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Wizer Block: LO citizens' values vs. developer's money

"Money, Money, Money” — the famous tune from the movie and Broadway play “Cabaret” — could be the theme song for Pearl developer Patrick Kessi and his team, who are proposing a huge apartment complex in our village square. They are spending money on political advisers, ads, publicity and a fancy booth at Wizer’s, along with social media. However, like the movie and play situation based on real life, they, too, can crash.

True, money is needed in Lake Oswego, for many good causes. Yet developers continue to waste money on trying to convince LO citizens to ruin the serenity of our downtown with development that is ill-suited to our community.

The new advertising spin for the development is about how the project exceeds parking codes. But this parking nightmare is accomplished by now “packing and stacking” the cars one on top of the other, using 27 hydraulic lifts in the underground parking.

Hiring political advisers to direct the campaign in favor of oversized development in LO is counter-intuitive, for the simple reason that the issue is not bipartisan. This huge development affects every local citizen. It is not Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or Independent in its nature. Political advisors have no place in the mix.

Why would the City support this project? Just like the developer and highly paid consultants: money.

High-density development is desirable in appropriate locations, but downtown Lake Oswego is not one of them. We are not the Pearl District, and we do not wish to become like the Pearl District. High-density development would overburden the local infrastructure and damage the community. We need to grow, but we want growth that affects the city in a positive way. Urban density is a reality, but it should not occur at the price of urban chaos. This project is misplaced, inappropriate and harmful to our city.

If we do not protect the quality of life and the health, safety and traffic conditions in our area, Lake Oswego will not continue to grow in a positive way. Concerned citizens of LO who volunteer their time because they care about their community is the correct approach to this out-of-control development. These are the values that have been carefully built by city residents over decades. They do not follow market studies, focus groups and hype. They follow and honor the codes which are the roots and identity of Lake Oswego.

Thinking about the future of Lake Oswego is the issue — about its appeal, its future for our children, its attraction for small business and its desirability for visitors. Efforts need to be made for safer side streets to make them more pedestrian friendly. We need to protect our beautiful Millennium Park and farmers market. Placing three massive buildings, one of which is larger than all six Lake View Village buildings, will have lasting negative effects on our town square and neighborhoods.

Money is an important commodity. Don’t be swayed by professional outsiders’ pocketbooks trying to control hometown issues and opinions. Using funds wisely needs careful consideration. It should benefit all LO citizens, not just developers and their cohorts.

Let’s not crash. Let’s use our town in ways that benefit everyone.

Tom Grigg is a Lake Oswego resident and a supporter of Save Our Village.



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