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Looming debt causes trouble for Lake Oswego

The post-election action by Mayor Studebaker to appoint Mr. Coffee as interim city manager has created quite a stir by some. The previous interim manager has been (returned) to his former position (as assistant city manager).

Dissenting parties wanted a formal noticed city council meeting to discuss the appointment, with input by residents of Lake Oswego. The mayor was within his right to make the appointment. In fact every new CEO in business has a right to select those for key positions who will support his policies. The position is only for six months pending the selection of a permanent city manager.

I am acquainted with Mr. Coffee and have heard him speak at various meetings. He appears to have a strong grasp of the issues, delivers his opinions eloquently with conviction. He is an excellent selection.

The city is in trouble with looming debt ranging from $154 million currently to $371 million, according to Mason Frank in a previous Lake Oswego Review (opinion piece).

We need an administration staffed by people willing to make the hard choices and take action. For instance, it has been six years without a resolution of the WEB to sell or retain; the Lake Oswego’s proposed share of the cost of the LO-Tigard water project has ballooned from $58 million to $115.8 million and growing, not to mention capital outlays for city hall, maintenance facility, library, tennis center, Boones Ferry and Lake Grove infrastructure, fire station and Foothills. 

I recall (former City Councilor) Roger Hennigan’s suggestion to keep and utilize the WEB. I did not support it at the time, but I do now. Place into the WEB: city hall, police and library. This view is supported by Paul Hooper’s April 12, 2012, analysis in the Lake Oswego Review (opinion section) and would save $50 million over freestanding installations.

The water project should be stopped and reevaluated, possibly by another engineering firm. For the moment, drop the tennis courts which should incorporate (and) sell shares. Lake Oswego can  provide the property on a 50-year lease. Foothills is a major project and should be put on hold.

John Beau is a resident of Lake Oswego.



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