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Wizer block won't be a good match for seniors

Over and over in last week’s Lake Oswego Review, the Wizer block is described as a destination living space for aging seniors scaling way down.

Unfortunately, it won’t have the shuttle vans and other social and physical support services, like Mary’s Woods or Carman Oaks that seniors in transition need and deserve. The developer will charge exorbitant prices for a population on fixed incomes. I think our seniors deserve better. The complex should be self-contained with its own dining room and private amenities like Carman Oaks.  

Let’s be honest here, please, about the project:

  •  Seniors on fixed incomes, with aging health and slowing physical abilities, would be the primary demographic group renting because of the location and physical structure of the Wizer building.
  • No real additional commercial and retail square footage is added from what we have now.
  • Some neighboring businesses will close due to two years (minimum) of planned construction.
  • Congestion will gridlock streets.  
  • There needs to be safe shuttle loading zones added for seniors.
  • Other developers and people could “pencil out” a project that is primarily commercial and retail as a focus. 
  • Look at who will move in:  

    1. Probably not young families — This Wizer housing actually discriminates against families with children with its lack of green space and playgrounds. Other apartments have these precious amenities. No school bus service is available, and moms circling with little kids from a subterranean parking structure would be a nightmare. No parent wants the gross inconvenience of narrow short streets fighting rush hour gridlock making left-hand turns on First Street with kids several times a day. Are the seniors going to want the playful voices of kids echoing loudly in the center confined courtyard? I sure wouldn’t for those high prices.

    There are no big yellow school buses that can pick up for grade school, junior high and high school. I called the district to verify. 

    1. Swinging singles and young single working people? — No way. The Pearl is where the action is for the same price with more fun, nightlife and young people. Young singles will not be packing into this Wizer dormitory looking for a partner in this suburban family town. We can never become bustling Portland no matter how hard we try. We will just ruin our character trying.

    2. College kids? — Would several underage kids be packing into apartments? This is not a group to encourage who party after exams.

    3. Aging seniors? — As people age and have less abilities to care for their property, develop health problems or want to be with others, they transfer to retirement communities. I will, too. Unfortunately, this eventual retirement community has few internal amenities or support services they need.  Safeway, (one of) the only grocery store(s) within walking distance, is slated to close I hear for redevelopment.

    If we are going to build a senior center or retirement community in the heart of downtown, let’s be honest and do it right. This means starting over. Also, be honest that advancing senior housing with “aging in place” does not revitalize downtown. Revitalizing downtown requires adding a net increase of commercial and retail, which the Wizer project does not do. 

    That’s the point, city council and mayor.

    Please write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

     Jaymee Delaney is a resident of Lake Oswego.

    Editor’s note: Nancy Duin, director of communications for the Lake Oswego School District, notes: “For students who live within Lake Oswego School District boundaries, bus transportation is provided according to Oregon Department of Education guidelines: For elementary students who live more than one mile from school, and for secondary students who live more than one and one-half miles from school. School bus stops and routes are established annually based on student enrollment and location of residence, and are added within guidelines and as needed for areas of new housing development.”



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