In 2008, our current president famously said that elections have consequences. I couldnt help but think of that statement in the aftermath of our recent local Council elections.
Some local groups made the recent City Council elections a referendum on the Wizer Block. For well over a year, the Wizer project has been discussed, debated and, in September, decided. Throughout the election cycle, the five candidates for the three Council positions had their views on Wizer dissected and publicized by these groups. When the votes were counted, the pro-Wizer candidates handily won Council seats with a majority of our votes.
The opposition groups are now considering appealing the current Councils vote to approve the project to the Land Use Board of Appeals. LUBA is a legal body and they will start from the premise that it is our citys prerogative to interpret its own code.
The current Councils September decision to approve the Wizer development by a 5-2 majority was well reasoned and certainly legal. In January, we will have a new Council elected by us and whose views on Wizer are, yes, 5-2 in favor of the project. So in the very unlikely scenario that LUBA sends the original Council decision back to the new Council for a vote, the result will be the same.
If the opposition goes ahead with its appeal, the city will be the defendant and taxpayer dollars and staff resources will be diverted to fight an appeal which in all likelihood will fail.
The Wizer opposition has spoken and Lake Oswego voters have spoken. A majority of voters have chosen pro-Wizer councilors. Elections do indeed have consequences. It is time to move on.
LORA contribution clarified
A letter to the editor in the Nov. 6 issue of The Review questions the decision of the City Council, in their role as board members of the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency (LORA), to fund public parking and public access in the Wizer development. The writer also implies that LORAs contribution will have a direct cost to Lake Oswego households.
Key objectives for LORA investment in our downtown are to provide for adequate parking, pedestrian access, additional housing, quality retail shopping and improved economic vitality. The proposed Wizer development clearly meets each of the objectives. The city receives many requests for additional public parking, and LORAs investment in this project ensures that parking will be available for many who wish to visit, shop and recreate in downtown.
Another important objective of LORA is to invest in redevelopment that will add value to downtown. The new Wizer development is expected to generate 13 times the property taxes the current development brings in. These tax revenues over time will not only pay for LORAs investment in the property, but they also will eventually provide significant revenues to the citys General Fund.
Lastly, LORAs contribution to redevelopment projects such as the Wizer Block uses urban renewal funds. As such, these investments do not increase taxes to Lake Oswego households.
Bottom line: The community gets additional public parking, improved public access, more housing options and higher quality shopping opportunities in downtown at no additional cost to Lake Oswego residents.
City of Lake Oswego
An excellent campaign
The election for service on the Lake Oswego City Council and service to the citizens of Lake Oswego is completed. Five excellent candidates stepped forward to stand for election for three positions on the Council. Statements were filed, forums were attended, lawn signs were put up, doors were knocked on, citizens throughout the city were engaged in an informed discussion of the issues facing our city and differences of views among the five candidates were identified.
Each candidate brought strengths to the race. But more importantly, each candidate brought a respect for views other than their own and a civility to each other that carried a generosity of spirit that is a hallmark of stimulating policy debates and honest campaigning.
With the completion of the election, I want to acknowledge my fellow candidates (Ed Brockman, Joe Buck, Matt Keenen and Jackie Manz) for stepping forward and for their past, present and future service to Lake Oswego.
There were two letters to the editor published Nov. 13 telling opponents of the Wizer development to go away, its over. But to believe that a City Council election settled the Wizer redevelopment issue is a fallacy.
Land use issues are settled by the Land Use Board of Appeals, where an appeal has already been filed, and the courts (where an appeal of a LUBA decision may be filed).
Opponents of this out-of-place development proposal intend to follow their legal options. Many people have already contributed to Save Our Village to fund the appeal, and Im certain many more will.
There is no consensus, and nothing is settled.
Please leash your dogs
I have lived near Springbrook Park for over 15 years, and I sincerely appreciate those people who leash their dogs and pick up after them responsibly. However, I have a message for many people who walk there, as well as those who walk in any of our parks, with their dogs.
I am a middle-aged man, and I like to walk in the park for health and relaxation, but more often than not I get the opposite. I am sure you see yourselves as good, law-abiding people, yet you seem to believe Springbrook Park is a dog park, and you apparently feel free to let your dogs run loose, day and night.
When I am suddenly rushed by barking, snarling dogs appearing out of nowhere, frequently more than one at once, it is frightening and stressful. I have been bitten in the past by dogs that are always friendly. How do I know that your dogs are friendly as they rush at me barking wildly in the dark? Why is it okay for you to break the leash law every day, and then get angry, hostile and threatening to me when I am startled and scared and ask you to leash your dogs?
If Im not perfectly polite, it is because I am being attacked. You are in the wrong, not me. You are breaking the law. Your dogs are attacking me, whether they are friendly or not, and destroying my experience as I try to enjoy the park the way it is meant to be used.
Please obey the law; leash your dogs, or take them to a real dog park. If you wont, and you frighten someone in the park, the least you can do is apologize, and leash your dogs as required by law.
Passion and democracy
While I appreciate the passion of the opponents of the Wizer Block development and their determination to push on with an appeal, I also appreciate the clarity that Mayor Kent Studebaker brought to this issue in his article in the November issue of Hello L.O.
The mayor, a lawyer himself, researched the code thoroughly and explained that the city code references village character, then proceeds to identify specific criteria on how to achieve that village character. The code specifically states that the village character is met when the explicit criteria are met. Both the Development Review Commission and city staff declared that those criteria were satisfied.
Basing an appeal on the expectation that the LUBA board would interpret the code differently seems unrealistic, and if LUBA determines the appeal to be unwarranted, it can require the opponents to pay the citys legal fees. The law was set up this way to discourage what is known legally as frivolous lawsuits, in order to protect taxpayers from the cost of defending their municipalities against unnecessary lawsuits.
I hope that Save Our Village, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and Lake View Village will decide not to proceed with an appeal that appears to be a very weak legal case. To do so will be financially risky for them (which may not be a problem for Barry Cain, but could be for the board members of the organizations) and will prolong the divisions within our community.
The democratic process has worked the way it was intended to and a decision has been reached. Lets all respect the process, and each other, and move on to the season in which we celebrate all that we have to be thankful for including the bonds that make this such a wonderful community in which to live.
The developer of the proposed Wizer Block 137 currently has a development in St. Johns that is being welcomed with open arms and praised for honoring its surroundings. Just as with the Wizer design, Pat Kessi worked with a community to bring a collaborative project into a downtown that is in need of new energy from people and retail.
In Lake Oswego we lack quality residences for inbound people to land and reasons for our aging population to stay. We need to add to our commercial and retail space. Our center is extremely walkable, so what a great dynamic we could have in the Wizer design. We could have committed residents who live in a quality building in our core and who can walk to existing and new retail.
Just as in St Johns, Kessi worked with us. He brought to us a redesign whose architecture both The Lake Oswego Review and the DRC admired. Just as in St. Johns, we could have a project that will become an important focal point in the downtown core and one that will add enormously to the economics of Lake Oswego.
We are vocal private property owners here. The Wizer development is being sold by a private property owner to a private developer who will build an architecturally admired project to city code standards. It will house people who make private decisions to live in the town center and spend their private resources here.
Our Lake Oswego City Council approved the Wizer project, yet some still want to cause further delay with an appeal that will probably fail. St Johns had the foresight to embrace a similar project and opportunity. So should Lake Oswego.
Banfield is top-notch
I love my cats like I hope most parents love their children. When I needed to change my vet, it was agonizing! It was like having to change ones own doctor!
After much deliberation, I chose the brand new Banfield Pet Hospital that recently opened on State Street. Both my cat, Honey Pie, and I had a wonderful experience. From the moment we came in for the consultation (dental cleaning and two extractions) to the final follow-up exam, we were treated professionally, kindly, thoughtfully and like the most important cat they had ever treated.
Honey Pie had a little reaction to the pain meds, and I was assured that all was fine and it was. They did not make light of any of my concerns. I chose their annual Wellness Plan that is less costly, in total, than previous dental cleanings at a different vets office.
I know that some folks, myself included, might feel like this is a large chain group that might not care or rush the animal along. I found the new Banfield Pet Hospital to be exactly the opposite of that thinking. They are top-notch.
Honey Pie and I have now had three great experiences with this new group, and we plan to live out all nine of our lives with them. Its great to have such a good resource right here in town. Shop locally...even for your furry friends!
Mary Beth Coffey
No Keystone XL Pipeline
There are few good reasons to build the Keystone XL Pipeline across six states to the Gulf Coast. We dont need the oil.
Since 2011, U.S. exports of processed fuel have exceeded our oil imports; 18 percent of U.S. processed fuels are now exported. According to Federal Energy Data, processed fuels are now the largest dollar-value export from the U.S. The last time the U.S. was a net exporter of fuels was 1949. We have gained energy independence.
Developing countries, especially China, are burning more fuels with more cars and factories. Fuel consumption in the U.S. is down due to increased energy efficiency and less demand.
Building pipelines or drilling offshore is not about our energy independence. Oil producers just want to make more money. Our new Congress supports the Keystone Pipeline on the premise of gaining our energy independence. Stop. Read the data. Its time for reason, not politics.
Paul J. Lyons
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