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Citizens count on mayor, council to honor pledges

We moved from Pasadena, Calif., to escape the traffic, congestion and overdevelopment that is so prevalent in Southern California. We have been very happy and loved retirement in Lake Oswego, with the ability to walk to Millennium Plaza Park and the village from our home. We love the picturesque charm of Lake Oswego and enjoy the accoutrements of small-town living. Which brings me to the reason for writing this letter: the Wizer redevelopment reminds me of the high-density mistakes we have seen in towns throughout California and in other areas of Portland that have been overbuilt.

The architectural structure and size of the buildings do not fit into the village setting we have in downtown LO.  The buildings are five stories and should be three stories, according to the building codes. This block with wall-to-wall buildings looks like it belongs in an LA suburb. The proposed development is too large, there is not enough green space, the storefronts do not look inviting and the buildings are void of village character like the small-scale buildings surrounding the downtown and the lake presently.

I also would like to address the apartments. Our concern is that people living in condominiums have more of a vested interest in their building and develop an attachment to the community. Renters would be constantly moving in and out, creating moving vans and rental trucks in constant view on weekends. Downtown is already bustling on weekends, and based on my experience in LA, this type of density will create gridlock right in the center of our community. Will the added traffic jams create poor air quality, especially where we enjoy walking and outside dining? I can visualize a constant stream of moving trucks and apartment visitors circling around the fountain as they look for parking. Parking for the apartments will use up spaces for people who wish to shop or use the restaurants as a greeting place.

We have seen the quality of life diminished in towns throughout California due to urban density. This complex is not a good fit for our downtown. It would be better suited to the West End Building with more green space and easy access to I-5.  Mayor Studebaker pledged during his campaign that he was “committed to preserving LO.” He said he wanted to “prevent high density.” The citizens of Lake Oswego are counting on the mayor and city council to honor their campaign pledges and do what is best for the residents of Lake Oswego.

As you know our taxes are quite high, and we considered this was because of the special character of the community. Let us not lose that special character.

Nancy D. Shebel is a resident of Lake Oswego.



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