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Wizer project, city code changes: Good for LO?

He’s back, Lake Oswego! And it’s time to get involved, because he isn’t going away without a fight!

Developer Patrick Kessi is still trying to squeeze more than 200 apartments into the middle of our village core. The huge buildings he’s proposing are three times as big as the beautiful and appropriate developments on either side - Lake View Village and the Oswego Village town homes. If you look carefully at the plans, you’ll see much of the development resembles large, unattractive dormitories.

To add insult to injury, Kessi has recently hired high-powered political strategists. These highly paid, out-of-town operators will try to convince us that the impact, both physical and philosophical, of these huge buildings are minimal; that we don’t really want nor need a “charming” downtown area; and that high density, as in the Pearl District, is really what we want for our town square.

As if this isn’t enough, there is also concern about developments at City Hall over code changes and updates. City staff appears to be “cleaning out” all of the carefully crafted codes and endless hours put in by LO planners and citizens who originally created a master plan for our town.

We, the citizens of Lake Oswego, do not agree! We carefully and collaboratively drafted our codes and vision to create a vibrant and charming downtown. There are many places in our city for high-density apartments, but the middle of our small town square is not one of them.

What is at risk are the words “village,” “Lake Oswego style” and “compatible,” as staff views them as discretionary words that should be removed. We are clearly opposed to this position, and believe these important words should remain in our codes as part of a clear definition to retain our village character.

Our citizens had a great sense of pride in working together to preserve and protect Lake Oswego’s beauty and charm over time. We believe and trust that LO codes establish a vision for a vibrant and forward-thinking community. It’s a vision that assures Lake Oswego will be maintained and protected and keep its village character.

Lake Oswego has already been honored as one of the best cottage communities in the United States. That wasn’t by coincidence. The word “village” comes up frequently when talking about our downtown. If city staff removes “village” from our codes, our charming village would be moving away from our established and honored aesthetics and there would be a strong possibility of more high-density developments in our downtown core. By removing critical words, city staff opens the door for large developers to come into our town with the kind of high-density proposals that belong in the Pearl.

Kessi and his paid consultants don’t live in Lake Oswego are not concerned about maintaining LO’s roots. They need to talk with the citizens of LO, because we know what is best for our village. In fact, we’ve told him so from the beginning.

Lita Grigg is a Lake Oswego resident and the founder of Save Our Village. Reach her at saveRvillage@aol.com.

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