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'You can't stop progress, only delay it'

When my wife's and my families each moved to Lake Oswego, there was one stop sign in Lake Grove, I believe just two stop lights in the city of Lake Oswego and the first high school in the city had just opened that year. Look at it today. You can’t stop growth.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that my sister and brother-in-law were living in a single detached home on First Avenue, just half a block west of the current city hall surrounded by other single homes. Across the street was an abandoned house on what became the Safeway parking lot. What if a businessman with a building that exceeded the 60-foot height limit organized and spent thousands of dollars to fund the opposition including lawyers, placards and rallies to fight the proposed new city hall or the new Safeway or the beautiful Oswego Village Townhomes that have made our city grow?

You can’t stop progress, only delay it. Mark my words, by 2025 there will be at least two new very tall buildings occupying a whole city block in downtown Lake Oswego, and by 2030, at least two more. Yet, none of them will be as tall as Lake View Village. What standard will these new buildings try to match? The leading-edge world-class style of the Wizer project or a non-environmentally friendly typical plain Jane painted sidewalk-to-sidewalk solid concrete block that would still meet the building code requirements and the courts would force you to accept? Grab this opportunity to set the parameters high while you still have the chance so that our grandchildren can enjoy the beautiful downtown that is just now coming to flower as it becomes our community center.

Just as their family has done for decades, Lake Oswego can thank God that is has the Wizers trying to create the best they can for our city. There is no higher environmental standard than LEED Platinum and few buildings in the world have achieved it and none in Lake Oswego. Block 137 will set the mark that others will have to achieve in the redevelopment of downtown LO. Do you want the low mark of a typical developer or the highest mark that can be achieved? Wouldn’t you like to have LEED Platinum as the goal for all buildings in LO?

Members of the design review commission, be careful of what your actions might reap. Remember this project is setting the goals for the entire Lake Oswego downtown area. It sets an extreme high mark for future developers just to match the projected quality of this project and to which they will be compared. Anything much less will be so matched.

Please don’t delay the eventual Wizer project. My wife and I can barely wait to move back to our city — Lake Oswego.

Jim Crowell is a member of LOHS Class of 1956, transformational and innovator in construction and hopefully just a temporary resident of Wilsonville.

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