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Buildings matter

A Seattle wedding and a Philadelphia funeral — what do these two solemn ceremonies have in common? There’s the woman who tried to save an abandoned Seattle warehouse by marrying it, and the funeral held for a vernacular Philadelphia townhouse prior to demolition. Both of these ceremonies were intended to honor buildings that were once an integral part of their communities.

Why are people willing to invest time and money in such unorthodox, and potentially useless, acts? The only answer is that buildings matter. Places matters — humble, grand and everything in between. Buildings house our personal and collective memories.

Too often, building materials — stones, bricks and lumber — typically of a quality that would no longer be affordable today, are thoughtlessly tossed into dumpsters destined for landfills. The unfortunate fate of these structures that shaped our memories is a disservice to our community now, and for every future citizen who won’t have the opportunity to experience and enjoy these buildings that were once a part of us.

Take action and oppose the changes that threaten the essential fabric of our city and our neighborhoods. Here are a couple of steps you can take to be a part of the solution:

n Advocate for changes in city policy regarding demolitions by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and

n Join and support the work of your local, non-profit historic preservation advocacy organization, the Lake Oswego Preservation Society. For information, go to lakeoswegopreservationsociety.org.

Marylou Colver, Lake Oswego

We’d welcome a better fit

Thank you all for all your work to make our city a lovely place to live. I attended the Development Review Commission meeting on July 21 and was very impressed with the care and concern of the commissioners and attendees.

Please note that the applicant is a developer and builder of very large apartment buildings. This is what he wants to place in the middle of our village — not the recommended retail and businesses that the area has been zoned for. He has dressed up the façade and reduced the retail area to far less than we have now, and his principal plan is for over 200 apartments.

If he can bring in a plan that fits with the original plan of all retail on the ground floor and 35 condos on the second and third floors — a real “fit” — then we will welcome him to our community.

Richard and Shirley Spooner, Lake Oswego

City won’t get a ‘do-over’

I just finished reading Mr. Kessi’s article in The Review (“Wizer Block: Respecting the past and looking to the future,” July 24). One comment stood out for me regarding the activity and vitality that the 200 apartment units will bring to the downtown core.

If Mr. Kessi would walk across the street, he would find the First Addition neighborhood. If he would walk toward the lake, he would find the Evergreen neighborhood. That’s a lot of people already living in downtown LO! And those folks are paying property taxes. I’m in agreement with all the people who don’t see the need for so many apartments and agree that more retail would be a better fit for our town.

And, I have very good visualization skills and am having a lot of trouble seeing three multiple-story buildings on Block 137. Again, I am in complete approval of redevelopment, but let’s get it right. We won’t get a “do-over” if this isn’t done right the first time.

Now, can I come up with a snappy quote from the past?  I’ll work on that...

Lynn Guzie, Lake Oswego

Wait for right project

I never thought I would watch three hours of Lake Oswego City TV, but the many professional presentations at the July 24 meeting of the Development Review Commission captivated me.

I was especially impressed with the 3-D presentation that showed how large the revised Wizer Plan is by superimposing a football field on the footprint of the three buildings.

I agree with the editorial opinion in the July 17 issue of The Lake Oswego Review — “The city should maintain its ‘compact shopping district’ and think about what is best for Lake Oswego in the long term,” and “Moving forward with this proposal, as is, would be a defining mistake. It would have staggering implications for any future development in downtown, and Lake Oswego has waited too long for the right proposal to simply settle for the wrong one. This development needs to be done right — with fewer residential units and more retail.”

Change is coming, and in fact almost everyone I know wants to see the Wizer Block developed. We only have one chance to get this development right, and the current plan is too massive, will cause parking issues and does not reflect the years of planning that went into creating a compact shopping district in the core of Lake Oswego. Fewer and larger residential units will appeal to the many people who want to downsize but stay in LO.

We do have a kind of magic here in Lake Oswego now. We only have one chance to get this right, and I sincerely hope the DRC will choose to honor the vision of Lake Oswego as a very special village. Thank you to the DRC for the many hours they have spent reviewing this project. Please reject this proposal. Let’s wait for the right project.

Teresa Delaney, Lake Oswego

A door-to-door sales dilemma

We had a most unpleasant experience recently involving an aggressive and persistent door-to-door salesman. He repeatedly refused to leave when asked to go. In the course of the ensuing discussion, my husband was pushed to the ground.

My husband has a broken hip. The salesman vanished into the dark.

The emergency personnel, police and sheriff all came very promptly. All were efficient and very kind, and I thank them.

This is not the first time we have been annoyed by these people. Most of us living in Lake Oswego have had some experience with them. The city manager’s office tells me the company who sends them is based in Georgia. As they purchase the business license required, they are legally empowered to knock on doors. “No Solicitation” signs have no legal power.

I would like to start a conversation about this situation. Does the city really have to grant a permit to do business to anyone who pays the fee?

One neighbor suggested we do a telephone tree on our street; at least we would know the salesmen were in the area. More ideas?

Deborah Marble, Lake Oswego

Wizer: emotions and harmony

I write in support of the Wizer Block development, both from a personal and a professional viewpoint.

Having spent a great deal of time in Lake Oswego and nearing a decision to downsize, I have my name on the wait list for one of the residences in the heart of downtown. Needless to say, I have followed the evolution of the Wizer Block design and have heard and listened to the community dialogue. The design is architecturally very appealing, the dialogue somewhat confusing.

As a former senior vice president of a retail chain, I was heavily involved in land use issues and in code standards, so I know firsthand how high emotions often run when a new development is proposed. But let us not get sidetracked with emotions and subjectivity.

The redesign of the Wizer Block is not only visually pleasing, but it also meets all the objective goals the city had for this block. It is well within the code standards set by citizens’ task forces and the City of Lake Oswego, and it should and must be judged on those objective standards.

I look forward to living in a building that from any objective standpoint is in harmony with the rest of downtown Lake Oswego. I hope to live in that building, where I will be treated as a good neighbor, able to enjoy the advantages of an energetic downtown while bringing some economic benefits to the tax base.

Cheryl Perrin, Hillsdale

Wizer: rhetoric down, project up

I am a young person with a family who is living by choice in Lake Oswego, because of the superior school system. I also have my own small construction business, so working with codes is an integral part of my every day. My family and I would like to remain in this community, assuming the schools remain strong with a solid tax base to support them. Tax bases need people to feed them and people need a stimulating environment with good housing options to attract them.

The Wizer Block development, with its mixed use of residences, retail, and commercial, will offer all sorts of great options in downtown Lake Oswego. The development is now designed to code and is exactly what the city wanted for this block when it set code standards some years ago.

Lake Oswego has an aging population and limited affordable-housing options. Without some advances, its tax base will shrink, its schools will suffer and the young population will start to migrate to other communities offering better choices.

Thankfully, democracies allow free speech and certainly the opposition to the Wizer re-development has exercised its free speech, though not all of it with accurate facts. This redesign fits well within code requirements, fits well within the center of town and will offer exciting options for my family. I look forward to the rhetoric being turned down and the project going up.

Simon Franklin, Lake Oswego

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