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With no collaboration, Wizer proposal doesn't fit

I have been following the debate over the Wizer redevelopment proposal.  

For 12 years, I lived in a charming, small town in Germany. I appreciate enjoying a similar, small-town lifestyle since returning to my hometown of Lake Oswego. We have a gem here in Lake Oswego, with our distinctive small-scale buildings and the redevelopment that has thoughtfully taken place over the past 15 years.  

The Wizer model, however, just does not fit.

When the first proposal for Lake View Village was presented, most residents felt it was too massive and not of village character. So, due to public outcry, that proposal was scrapped. What we know as Lake View Village today is a collaboration of the builder and the public.

Unfortunately, I do not see that same collaboration with the developer of the Wizer project. His original plans were for three large buildings that did not fit the code designation as our “compact shopping district” or our village character. Rather than redesign as he was asked to do last January at the development review hearing, the developer simply reduced the complex by a small number of apartments and added a little articulation.

The complex is still a very large apartment block with half the amount of retail that we already have at Wizer’s today. I just can’t see how this large apartment complex will enhance our town — it does not add shops or restaurants, it reduces them. It does not add character; each unbroken building is almost the same size as a football field!

It will add more congestion and change the small-town look and feel of Lake Oswego. If you add more downtown residents, you need to add much more retail to support the density. In addition, the project is so large that established businesses will lose support during a two-year construction time frame.

I ask the City Council to support the DRC’s decision and not approve the proposed redevelopment. Its size does not meet the definition of village character and it cannot qualify as a “shopping district” with so little retail.

Betsy Michels is a Lake Oswego resident.

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