I am writing to express my support for the Block 137 project. I am a longtime visitor to all of Lake Oswego’s wonderful amenities and hope to make the Block 137 project my home. For weeks now I have been reading letters in this publication highlighting a myriad of issues with the project design, from its height and density to the dramatic impacts on parking and traffic. Based on this information, I had many concerns with the impacts that the project would have on the community and was led to believe that the building was not a good fit for Lake Oswego.

However, I read a letter in a (Nov. 21) Lake Oswego Review titled “Get the facts, not hyperbole on downtown plans,” which pointed out the website that was created by supporters of the development. After visiting the website and attending an educational meeting sponsored by the group, I realized how much I did not know about the facts of the Block 137 development.

First off, I had heard that the design is violating city code in terms of the height. In fact, although the development has requested an exception to include a fifth floor for portions of the structures, the building will be under the code’s 60-foot maximum height. I also learned that these fifth floor areas are contained in the roof gable and elimination will not change the overall height of the building. The inclusion of living units within this gable space is an efficient design and creates more visual interest on the building exterior instead of a vast expanse of sloped roof. Removing the fifth floor won’t achieve an overall height reduction.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of changes to the plans that the developers have already made to respond to community input. From splitting the design into three separate buildings and creating multiple pedestrian walkways through the project to capping the number of units, the developers have made modifications that may have affected their bottom line in trade for a project that better meets the community’s desires.

I have also heard concerns over the increase of parking and congestion in downtown and was pleased to find out that the developers have planned for more than 100 extra spaces than required by code. The planned retail square footage will be about half of what is contained in Lake View Village, and with ample underground parking (the commercial and residential parking areas will be segregated with separate entrances), this should help reduce the issue of people driving around looking for a parking space, creating traffic congestion and taking up limited street parking. And, of course, the purpose of urban living is to allow residents to leave their cars parked and walk to amenities.

While I know that not everyone in the community shares my support of the project, I do encourage all of those impacted by the project to visit to learn about all of the facts for themselves.

Roberta Blau is a resident of Portland.

Contract Publishing

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