As Lake Oswego enters into the New Year, we find ourselves with increasing sewer, water and building infrastructure costs and a flat or declining tax base. Our school district has had to close three schools due to declining enrollment and state support. We have high vacancy rate in the city’s economic engine of Kruse Way, including a 110,000-square-foot building that is completely empty. Over the past four years, our property values have declined and have only stabilized in the past year. Our retailers report flat or reduced sales.LeChevallier

There are some bright spots in our community: the redeveloped Lake Grove Shopping Center, several new and revitalized restaurants and the new Our Lady of the Lake school and parish center.

Whether you are a progressive, moderate or conservative, we can all agree that a revitalized economic base will create jobs, provide tax revenues and attract families with students for our schools. How can our community focus on economic development in 2013?

1. Put a team of business leaders together to help recruit companies that are considering relocating to the Portland area to demonstrate the value of Lake Oswego as a quality place to work, live and play.

2. Renew our school local option levy this fall so that our schools stay the best in the state.

3. Engineer the necessary safety improvements for Boones Ferry Road on the heels of the voter-passed bond.

4. Negotiate a development agreement to turn the 12-acre underutilized industrial area in Foothills overlooking the river into housing for seniors and younger families.

5. Make Lake Oswego a business-friendly place by reducing regulation and streamlining our codes while maintaining quality development in our community.

6. Create a welcoming attitude to newcomers to Lake Oswego from diverse backgrounds.

7. Promote our local businesses within and outside the community.

Rob LeChevallier, Lake Oswego, is a local attorney.

Contract Publishing

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