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Readers' Letters

Why I opted out

I’m set to graduate a year early, but the computer system used by the Lake Oswego School District is unable to change my grade level. So this year, I’m registered as a junior, even though — technically speaking — I’m a senior.

LOSD wanted me to take the Smarter Balanced tests anyway, even though they are not required for seniors. If I didn’t take the tests, I’d be counted as a non-participant, because LOSD cannot change my grade level in its system. It was about them, not me.

It is instances like these that reveal that the Smarter Balanced tests are not about my learning. The tests were arbitrarily constructed with little educator input, and the arbitrary requirement to take the tests will only benefit Pearson Education, which designed them. The tests are eight times as expensive as previous state tests.

My history class last year was so overcrowded, students had to sit on windowsills. Our desks are falling apart, and the technology is increasingly obsolete. Oak Creek, which I attended, needs millions in repairs to fix leaky roofs; Lakeridge Junior High and other LOSD schools need similarly expensive repairs. It’s insulting to be spending so much on testing when our schools are quite literally falling apart.

Our teachers are increasingly overworked. Last year, my English teacher — who teaches a full course load and spends additional time out of school doing tremendous work for the yearbook — practically had a meltdown from grading too many essays because she wanted to provide real, substantive feedback. Unlike the Smarter Balanced tests.

We need more teachers like her, but closed-minded, fill-in-the-blank, standardized tests like the Smarter Balanced tests won’t reveal her expertise.

So I opted out. And I encourage you to do the same, for yourself or your kids.

Daniel Vogel

Lake Oswego

Barman positive, productive

Bob Barman has been a positive, productive member of the Lake Oswego School Board for the past four years and a strong advocate and supporter of Lake Oswego schools for over 30 years. Bob’s contagious energy and dedication as a parent, school volunteer, community leader and school board member makes me realize how lucky we all are to live in such a giving, caring community.

Thank you, Bob. You have my vote!

Grace Bruns

Lake Oswego

‘Language Creep’

During her election campaign, Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith had a billboard that said she fights ‘Portland Creep.’ She’s not against participating in another type of creep, though — ‘Language Creep.’ At her recent Lake Oswego Town Hall, she mentioned that we need to bring the Borland area back into the Urban Reserve because the county needs large-lot industrial land in a big way.

Wait! We’ve heard for years there’s a need for employment land and that Borland is tagged to be future profitable Class A office buildings (think Kruse Way). Now she’s saying it’ll be large-lot industrial land?

Smith said that ‘employment’ and ‘large-lot industrial’ were interchangeable terms. I disagree, having worked at both types of places. They’re not the same in terms of traffic, parking, storage, building size or pollutants in the air or the Tualatin River. House Bill 3211 is trying to sweep the Stafford Hamlet and lands south of the Willamette into the Urban Reserve, bypassing Metro’s authority and the city’s legal demands that traffic concerns be addressed before this happens. It’s a sort of ‘Legal Creep.’

Please let your state representative know that HB 3211 is a bad precedent for land use solutions.

Carol Yamada

Lake Oswego

Give students a great start

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so.get on your way!” — Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Lake Oswego School District students are off to great places, and the education they receive in our schools is their starting block. We send our kids to school with the trust that they are receiving and earning knowledge to advance them onto their next adventure in education.

Our kids spend the majority of their waking day in school. This is where they learn not only academics, but social, emotional and life skills. This is where they learn to be citizens and contributors to our society. This is where they learn how to enrich their desire to learn and navigate through the joys and challenges of daily life with others.

We can’t be there with them, so how can we help ensure when they’re at school they’re in a safe, encouraging and thought-provoking environment?

One way is to contribute to the educational options and smaller classroom sizes in our schools through our donation to the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation. This is what we can do, right now. So, we do it. We donate to the Foundation.

Our donation and your donations combine to help Lake Oswego students get off to great places.

Margie and Dave Johnson

Lake Oswego

In favor of Wizer plan

My name is Ben Altman and I am a Boy Scout and fellow resident of Lake Oswego. My Boy Scout troop was discussing the rebuilding of the Wizer building.

I am in favor of rebuilding it because the apartments that are planned to be built on the space will attract new families to LO and further develop our growing city. It is an intelligent but simple idea that combines residential and commercial space.

I believe that more projects such as this are needed to enhance the LO lifestyle and improve spaces such as the Wizer building.

Ben Altman

Lake Oswego

APRIL

The poet declared it

The cruelest month —

Trees ablaze with blossoms,

Swallows dipping the lake,

Flowers by the roadside,

Days of sun and light rain.

If all that seems cruel to you,

We can only say, T. S., Eliot.

James Fleming

Lake Oswego

Require background checks

I am concerned about gun violence in Oregon that is exacerbated by the poor background-check system.

Did you know that about 40 percent of gun sales go through private, unlicensed dealers and the lack of background checks makes it too easy for felons and domestic abusers to purchase guns privately? The Portland news is full of half a dozen shootings every day, and I wonder where these people get guns.

I support the Oregon Legislature’s attempt to alleviate this situation by requiring a background check for every firearm exchange in the state.

Please join me in that support.

Marlene Broemer

Lake Oswego

In praise of cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms come in pink and white colors, with both single and double blossoms. In Japan, the cherry blossom is the national flower. It represents the beauty of life, but is also a reminder that life is of short duration.

In Lake Oswego, we are fortunate that have wonderful cherry trees throughout the city. Visitors from Japan marvel at the large trees in front of Kari Borgen Orthodontics and Lake Oswego Family Dentistry on A Avenue. Those trees are so very old, but beautifully maintained by the businesses or property owner. On the other side of the street, you can see two types of cherry trees (flowering and weeping) in front of Enzyme Research Products and the 7-Eleven store. Both of those cherry trees are also very old.

Last year, when Lake Oswego Reads studied William Stafford, we learned that one of his sons planted the flowering cherry trees along Country Club Road as a Boy Scout project. You can enjoy their deep pink blossoms in early spring on tall trees lining the golf course.

If you look around, you will also see cherry blossoms on Fourth Street by Bank of America and Safeway. Younger trees can be admired at Millennium Plaza Park. Still, it will be a few decades before they rival the trees on A Avenue.

Our block had a beautiful cherry tree over 40 years old, but it was cut down two years ago. Perhaps it had too many blossoms and roots. However, its great springtime beauty is greatly missed by residents. So take a drive around your neighborhood to spot these majestic trees while they are still here.

Even though we have had strong rain and winds, you can still view some late-blooming double-blossom varieties if you drive around the First Addition neighborhood. You’ll also see eight new houses being built. But don’t wait too long. In this beautiful spring, like every year, cherry blossoms are fleeting.

Susan Hornung

Lake Oswego

Foundation donations matter

It won’t surprise many that I believe nothing is more important than the education, safety and well-being of our children. Some things may be as important, but nothing is more important.

I believed this as superintendent of schools, and I continue to believe in the importance of supporting our schools as a member of the community.

The Lake Oswego Schools Foundation has made a critical difference in allowing our district to maintain its vitality through a wide range of economic conditions. One of the secrets to the Foundation’s success since the early 1990s is the singular purity of its mission. The Foundation raises money to put more teachers in our classrooms.

The simple truth is that nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important in a school district than the people who are working directly on a day-to-day basis with our children. But what is simple to understand is not always easy to provide.

We are fortunate to have outstanding teachers in Lake Oswego, but it is also important to recognize that we have to create the conditions for them to be successful. Class sizes matter, because the individual attention a student receives matters. Fifteen to 20 additional teachers spread throughout the district as a direct result of Foundation fundraising makes a tremendous difference. The Foundation has also made it possible to provide additional courses that could not have been provided were Foundation resources not available.

No gift to the Foundation is insignificant. Please consider contributing at whatever level you are capable of and comfortable with.

The quality of our schools benefits our entire community. Not only do they serve the best interests of our families with children, but they also contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy in Lake Oswego.

Bill Korach

Lake Oswego

Reconsider WEB sale

I hope all of you were able to read Nancy Gronowski’s Citizen’s View in the March 26 issue of The Review. Yes: Let’s catch our breath and look at the WEB one more time!

In the long term, this is a very valuable piece of property for the City of Lake Oswego. It will relieve some of the future traffic problems in our downtown and provide another city-controlled entryway to all the areas of our beautiful town.

The tide has changed, the economy is improved and we already own the land. Let’s take this opportunity to be forward thinking. Thank you, Nancy and your six cosigners.

Sandra Jackson

Lake Oswego

We all benefit

Having served as a PTO co-president at Forest Hills Elementary for three years, I have experienced firsthand the amount of time and energy our teachers pour into their students and our school families. Without hesitation or restraint, they dedicate their lives to changing the world, one student at a time.

We are fortunate in Lake Oswego to live in a community filled with passion, drive and a concern for life outside of “the bubble.” Yes, we are privileged. And yes, we have a strong appreciation for what’s right in front of us—the village we are all raising our children in is a beautiful thing.

But without the love and commitment of our teachers and their determination to introduce our children to the world outside of Lake Oswego through a variety of subject areas, personal experiences and enrichment opportunities, this district and our community wouldn’t be the same. A strong school system speaks volumes to the surrounding area, and without exceptional teachers, a school is just a building, and literature is just words on paper. Our teachers bring education to life, both near and far.

For the past 29 years, the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation has helped fund countless teaching positions in our district. This year alone, the foundation will fund 18 teaching positions. Without the financial support of this community, our school ratings and the exceptional education our schools provide simply wouldn’t lead to such accolades as Family Circle Magazine calling Lake Oswego one of the top 10 “Best Towns for Families.”

Whether you currently have children in the district or not, we all benefit by living in a place where our school system stands out among the rest. Exceptional Teachers. Extraordinary Students. And a community of friends that gathers around them all.

Kerry Hinrichs

Lake Oswego

Barman’s positive impact

As a 51-year resident of Lake Oswego, a graduate of Lake Oswego High School and a parent of a Lakeridge graduate, I want to thank current school board member Bob Barman for the positive impact he has had on our school district.

Bob’s support for increased ACT prep classes at both high schools, implementation of the Spanish Immersion program and his insistence that disabled children living in Lake Oswego should be allowed to attend school in Lake Oswego showed true leadership and compassion.

I appreciate the fact that when Bob found serious discrepancies in course offerings between our two high schools, he made sure it was fixed.

As a Laker and a Pacer, I especially appreciate the fact that seven years ago, Bob was instrumental in convincing the city and school district to allow home football games at Lakeridge. This was (and continues to be) a great community builder for all Lakeridge families, and it also allowed the longstanding, neutral “district stadium” to become 100 percent “Laker Nation.” This hard-fought battle was a win-win for everyone!

Without question, our children and our community need four more years of Bob’s positive, inclusive and experienced leadership.

Debbie (Chamberlin) Diamond

Lake Oswego

Stop and think

I am writing to express my strong support for stopping the sale of the West End Building. Once sold, there will be no opportunity for the WEB to become the civic facility that could solve many of the issues facing Lake Oswego today and in the future. We as a city will never have a property of this size in such a perfect location ever again.

The City Council will be addressing this issue at their April 7 meeting. Some of the many questions they should consider are these:

n Is there a plan in place that makes financial and logistical sense to replace the over 7,000 hours of programming and over 500 meetings that occurred at the WEB in 2014? What would the cost be to rent locations that presumably will be scattered all over town?

n Didn’t the City Council include in its goals for this year finding a location in Lake Grove for meeting space, a library or police functions? In other words, the exact functions that the WEB provides?

n The City Council is currently considering buying property adjacent to City Hall for a needed, new police and 911 facility — even though it will not be large enough to house the departments’ needs. It will cost $13 million and the construction involves cutting into the side of City Hall, which is considered not even stable enough to withstand a pressure washing. Does that make sense to anyone?

n What’s the rush? Can’t we take the time to construct a concrete plan for city facilities, including meeting spaces, parks and recreation and a police/911 facility?

I hope that many in Lake Oswego will join the movement to Save the WEB for LO by urging the City Council to do the right thing.

Joan Moore

Lake Oswego

Barman supports us

Thank you, Bob Barman, for having such a positive influence on our schools and our community. I believe one of the reasons our school board has been able to implement so many wonderful new programs and policies during the past four years is because of your ability to bring people together to work towards common goals.

The experience, passion and leadership you bring to this position is unmatched, and your community supports you, just like you’ve always supported us.

Nancy Hitchcock

Lake Oswego

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