The Wizer proposal won't work well for Lake Oswego
Our family has lived near downtown Lake Oswego for more than 46 years and has welcomed and now enjoys the changes we have experienced: Lake View Village, Millennium Plaza Park and so much more.
We are very concerned, though, about the proposed development of the Wizer block. Though we favor mixed-use development, including new retail and residential opportunities, the current plan is far too large in scale and density for the location.
Proponents of the plan cite the need for affordable housing downtown which this upscale development is clearly not, and the benefit of increased property taxes which LO wont benefit from until the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency debt is paid off (currently scheduled for 2044).
There has also been recognition of the high quality of the developers but excellence of materials and design will not in any way mitigate the impact of the size and density of the development. Whats more, proponents claim that developers have met with neighborhood groups, listened to their concerns and have made modifications accordingly. Yet, in W&Ks two meetings with the Evergreen neighborhood, the main concerns expressed by neighbors have been the scale, the density and the resulting traffic and parking problems that will ensue. These concerns have not been addressed. The buildings remain at four and five stories with 220-plus residences.
Take a walk up A Avenue. Currently each block beginning at State Street has at least one large break between buildings and nearly all buildings are at most two or three stories. Imagine then, a four-story, unbroken facade stretching across an entire block. Or walk on First Street along two-story Lake View Village, and imagine four stories just across the street. Of great concern is the traffic that will be generated by new retail, restaurants and, especially, the 220-plus residences. Because of its location, there are only two ways to access Block 137. The first is busy A Avenue. The alternative, which many will seek and use, is Evergreen Road, a designated residential street heavily used by pedestrians and bicyclists, including many children. Mr. Wizer, an upstanding citizen of our town, was quoted in a LORA meeting of 2011 as wanting to redevelop Block 137 in a way that worked well for the community. I am sorry to say that this deal might work well for W&K developers, but it wont work well for our neighborhood or the larger community of Lake Oswego.
Carol Radich, Lake Oswego, is an Evergreen Neighborhood Association board member.Add a comment