a consensus of opinion and an official position of the Palisades Neighborhood Association citizens and voters. As stated, that relationship gives a message that is misleading and totally inaccurate.
You know, Sally, that there has never been a pro and con discussion of the ballot measures. Just last week, the general meeting was held and there was nothing on the agenda regarding your using your title for endorsement purposes on the opposition to Measure 3-269 or a favorable vote on Measure 3-273.
What your personal, individual opinion is, and represented as such on any political advocacy position materials, is your right and your business. But, when you use your title, connecting the entire Palisades neighborhood to it, then it is our business.
I have talked to many of my neighbors in Palisades and they are very offended by you taking the liberties you have taken. We insist that you immediately write a letter of apology to the neighborhood and also publish it in The Oregonian and the Review.
Mailing campaign called 'deceptive'
To the Editor:
A slick mailing tells us that the Safeco purchase is going to cost the owner of a $300,000 home only $105 per year.
But that ignores the fact that the city bought a costly fixer-upper on which they plan to spend an additional $85 million to provide us with things like big indoor pools, indoor running tracks, rooms for yoga exercises and the like, and then charge us to use certain facilities to help pay the operating costs. If user fees do not bring in lots of money, heavy costs will fall on the taxpayers in addition to paying off large bonds. What a deal!
Another deceptive mailing claims that the Safeco property has increased 12 percent in value in one year, but they forgot to deduct the interest paid, the interest income lost, and the lost tax revenues, which bring the so-called gain down to about the rate of inflation.
They also neglected to mention that the city paid a premium of 20 percent above its own appraisal of Safeco's valuation in the first place. Nor will they admit that inflated property values can go down in a recession, which some people think is overdue.
Sound off - no matter how you vote
To the Editor:
Children behave - it's better to be seen than heard. If you can't say something nice, it's better to say nothing at all. This teaching is at the core of 'silent majority' behavior. So what is different this time regarding citizens sounding off about local ballot issues?
Studying this week's Lake Oswego Review, ballot issues pros and cons, it is immediately apparent that the usual suspects are supporting the status quo. That is, the usual coalition is supporting the current city councilor's West End options. From the council to the chamber to certain neighborhood association officers, they are again, all lined up. Many of these individuals wear multiple hats in our community. Their service is to be commended, but this alignment smacks of a persistent singular mindset.
It may come as a surprise that not all members of these associations, organizations and groups march to the same drum. Citizens not heretofore in the mainstream of local politics are sounding off. This is much more than a casual 'I don't have any children in school so why are my property taxes so high?' commentary. Reason prevails here and one simply writes a check.
However, with the West End issue, taxpayers sense an excessive over-indulgence. So excessive that the silent majority is not so silent this time. A good thing.
Whether you're for or against these measures, please vote. Your opinion is important!
Noel R. Wolfe