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Citizen's View: City should not put taxpayers on the hook for parking garage

At the Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 22, planning staff recommended and the commission voted to adopt the Lake Grove Village Center Parking Management Plan (PP 13-0007). The proposed plan contains several extremely costly recommendations that will be paid for by taxpayer dollars and should be of concern to all citizens of Lake Oswego.

The most expensive recommendation calls for the City to purchase the Round Table Pizza location on Boones Ferry Road (purchase price unknown) and construct a 45-foot-tall, three-story parking garage to the tune of up to $7.14 million (or most likely much more). Another SAFECO Building fiasco?

This taxpayer-funded parking garage would mostly benefit the 10 stores and restaurants located in the Lake Grove Village Center, including Zupan’s, La Provence and Rite Aid Pharmacy, and be roughly a 650-to 700-foot walk from those merchants — more than the length of two football fields. The Round Table Pizza location is owned by the Lake Grove Village Center.

Why the difference in Planning Department thinking between the Lake Grove area and downtown Lake Oswego?

We call your attention to the North Anchor Project currently being discussed between the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency and a private developer.  The City owns two parcels facing B Avenue across from Rite Aid.  On the west side of First Street, a mixed-use apartment is proposed; a hotel is planned on the east side of First Street.  No towering parking garage there, or a “one-time building code exemption” to accommodate the 45-foot-tall concrete block. All parking will be underground and built at the developer’s expense, not at taxpayers’ expense.

The Wizer Block redevelopment is another prime example to consider.  It’s the developer funding the additional underground public parking, not the public.

Why the double standard?

Imagine driving east from I-5 into the Lake Grove neighborhood along Boones Ferry Road and coming across a huge block of grey concrete.  Is that the first impression of Lake Oswego that we want people to remember? The integrity and atmosphere of our neighborhood and our city are in jeopardy if this behemoth structure is allowed to be built — not to mention the gross misuse of public money to benefit a small number of privately owned businesses.

If the City feels obligated to supply taxpayer-paid parking for private businesses rather than have businesses supply their own, then a better and less costly alternative would be to construct several surface parking lots adjacent to and along the one-mile Boones Ferry corridor from Kruse Way south to the Round Table Pizza location, each within convenient walking distance to the more popular shopping areas.  These inexpensive surface lots could be easily screened with native landscaping, with the proper setbacks, and allow shoppers and diners better and closer access to their destinations.

This is much more logical than spending more than $7.14 million in taxpayer dollars on an unsightly parking garage at the southern end of a one-mile shopping area.

We urge you to attend the next City Council hearing on this issue, tentatively scheduled for May 3, and insist councilors reject this costly plan. Or better yet, send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and express your feelings about this misguided use of taxpayer money.

Don’t let Lake Oswego become another downtown Portland.

Peter York and Barry Hasson are residents of Lake Oswego.