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'Be prepared for a future you may not enjoy'

What happened? What happened to the mayor and new city council members that promised pre-election to reverse the rush to increase density in our city pursued so vigorously by the previous mayor and several of the old council?

What happened to the promises to seek broad citizen input for major projects after the streetcar plan, Foothills-Pearl District plan and the relocate our library to Second Street plan went down in flames after citizens woke up? The plan to develop the Wizer block into an apartment complex with up to 228 transient tenants at Millennium Plaza Park has struck the citizens I have spoken to with three reactions: (1) Oh, no ... a five-story apartment complex next to Millennium Park ... we don’t want that! (2) What ... why was there no citizen input? (3) Why is this happening so fast in a city that has talked about developing the Wizer block for decades?

To these questions I might add my own: Why is it that the entire city council has either been hypnotized by the developer or lacks the courage to question in even the mildest form, the basic premise of this proposal? Oh, yes, they have lots of questions about whether the complex will have garbage cans or where the hordes of tenant dogs will find a bathroom, but no one considered addressing the impact of this offensive proposal on the village character of our town center.

After all, the “village character” is enshrined in our town’s charter documents and more importantly in the hearts of the citizens that treasure a small-town atmosphere. If this proposal reaches fruition in its current form, one can only imagine the future consequences: a plethora of high rise apartments in downtown and Lake Grove; traffic nightmares as legions of tenants leave their apartments for jobs in Portland, Beaverton or Hillsboro; massive parking problems in downtown leading the city council to conclude that only parking meters will solve the congestion; a sharp increase in the number of DUII arrests as the apartment complexes become party central on weekends; greater noise, trash, dog droppings, crime and disregard for authority; more conflicts between bicyclists, cars and pedestrians leading the city council to conclude bicycle-only street lanes and a one-way street grid are the answer; creeping “weirdness” as all of the characteristics (e.g., nude bicycle parades) that now dilute Portland’s attractiveness impact our family friendly atmosphere.

While many towns have succumbed to the assault of the urban density Taliban, with their love of high-rise development, notably some, such as Sausalito, Calif., have with great courage steadfastly refused. They remain as unique and highly sought outposts in a sea of insoluble congestion. If you want to influence the path of this runaway train, I suggest you make your voice heard by the city council. Otherwise, be prepared for a future you may not enjoy.

Roger Rollins is a Lake Oswego resident.




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