CUP Steering Committee should open meetings to community
- Gordon Harris
- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
Lack of good faith, coupled with an explicit conflict of interest have characterized the last two 'neighborhood meetings' called by Dr. Michael Lehman, concerning Lake Oswego School District's intent to change Lakeridge's Conditional Use Permit.
Those attending the neighborhood meetings have continued to ask Drs. Lehman and Korach to share even their rough perspective of what they envision will occur at Lakeridge field. Drs. Lehman and Korach continue to reply, 'we don't know.'
Since this process has been ongoing for several months now, I am skeptical that their answers are forthright.
At the November 7th neighborhood meeting, I commented to Dr. Lehman that I have not received any notice of a CUP Steering Committee meeting. I would like to get that group's perspective as well-not just their official position as stated on their website-but the candid exchange of ideas I presume occurs whenever they get together.
I asked Dr. Lehman if he had attended any of their meetings, and he said 'a couple times.' I asked him if I could get an invitation to one of their meetings, and he referred to the back of the library where CUP Steering Committee Chair, Cathy Shroyer, sat taking notes.
Ms. Shroyer looked up and informed our group that CUP Steering Committee meetings are private.
Ms. Shroyer's comment to the group did nothing to alter the suspicion and frustration that has surrounded the CUP Steering Committee's 'grass roots effort' so far. Several of those attending the November 7th meeting commented after hearing Ms. Shroyer's response that they felt as if they are being used by the school administration; that they were being called to the neighborhood meetings at Lakeridge High School only as means to further the agenda of the CUP Steering Committee.
The day following the November 7th meeting the Lake Oswego Review published its article titled 'Effort builds to 'Bring Our Pacers Home' to LHS.' Explained in the article was that the School Board asked Dr. Lehman to form a committee, and 'Lehman called on Shroyer.' Since publication of the article, the committee and the administration has denied such a relationship exists. Nevertheless, there is an explicit conflict of interest in that LHS and LOHS athletic directors were permitted to join the CUP Steering Committee, and that Dr. Lehman and other school administrators have attended private meetings with this 'grassroots' group-a group that refuses to give true access to the community at-large.
It appears that Ms. Shroyer and her colleagues are serving at the pleasure of Drs. Lehman, Korach and the Lake Oswego School Board.
Any future CUP Steering Committee meetings which are attended by a school administrator or other public official should be taken out of the back room and placed into a setting where all community members can see and hear their candid exchange-just as what occurs whenever neighbors are invited by Dr. Lehman to discuss CUP issues at the Lakeridge High School library.
Ms. Shroyer and her colleagues may be concerned that their important work would be hindered if they were asked to move their meetings to a public forum. If that is the case, I would then propose: (1) That a representative from the group that regularly attends the local neighborhood meetings be allowed to observe CUP Steering Committee meetings. (2) That minutes, if not a comprehensive transcript, be produced by an impartial individual so that all members of this community may have an opportunity to present thoughtful perspective in regard to the CUP Steering Committee's ideas and proposals.
All members of this community should be deeply concerned whenever a special interest group is given exclusive access to school administrators and public officials, while concurrently restricting access to the public at-large; thus, hindering citizens' abilities to provide thoughtful perspective and make informed decisions.
Gordon Harris is a Lake Oswego resident and resides in the Palisades Neighborhood.