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Syd Dorn has written two letters to the Review complaining about the city’s purchase of a riverfront Lake Oswego house in order to gain an easement for a future bike and walking path. He argues that the purchase was too expensive, possibly costing the city as much as $200,000, and that the right of way there is only one of three or four needed to complete the path.

“What were they thinking?” he repeats, concerning that vote by the city council last September to approve the purchase and future resale of the house.

For those of us who enjoy using the existing paths at Foothills Park and along the river from George Rogers Park south, what the council was thinking is obvious: Connecting those two paths and having a walkway along the river all the way from Foothills Park to West Linn will be a wonderful addition to our city. Even those who don’t bike or walk there themselves should understand that many people do, and that by investing in this recreational asset, we are adding to the quality of life and increasing the desirability of living in Lake Oswego. If the final cost is $200,000 (and it more likely will be much lower than that), this is a good investment. This is not the Safeco building. It is not a streetcar, a new library or a huge expansion to our water treatment system. It is a relatively small investment with invaluable long-term potential benefits.

Years ago the city decided that to gain the right of way on the four riverfront lots needed to complete the pathway, rather than exercising “eminent domain,” to instead wait until each property changed ownership before exercising that right. Thus, last year when a house came onto the market, the city acted in accordance with our long-term goals.

That city council vote last September was 5-2, but now we have a new council that seems to be dominated by an anti-tax, anti-government sentiment. Last month (councilors) rejected the Citizen Advisory Committee’s comprehensive plan for the city before it was even finished, preferring to dictate it themselves.

What will happen if another riverfront property comes onto the market with today’s council in power? I would like to think that they would not be so shortsighted or so committed to their anti-tax constituents, such as Syd Dorn, that they would let that opportunity pass by, but I fear they would be.

Terry Logan is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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