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Dont be blinded by dollar signs

In her Dec. 19 citizen’s view in favor of the current Wizer’s block development plan, Mary Bosch writes that young professionals are eager to live in developments with walkable neighborhoods. This is true in cities where they can cycle to work and where there is a reliable public transportation system. Yet, is she suggesting that the young professionals who will live in the 228 new apartments will cycle to their jobs in Portland or Beaverton?

Can we depend on TriMet to increase the number of buses on A Avenue, which are scheduled to arrive at stops every 30 minutes, yet which in reality arrive about every 45 minutes for a trip into Portland, and every hour (with standing room only) for the return commute to Lake Oswego? Or will A Avenue need to be widened to accommodate the cars these young professionals will use to commute?

Ms. Bosch’s statement that people who are unhappy with the Wizer’s block plan are simply anxious about change is ridiculous, as well as condescending. I am not afraid of change and agree with the many people who have written letters stating they would welcome a smaller-scale development, similar to Lake View Village and the Oswego Village Townhomes, with 30 to 70 living units. The citizens of Lake Oswego should have another choice than a big box retail store, which, Ms. Bosch warns us, could appear on the Wizer block if the current plan is not implemented as is.

Those concerned about 228 high-density apartments, with 1.5 parking spaces per unit (necessitating street parking) and 228 to 456 more cars on A Avenue, which is already crowded and slow with traffic during commute hours, are not afraid of change, they are concerned about the livability of Lake Oswego! Downtown merchants will have to depend for their livelihood on business from people who live in the downtown area and can walk to the stores, because the rest of us in Lake Oswego might not be able to get there due to traffic congestion and lack of available parking. Will we have to take a shuttle to Millennium Plaza Park now?

Four hundred and fifty-six more people living in downtown Lake Oswego will necessitate better public transportation. It will necessitate a streetcar and with a streetcar in place the defunct Foothills development plan can rise from the drawing table. Is the high-density development of Wizer’s Block 137 just part of a larger plan being forced upon the citizens of Lake Oswego?

Mary Bosch writes that property tax revenues will increase from $50,000 to $600,000 when the Wizer project is completed. However, Carol Radich writes in her citizen’s view on Dec. 12 that the increased revenue will not benefit local districts until sometime between 2030 and 2044 because the revenue will be used for paying off the LORA debt until then. Ms. Radich also writes that the city will pay $5.5 million for the Wizer project.

I think the people who support the current plan for Wizer’s Block 137, with five-story buildings, 228 apartments and insufficient parking, are blinded by dollar signs as to the effect this development will have on the livability of Lake Oswego, and on the beautiful downtown village, which this current plan will destroy.  

Mary Ann Dougherty is a Lake Oswego resident.




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