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'Please don't ruin our wonderful city'

The following is an open letter to the Lake Oswego City Council:

I have been a proud resident of Lake Oswego since 2003, a youngster in many people’s view. My family of five came up from San Diego because of employment and the community we now belong to is very much our home — we love it.  We have eagerly anticipated the redevelopment of the Wizer block. The original plan looked ambitious, but with a reasonable outcome.

Much to my dismay, I have learned that the current plan is completely different. It is way too much. Five-story-tall buildings will completely change the outdoor dining experience currently enjoyed at St. Honore, Zeppos and even Blast Burger.

The increase in traffic alone would make this an unwelcome dining experience. I don’t know anyone that enjoys their food served with a side of exhaust and car noise. Not to mention how much light the buildings will cut off. In the chillier months, outdoor dining is still enjoyed because of the autumn sun — but the sun is so low in the sky, the patios will all be shaded completely. The profile of the proposed building would completely change the character and feel of First Street going into Millennium Plaza Park.

The traffic during rush hours times at the corner of A Avenue and State Street is already quite congested, backing up in all directions. I can only imagine when all the new residents are trying to turn left into the new complex, how bad that will get. Our farmers market spills a bit into the Wizer block area — and this is lovely — a way to not have to be so crowded (yes, the farmers market is already crowded) — with the giant buildings, where will the sense of space come from — the actual space will definitely be gone. Where will the new residents park — in the Millennium parking garage — probably not “legal,” but I’m sure it will get used. And what kind of residents will we attract in these tiny apartments? What rental turnover is expected? Downtown LO is not adjacent to any large-scale employer, so there is no employment anchor to keep single tenants in place on a long-term basis. We are not Orenco Station next to an Intel- or Nike-type employer.

What, other than greed, could compel the builder to design something that matches nothing in the area — or even in Lake Oswego. The only place with such height in Lake Oswego is the business park area on Kruse Way — and there is considerably more open space and parking around each of those buildings.

I want to see the block redeveloped, but in a way that enhances the beauty and quality and lifestyle that is downtown LO, not one that crushes it with its overwhelming size.

Please consider smaller buildings with bigger units and consider a mix of units that are rental and purchase, not just all rental. We want to extend the feeling and charm that is downtown LO and welcome people to our village. If someone desires high-rise living, I would contend that LO is not likely going to meet their lifestyle needs, even if we have taller, dense buildings to move into.  

Please don’t ruin our wonderful city. Please work to make it better.

Christine Bonney is a resident of Lake Oswego.



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