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'Fiscal responsibility' tops citizens' concerns, LOCAL survey finds

Lake Oswego Citizens Action League (LOCAL) is a non-partisan political action committee created by local citizens to promote responsive city governance. Our goal is to involve and inform LO citizens on key community issues.

We recently conducted a non-scientific online survey to identify the issues which our citizens and voters are most concerned about as we head into the fall election. LOCAL’s email list contains more than 2,500 addresses and represents a diverse cross section of the community from all neighborhoods, a variety of ages, and a broad range of the political spectrum.

Respondents were asked to rank 10 issues listed in alphabetical order, on a scale of 1 to 5:  1 = Unconcerned, 2 = Somewhat Concerned, 3 = Concerned, 4 = Very Concerned, and 5 = Extremely Concerned.  The online survey software conducts a weighted ranking of the responses to come up with an overall score for each issue.

The survey showed:

  • “Fiscal Responsibility” was the area of most concern with a score of 4.2;
  • “Staff Driving City Agenda” (versus elected officials) and “Water Rates” tied for second at 4.0;
  • “Property Use Restrictions” (such as Sensitive Lands) ranked fourth at 3.8;
  • “Wizer/Block 137 Project” came in fifth at 3.7;
  • “Current City Development Code” and “Density” tied for sixth at 3.5;
  • “Street Maintenance” and “West End Building (WEB)” tied for eighth at 3.4; and
  • “Bike/Pedestrian Paths” was 10th at 2.3.
  • Additionally, we offered respondents a chance to elaborate on their concerns or write their own issues.  Most focused on elaborating on their top concerns rather than introducing new issues, though some mentioned schools as a concern. 

    We hear the community saying loud and clear that they want their tax money spent wisely; they perceive staff driving the city agenda and want that to change; and there is an overall concern about the livability of our community, which is impacted by utility costs, property use restrictions and concern for the “village” atmosphere. Lastly, the bike and pedestrian paths that are such a focus of the Transportation System Plan are ranked very low.

    With fiscal responsibility being paramount on the minds of LO citizens, it is important to note that in the coming election three City Council positions will be contested. Citizens will have an opportunity again to elect fiscally conservative Council members to ensure we continue to have a fiscally conservative Council majority, rather than return to the free-spending days of prior administrations which have resulted in our current, ever-rising water and tax bills. But there are other issues of concern as well, and we will need well-rounded candidates who put Lake Oswego citizens first and foremost over the goals of city staff and regional influences that prefer a Portland-like environment.

    LOCAL’s five values continue to be relevant to citizens:

    1. Prioritizing local needs;

    2. Ensuring fiscal responsibility;

    3. Focusing on essential city services;

    4. Preserving local community character; and

    5. Respecting all citizens and their rights.

    LOCAL will continue to keep you informed and will be conducting another survey over the summer to further understand more specific issues and concerns of the community. Our leadership will also be vetting candidates as they emerge. 

    Cheryl Salamie is director and treasurer of the Lake Oswego Citizens Action League.




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