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Readers' Letters

Wizer appeal ‘disappointing’

As a neighbor of the Wizer Block, a member of the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and a Lake Oswego taxpayer, I am disappointed that city time and funds will now need to be spent to defend the decision of our elected officials.

After so many neighborhood meetings, public hearings and hours of testimony, our trusted elected officials made the decision we elected them to make. All parties had their say, made their cases and their voices were heard. The Council made the decision to approve the redevelopment of the Wizer Block by an overwhelming majority.

Appealing the Wizer decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals seems counterproductive and expensive. There are always additional legal steps that can be taken to block or delay legal decisions, but it is disappointing that those tactics are being used here in our village. I am sure that we could all find better uses of our limited city staff and budget than defending this legal appeal.

James Chandler

Lake Oswego

Ban oil shipments

Dear Gov. Kitzhaber,

I’m confident you’d prohibit your children from swallowing cocaine-filled balloons and smuggling them across borders. By the same reasoning, you should prohibit trains from carrying oil-filled tank cars through the main artery of our region, the Columbia River Gorge.

The comparison of oil to cocaine is apt: each is desirable, each is economically lucrative, each is addictive and each is toxic.

There are differences. Oil is harmful to all life, whereas cocaine is harmful to humans. And transportation and consumption of oil is legal, whereas transportation and consumption of cocaine is not.

Why is the more harmful substance legal when the other one isn’t? Because at some time, an elected official admitted that the hazards of cocaine exceeded the economic benefits, and he banned it.

In this era of declining salmon runs and rising global temperatures, the highly flammable Bakken oils from North Dakota present risks to the region and the planet that far exceed the rewards to any but oil’s distant owners.

Therefore, please, for the health of the Columbia, for the health of the people of the Northwest and for the health of Earth, ban all shipments of oil (and coal) through the Columbia River Gorge.

Peter Wright

Lake Oswego

Story left a bad taste

ScanFest sounds like lots of fun and the different foods described sound delicious (“How much pickled herring can you eat,” Dec. 4). However, with our constant awareness of “food insecurity” (read: hungry kids!), can’t we find a better way of celebrating than a contest where people gorge themselves to the point of nausea?

I would guess that lots of folks would like even just a taste of that herring and a couple of meatballs to relieve the monotony of below-poverty-level foodstuffs — yes, even here in Lake Oswego.

Sheri Cordova

Lake Oswego

Pleased with Wizer plan

The community of Lake Oswego is a beautiful place in which to live. We feel fortunate to reside within close proximity to the downtown area. The new Wizer Block development will be a welcome addition to our neighborhood that will enhance the village-like character of this placid community.

We have followed the review process from the beginning, listening to the various presentations and witnessing the incorporation of our fellow citizens’ ideas into the proposed project. We are pleased with what we see and believe that it will bring a fresh vitality to our village. Thanks to everyone involved, not least of which are our City Council members.

We believe the process was thorough and complete, and that our Council has justly represented all citizens’ points of view. We realize that not everyone is satisfied with the results, but we believe that our village will be an even brighter place to live once the proposed development has been completed.

Rick Van Wyngarden

Lake Oswego

We must fund education

The recent article regarding “shortfalls” in the governor’s budget proposal (“Kitzhaber proposal could leave LO schools with big budget gap,” Dec. 4) demonstrates a crisis we have brought upon ourselves.

While applauding the governor’s recognition that early childhood education is critical to children succeeding in K-12 and beyond, criticism is made that there are gaps for K-12 schools and higher education, resulting in even larger class sizes and more college debt if students are going to seek the education needed to get by in the future. How can our children compete in a world economy dominated by information, technology and education if our children do not have the educational resources available to children elsewhere?

During the last 30 years, Americans and Oregonians have pared back basic support for schools and other services in the name of “efficiency” and “tax savings.” However, there is no “free lunch.” Pre-school, appropriate K-12 class sizes with good teachers and decent college education require funding, and we cannot continue to think we get all of that education on the backs of students whose income opportunities are limited.

Revenues — taxes — must be raised to pay for these basic needs so that our children and our economy can compete. As a result of the stagnation of middle-class income, the middle class is now without the resources to fund these needs. Thus, those of us in the top 10 percent economically, who have reaped the economic benefits (and tax cuts) of the last 30 years, now need to pay our share and then we can all enjoy the future.

Robert Stoll

Portland

Election not a referendum on the Wizer Block

Writers Patricia Iron (“Defining my vote,” Dec. 4) and Gale Frank (“Wizer opponents are not going away,” Dec. 4) raise insightful points regarding the intent of Lake Oswego voters. Recent opinion letters in The Review suggesting that the recent City Council election supports an overwhelming vote in favor of the Wizer proposal are unfounded. People vote based on a myriad of reasons, which may include incumbency or name familiarity.

Statements that most citizens are happy with the Wizer proposal may be a concerted effort promoted by the developer’s public relations team, much like past emails crafted by a Portland PR firm to trump up “support” for the developer’s proposal. Lake Oswego citizens — including LONAC, the LOCAL survey, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and the Lake Oswego Review editorial board — overwhelmingly rejected the Wizer proposal. Objection was loud and clear.

Citizens do expect elected officials to follow through on the will of the people. When running for office, Mayor Kent Studebaker stated that he did not want citizens “worried about what government is doing to them.” Despite immense vocal and written public concern over traffic and parking, character, massing and lack of sufficient retail, the mayor and City Council (acting as the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency) pushed the project forward. Mayor Studebaker also stated at the August 2013 LORA hearing that “the approval or denial of the project proposal will be the responsibility of the DRC.”  Yet, the mayor and four Council members overturned the DRC’s twice-rejected Wizer proposal.

Sadly, not only has the decision by the mayor and four Councilors caused anger and division, many “thoughtful and intelligent citizens” are disillusioned. Council’s concern this year has been orderly and civil conduct. Perhaps had the majority of citizens felt heard, we would enjoy more harmony in our community. Perhaps if Council had upheld its appointed and qualified DRC, Mr. Kessi and Mr. Wizer would have been motivated to resubmit a scaled-down apartment complex with much more needed retail. Then citizens could have avoided appealing to the Land Use Board of Appeals.

Leslie Pirrotta

Lake Oswego

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