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Readers' Letters

‘The character of our city is being threatened’

I am writing this letter in response to the proposed development of the Wizer block in downtown Lake Oswego.

I have lived in Oswego with my family for 50 years and have watched the growth and expansion of our community. In all of these many years I have felt that the planning and growth of Lake Oswego was in good hands. Now, when I see the proposed development of the Wizer property I feel that the character of our city is being threatened. Over the years we have come to know our neighbors, our merchants and our city government. This proposed development, which appears to be motivated by financial gain, would in my opinion change the livability of our city.

I am all for growth and progress and commend the city planners for bringing Lake Oswego to where it is today. The village and the surrounding retail activity make Oswego a special place.

The proposed five-story building would not only change the character of our city but would deeply lower the quality of our everyday living.

Please consider changing the project to one of a smaller scale that would be more in character with our city and one that would continue to make all of us proud to be residents of Lake Oswego.

Larry Black

Lake Oswego

‘Wizer block changes will benefit all of LO’

I am strongly in favor of the project.

Since we moved here 31 years ago, we have seen downtown Lake Oswego blossom from a dark, unfriendly, unappealing backwater to a potentially vibrant, beautiful, historic district that all Oregonians could be proud of. This is a result of street and sidewalk improvements, addition of artwork and carefully thought out real estate development, of which the Wizer block development is one.

I have two businesses in the vicinity: my medical business, which is Women’s Imaging and Intervention in Lake Grove, and a service station, Bill’s Old Fashion Service, with my son at State Street and B Avenue, around the corner from the Wizer block.

The proposed improvements to the Wizer block will help us maintain a neighborhood where people can live, stroll, shop, converse and have a sense of place in this tiny area, which includes three buildings designated as Lake Oswego historical landmarks.

It is vitally important in our lives to keep and maintain the things that are working, and to change those that are amenable to improvement; the Wizer block changes will benefit all of Lake Oswego in the long run.

Amy Thurmond

Lake Oswego

‘Quite out of keeping with the village atmosphere’

I am sending this letter to voice my concern regarding the proposed Lake Oswego downtown redevelopment project.

I believe that the high density of the apartment/condo structure is quite out of keeping with the village atmosphere that exists and that we all love about this city. The unintended consequences of increased traffic, parking (which is already a problem) and the fact that people will just eventually stop coming to downtown because it is too crowded and not worth the effort will impact not only the businesses but also the livability in the area. 

I do hope that these concerns are addressed and some compromises can be made, otherwise it is just another case of the government not listening to the people.

Beverly Baron

Lake Oswego

‘I know money is always at the front of plans’

This proposed development in Lake Oswego will totally change the environment and living space of all who live here.

I am amazed that it was even considered. I know there is a concern for younger people moving to Lake Oswego — and these apartments are high-end apartments, meaning very high rents. Are young people going to pay that kind of money to live in such crowded living conditions because it is Lake Oswego — why?

To think of 228 units, five stories high, all crowded together — what is the attraction of this? The area is small and with a lot more people it will not be near as appealing. None of us is drawn to areas crammed with people; we avoid such areas. Without sufficient parking there will be cars everywhere.

I could go on and on — I just don’t understand how this was put forward as an option. The quality of Lake Oswego will change drastically — for the worse. Our sense of community will change too — there will be hundreds of people piled into the five-story buildings — and it is not likely we will get to know one another.

I will hope that this plan is thought about more. I know money is always at the front of plans and often that does not produce the best results.

Margaret Jamieson

Lake Oswego

Thank you friends and family

The following link provides a 30-minute film documenting our world-record setting Race Across America: vimeo.com/81091915.

It would have been impossible to succeed without your support. Whether it was long rides in the cold with the Petrick brothers, encouraging email from classmates, financial support for our combat-wounded veterans, banging elbows at races to help build fitness, the patience to allow me to obsess on one goal for nearly six months, a hug, a smile, the effervescent Karon Rakoz, the Ronde van Portlandia, a fearless triathlon store owner or just knowing that you were with us in spirit ... every one of you made a difference.

Thank you for helping us reach our goal of helping wounded veterans and achieve our dream of breaking a world record. 

May you have a blessed holiday season.

Jonathan C. Puskas

Lake Oswego

Support the Block 137 plan

After reading so many negative letters regarding Block 137, it was extremely refreshing to read the citizen’s view by Heather Chrisman in the Dec. 5 Lake Oswego Review.

This is the first letter that really makes intelligent sense. She stated that the same issues regarding this proposed development were brought up when Lake View Village was in its planning stages. These were exactly the same issues also brought up when the Stafford retirement community, across from Lakeridge High School, was being proposed. People (mainly neighbors) were concerned about the size of the project and the traffic that would be generated. As we now know, there have been no traffic problems, and the Stafford is a beautiful addition to the neighborhood.

With the recent changes made to the plans by the developer, I would hope that more people would support the project and realize that this is exactly what this community needs.

Jim Blume

Lake Oswego

WEB needs clear proposal

Many questions were raised and not answered in the Review’s Dec. 15 article on the West End Building (“Future of West End Building remains unclear”). The article said the planning commission shared citizen concerns about, among other things, “an unknown development plan for the site and land use.” You then quote Puja Bhutani as saying, “Even with some size limitations on the development outlined in the application...” That implies there exists a description of the development in the application. Yet your article goes on to say, “Kensington Investment Group, the potential buyer, hasn’t publicized a long-term plan for the land.” But then you point out that the company might build multifamily housing, a gym and/or a food store. Lastly, you indicate that Brant Williams, the city’s redevelopment director, stated that the proposal contains certain limitations on the development in order to accommodate the community’s concerns about density, noise and retail activity. This suggests the existence of a detailed plan, and yet, based on the article, I’m not sure that’s true.

I spent 20 years with Santa Clara County Airports and we had numerous opportunities to solicit bids for development of airport property. Never once did we receive a proposal from an applicant that didn’t include specificity about the project being proposed.

I can’t tell from your article if the applicant has proposed something or not. It would be beyond ludicrous to rezone the property for what you describe as an “unknown development.” On the other hand, you imply throughout your article that descriptions of the development exist. As a citizen trying to understand what is happening in my community, I’m left scratching my head.

I offer this: If the council has a good proposal from Kensington Investment Group, they should say what it is and explain why it is a good deal (before the Jan. 7 meeting at city hall when they will have already made up their minds about what they are going to do). If they don’t have a clear proposal, they should deny the rezoning. Either way, your paper needs to do a better job of presenting the facts.

Lawrence J. Feldman

Lake Oswego

(Editor’s note: The city planning commission on recently rejected the proposed rezoning of the West End Building campus to general commercial.

The quote from commissioner Bhutani referred to size limitations on development in general rather than on a specific development project.

Zoning affects what types of commercial, residential or other development are allowed on a particular property, and the city had proposed additional limits on allowed development if the WEB property were rezoned. Those limits would apply to future development applications.

But so far, there is no specific development application, as the city is still trying to sell the property in a deal that is contingent on the rezoning.

While city staff members have suggested some possible uses for the property, the likely developer has not yet publicized a specific plan. That plan would have to go through a separate application and public hearing process.)

Proposed development will create a ‘monstrosity’

As you know, this is a critical time for the future of Lake Oswego. If the proposed development goes forward, it will set a precedent that will never end. Twenty years from now we will not even recognize this beautiful little town.

The charm that has made it a desirable place to build a monstrosity will be gone.

We must roll up our sleeves and begin with the future in mind.

Barry Dennis

Lake Oswego

‘You have something special now’

I lived in Lake Oswego in the Westlake neighborhood.  We moved to be closer to my husband’s work. We are contemplating our next move and would love to move back to Lake Oswego.

Looking at properties in the Review, I’ve been reading the articles and letters regarding the proposal to redevelop Wizer’s. After seeing the pictures in the Review I had to comment.

I find it difficult to believe that the city council would consider this move a step in the right direction. A big part of what makes Lake Oswego so desirable is the feeling downtown that you are somewhere special.

This is not what you experience in most towns in the U.S. The smaller town feel, outdoor cafes, charming characteristics of Lake View Village shops and restaurants and, of course, the lake, you feel part of a world that most cities lack. This is why I drive 30 minutes to shop and dine in Lake Oswego.

I am surprised that the city council would consider adding large city-like buildings in the middle of this charming atmosphere. In the Review, the Build our Village renderings do not appear to be the right choice for downtown. 

It is shocking to see the contrast between the charming St. Honore building and the new proposed building on the opposite corner. Please at least rethink these designs. It belongs in the Pearl or some city not known for small town charm.

You have something special now. As proposed, it is unimaginable that these buildings are even being considered.

Lin Gates

Aloha

Stop the smears

The nasty, vile and misleading tactics have started again in politics with the Freedom and Responsibility PAC mailer Nov. 21.

Kudos to Commissioner Paul Savas for his integrity and rising above these smears. The person who sent this told me, “I believe that Paul is sincerely doing what he thinks is best for his constituents, that he listens to people, carefully considers each issue. Therefore I regard Paul to be an honorable man.” Really, then stop the smears.

Jeanne Freeman

West Linn



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