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Council can send out the right vibes

A decision to downsize is never made lightly, but even more serious is the decision about where to live. After our decision was made to downsize, we made a very conscious choice to move to Lake Oswego, and we subsequently put our names on the waiting list for one of the residences on the redeveloped Wizer Block.

Four years ago, I moved my business to Lake Oswego, joined the Chamber and the Rotary and became a thoroughly involved volunteer and sponsor for many causes, including the Arts Council. Downtown living with easy access to restaurants and shops is very appealing to us. Living in a building that is architecturally pleasing, with open spaces filled with art and great pedestrian walkways, is also important. But perhaps most important is living in a welcoming community among people with diverse opinions who come together to express their feelings in a studied, civil manner. We have been welcomed and have both made many friends in this town.

So it is with some disappointment that in the discussions and the proceedings to consider the redesigned Wizer Block, some in this community have seemed less welcoming to others than we first thought. The Development Review Commission, which is charged with interpreting city code, seems to have some members whose personal views got in the way of what they were tasked to do. They leave us with the impression, to paraphrase former Gov. Tom McCall, that people can visit but not stay!

We’ve always thought of Lake Oswego as progressive, with a real sense of community. We’ve always thought of Oswegans as people with foresight who recognize that their community has to have an economically viable future in order to support their great schools and parks. Yet the vibes being sent out right now from the DRC and the opponents of change do not seem to extend a welcoming hand.

The proposed Wizer development seems to us to be entirely in tune with Lake Oswego’s vision for the future and its whole sense of community. The new design is most certainly in sync with its neighbors. It definitely meets any objective standards established by the city code. Its residents will add tremendous vitality to a downtown that is in need of a facelift. So what is it that some in LO are afraid of? Surely not us!

We chose you as our future neighbors. We look forward to living among you, continuing to dine with you, shop with you, share opinions with you. In short we want to fully become part of your tax-paying community.

I gather that the City Council will deliberate in September on our potential future residence. I hope that the vibes they send out will be welcoming ones. We look forward to having our perspective of Lake Oswego as an inviting place in all senses of the word restored.

Beth Levich is a Lake Oswego business owner. She and Pete Schulberg live in Southwest Portland and are on the wait list to move to the Wizer Block.

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