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Don't forget to vote

City, county issues round out election; ballots due by 8 p.m. Tuesday


Lake Oswego voters will weigh in on two local bond measures, mayoral and city council candidates and future county commissioners in addition to state and national races in the Tuesday general election.

Ballots are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday. You can submit them at various drop boxes throughout Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, including at the Lake Oswego Public Library.

Following is a rundown of the biggest issues in Lake Oswego, starting with the two local ballot measures.

Measure 3-405 — Lake Oswego Public Library

Measure 3-405 asks voters whether the city should issue up to $14 million in general obligation bonds to help pay for a new public library. The roughly 60,000-square-foot building, planned at First Street and B Avenue, would replace the existing 27,000-square-foot building built in the early 1980s at Fourth Street and D Avenue.

In addition to bond proceeds, the city would fund the new building with other resources, including county library district and city capital funds, profits from selling the existing library property, donations and urban renewal funds. While the bond measure would only fund the library part of the plan, the new facility would be part of the city’s proposed North Anchor project, a mixed-use development with the library, public parking and retail and residential spaces downtown.

Supporters of the plan say the existing library is too small. An average 1,000 people visit each day, and officials say the library increasingly struggles to provide a quiet space for researching and reading while also fulfilling its growing role as a community center, offering the free use of computers and programs such as concerts and author readings.

Proponents say the library needs more room for books and other materials, and it needs dedicated spaces to separate events and groups of visitors — including busloads of schoolchildren — from traditionally quiet areas.

Few if any citizens have questioned whether the community would benefit from a new, bigger library building, and no organized opposition groups have formed to fight the bond measure.

However, critics have questioned why the city would fund a library now rather than making a new public safety building the top priority. They have also focused on the proposed location, arguing a new library on the west side of town or a branch extending the main location’s offerings would better serve more residents.

Lake Oswego resident Darrel Condra, a former manager of Tualatin’s public library and now a book-moving consultant, said he also wishes officials could have pitched a new police station before asking residents to fund the library.

However, he said, “Given the political reality ... this is the time we have to vote on it.”

Condra doesn’t think Lake Oswego is big enough to support a library branch, and he doesn’t think the west side of town would offer the same benefits as downtown.

“It doesn’t make sense there because of the distance to other facilities,” he said, noting foot traffic and appeal to all ages and demographics are important to the library’s success. “You want it to fit with neighbors and support businesses.”

If approved, the measure would cost property owners about 17 cents for every $1,000 in assessed value over the next 25 years.

Measure 3-406 — Boones Ferry Road improvements

Measure 3-406 asks voters whether the city should issue up to $5 million in bonds to help pay for improvements on Boones Ferry Road.

The bond proceeds would cover a portion of the cost of design, acquisition of right of way and construction of Boones Ferry Road improvements from Madrona Street to Oakridge and Reese roads.

The project stems from the 2008 Lake Grove Village Center plan, which calls for a four-lane Boones Ferry Road with landscaped medians, turn lanes, new sidewalks, street trees and lighting, bicycle lanes, upgraded stormwater drainage systems and underground utilities. There would also be a new signalized pedestrian crossing near Lake Grove Elementary School.

While there is no organized opposition, some citizens have raised questions about the planned use of tax increment dollars generated from a new urban renewal district. The $5 million in bond proceeds alone wouldn’t fund the $25 million project; the city would also tap urban renewal funds and other resources. Driving urban renewal is the idea that public investment and the expectation of it will generate economic growth that wouldn’t happen on its own.

Measure supporter Mike Buck, a local business owner, said the current Lake Grove plan is drastically scaled back from earlier iterations.

“All we’re doing is the street,” said Buck, part of a group that formed to advocate for the measure, in part out of concern that developing the area “property by property” won’t fulfill the city’s vision for Lake Grove’s future.

Resident Ken Sandblast is another supporter. Although some private development has happened in the past year in Lake Grove, he said it won’t achieve the “walkability and other pluses” without following the city’s Lake Grove Village Center plan. Parking facilities are also part of the city’s long-term Lake Grove agenda.

Fixing and upgrading Boones Ferry Road will improve traffic flow not only for local businesses and their customers, but also for anyone driving through or stopping in Lake Oswego, Sandblast added.

“It will improve functionality of the whole transportation system,” he said.

If the measure is approved and the maximum bond is issued, property owners would pay 6 cents more for every $1,000 in assessed value over the next 25 years.

Lake Oswego mayor

Mayor Jack Hoffman isn’t seeking another term, but two people are facing off for his position. Voters can choose between Greg Macpherson and Kent Studebaker to lead the city council, which will be tasked with hiring a permanent city manager and oversight of the complicated and sometimes controversial Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership, the city’s biggest public works initiative to date, among other projects. The new mayor’s four-year term will start in January. The race is nonpartisan.

Lake Oswego city councilors

Half of the city council seats will be filled, as three of the six positions are up for election. Two of the current councilors, Sally Moncrieff and Mary Olson, aren’t running for additional terms.

Councilor Bill Tierney is running for re-election to his position. Other candidates are Karen Bowerman, Jon Gustafson, Terry Jordan, Skip O’Neill and Dan Williams.

Although the council race is nonpartisan, a few citizen-led political action groups, some focused on specific issues, have endorsed a slate of conservative-leaning candidates: Bowerman, O’Neill, Williams and Studebaker. The other candidates have so far received less organized support from political groups, but Gustafson, Tierney, O’Neill and Macpherson did land support from one of the local PACs.

New councilors’ four-year terms will begin in January. They are elected at large.

Clackamas County Board of Commissioners

The county commissioner races are nonpartisan, and terms are for four-years.

Incumbent Charlotte Lehan is facing off with John Ludlow for Position 1, the chair position on the board. Incumbent Jamie Damon is facing challenging Tootie Smith in the race for Position 4.

State House District 38

Incumbent Chris Garrett, a Democrat, faces challenger Tom Maginnis, a Republican.

Representative in Congress — Fifth District

Democrat Kurt Schrader, the incumbent, is running against Republican Fred Thompson.



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