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Readers' Letters

Downtown plan would benefit the community

I have been following the conversations regarding the development of Block 137 and wanted to write in support of a developer who has presented a design that would benefit our community in so many ways.

I am so glad to see housing of this type being added to the downtown area. So many of us Oregonians want to live where we can walk to do our daily activities. Continuing to build large houses where two people live is not sustainable, practical or what is needed in the future.

I hope this development goes forward.

Jan Holibaugh

Lake Oswego

Waiting for ‘PLOPP’

Two years ago we heard about the streetcar — how great it would be for Lake Oswego. Fortunately, reason prevailed and the city council (decided not to pursue it). Then, last year we heard about the new library — how badly it was needed. Once again, reason prevailed, and “we, the people” voted that one down.

Now, we hear about the Wizer project, otherwise known as PLOPP (Proposed Lake Oswego Pearl Project). Seems like a good idea, right?

Let’s put more than 200 housing units, more than 400 people, 300 cars and 100 dogs — all in a two-block area. Good plan, right?

As I read the letters in the Lake Oswego Review, I have not kept track. However, it seems to me that those against outnumber those for at least 10 to one. (One remarkable argument in favor was “... because we have been wanting to do something for 10 years.” Now, that’s a really great reason to build this monstrosity.

This project definitely needs to be rethought. The Pearl District is great. We do not, however, need another Pearl in Lake Oswego. Not here, not now, not ever.

Syd Dorn

Lake Oswego business owner

Lake Oswego resident, 30 years 

LO ‘architecture remains largely underappreciated’

Oswego’s development in the 1920s and early 1930s gave our community a unique gift — a collection of residential designs by many of the best architects working in Oregon.

This circumstance was largely thanks to the vision of Paul C. Murphy. Murphy packaged the recreational potential of Oswego’s natural features along with the appeal of high-end real estate and sold it with the slogan: “Live Where You Play.” Murphy’s successful marketing strategy attracted wealthy Portlanders who desired and could afford the best. As evidence, palatial architect-designed homes were rising on the shores of Oswego Lake even at the height of the Great Depression.

Today, in Portland and elsewhere, homes by well-known architects command a premium price. In Lake Oswego, by contrast, many works by noted architects —Van Evera Bailey, John Yeon, Charles W. Ertz, Roscoe Hemenway, Morris H. Whitehouse, Richard Sundeleaf and more — have been demolished. The resulting debris has been transported to landfills without even pausing to salvage hand-hewn beams, woodcarvings, leaded glass windows or other handcrafted materials that would be difficult or prohibitively expensive to duplicate today.

The city of Lake Oswego has meticulously restored and interpreted a remnant of our industrial heritage, the 1866 iron furnace. We’re rightly proud of this award-winning accomplishment, however, our residential architecture remains largely underappreciated. The “perfect storm” that created our impressive architectural legacy is now threatened by a tornado of destruction.

There are many persuasive arguments eloquently made by economists, documentary filmmakers, historians, sustainability experts and others who passionately caution against discarding a unique and irreplaceable built heritage.

If this goal isn’t a value held by our community, we’ll continue to sacrifice our architectural legacy to backhoes and developers. Is this a price we truly want to pay? If not, please consider supporting the Lake Oswego Preservation Society’s efforts: lakeoswegopreservationsociety.org.

Marylou Colver

President, Lake Oswego Preservation Society

Lake Oswego

Hope council listens to those opposing high density

With regard to the proposed Wizer development, it would be great if the city council would abide by the majority view of Lake Oswego citizens, a view that opposes high-density living and increased congestion.

Certainly those who desire a high-density environment can move to downtown Portland or any large metropolitan area. I and others find it repugnant when government officials act in a paternal manner, dictating how we must change our living conditions to comply with their more “enlightened” view.

One of the great things about LO is its unique quality of life. Let’s not sacrifice that wonderful quality in a quest for increased development and greater tax revenues.

Bill Beard

Lake Oswego

‘Surely we can do better than this’

As a Lake Oswego resident for over 32 years, I have witnessed many changes in the city during that time. Lake Oswego is a nice, comfortable, well-designed city with the feel of a small town or village. Previous mayors, city council members and developers have worked together to achieve what we have today.

I know that we must continue to evolve as a city, and this involves development, but I believe that the current plan for the Wizer block is completely unsatisfactory. Why? Let me count the ways. 1) Five-story apartment complex, which is not a good fit for the neighborhood.

2) Greatly increased traffic in a city that is already experiencing increased congestion even before the development.

3) Parking problems, which will be exacerbated if the current project is approved.

4) A negative impact on the small-town, village-like feel we currently have.

Maintaining the livability of Lake Oswego while continuing to develop our resources is not an easy job. Increasing population density by adding an apartment complex of this size will only add more stress to the downtown area — more people, more cars, more congestion, more pollution — in short, reduced livability.

I urge the development review commission and city council to reconsider the plan and come up with a more appropriate one. Please take the longer-term view of the impact that the current project will have on the quality of life instead of the shorter-term view of merely adding more population density. Bigger is not always better, and that is certainly true in this case. A scaled-down project would be a better fit and more likely to win approval from the citizens of Lake Oswego. 

Surely we can do better than this. It only takes one such misguided development to ruin what we have.

Greg Nelson

Lake Oswego

Wizer block plans present ‘a great opportunity’

We have been residents of Lake Oswego for more than 40 years and have seen many terrific enhancements to our city.

The Wizer Block 137 has been reviewed for development for many years and ran into problems with the economy, economics of a large project and feasibility for a development compatible with downtown Lake Oswego.

It seems to us that we now have a great opportunity to provide needed upscale residential housing and a limited amount of new retail (28,000 square feet — which is less than the 70,000 square feet currently in Block 137) that will greatly enhance the village, provide new retail and restaurants and with 457 underground parking spaces. The proposed project seems to conform to city codes on height and parking requirements. The new residential housing will only add great value to the retailers and restaurants in the neighborhood.

We feel that we have an opportunity to build our downtown area and any effort to severely downsize the development could hamper the developer in moving forward. Do we really want a remodeled Wizer property with limited tax revenues and a building not compatible with the structures in Block 138 and 136? We don’t think so.

Let’s move forward and get the project underway!

John Eskildsen

Lake Oswego

Planning commission acted correctly on the WEB

The Lake Oswego Planning Commission was correct to reject the zoning change for the West End Building.

It is the public’s right to know what will happen on that parcel and the purchaser not saying what the plans for the property are just leads us to think that the use will not be acceptable to the community.

The city council should not overturn the planning commission’s proper decision.

Gerald Good

Lake Oswego

Things to observe during your holiday visit with loved ones

The holiday season is a special time of year. Families get together to create happy memories. Frequently, these hopes are disappointed and concerns are raised when families experience noticeable changes in their family members.

Especially challenging for the aging family member. Statistically it has been shown that the recognition of mild impairment by the family is often overlooked or disregarded for up to five years.

For that purpose we have noted a few guidelines that might be helpful for all family members.

Memory lapses — forgetting important names or events —loss of ability to follow and track in conversations. Repeating things said without remembering that the question or story has already been asked or told.

Spouses “covering for each other” — one spouse compensating for the diminished capacity of the other — finishing sentences, answering questions asked of the other.

Medications not being taken correctly and on time. The importance of taking medications as prescribed cannot be emphasized enough; 68 percent of hospital admissions for the elderly are the result of medication mismanagement.

Withdrawing from social interaction, in particular large family gatherings as these are felt to be overwhelming or overstimulating for the senior with some dementia.

If you observe such changes in elder relatives during your holiday family functions and are concerned for the well-being of your parents or senior loved ones do not discount these changes or wait until your relatives come to serious harm. We find that too often others don’t wish to interfere or raise concerns. It is a kindness to be involved.

It is our hope that these tips might be useful for you in the support and care of your loved one.

Nancy Raske

NW Senior Resources Inc.

Block 137 design ‘does not fit’

We are writing in response to the Oct. 14 (citzen’s view) in the Lake Oswego Review, titled, “Wizer block: Stack ‘em and pack ‘em” by Tana Haynes. This citizen’s view is addressing the development of the Wizer Block 137.

We want you to know that we totally agree with Tana (and many others) and, as she recommends, we are joining the growing majority to stop “Portlandization” here in LO. The possible development of a five-story apartment complex and all it entails, does not fit with the beautiful village feel of our downtown area. The parking problem alone, should give cause for concern.

I cannot imagine looking up at balconies full of plastic deck furniture, barbecues, bicycles, etc., while trying to enjoy a lovely dinner or walk near the lake.

The citizens of Lake Oswego expect and hope that the appropriate boards, commissions and councils will adhere to the approved design code, which focused on mixtures of retail space, restaurants, boutiques and only 30-70 rental units. This is a design that LO citizens are looking for and that will fit into the character of our city.

Mike and Dotty Holm

Lake Oswego

Reader skeptical that trade sanctions will be effective

Mr. Obama has been traveling about the country promoting immigration reform as a diversion from the wreckage that is Obamacare. With Obamacare as an example, does anyone imagine that a vast bureaucracy will ever be developed to track the millions of undocumented folks already here who want permanent residency? The complicated steps set forth for them would not possible be enforced. Further, can you imagine that the border will ever be under control?

Now Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have made a deal with the Iranian ayatollahs to ease the trade sanctions that were imposed on Iran to impede their development of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Kerry says that Iran will “dispose” of its quantity of 20 percent enriched uranium. Actually it will keep the uranium but chemically render it harmless. The process is easily reversed to restore the uranium to its original state.

We will get some access for inspections of their facilities. We won’t get release of Americans being held prisoner. Also we won’t get removal of Iranian fighters and weapons from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq who are killing American soldiers.

Israel and Saudi Arabia, just to mention two allies, are extremely skeptical that Iran’s weapons development will be substantially affected. If this were a proposed treaty the Senate would be unlikely to ratify it. Too many senators, including Democrats, are suspicious of Iran’s trustworthiness. Their threat to demolish Israel still stands. Iran is keeping its enrichment program and equipment.

Why is Mr. Obama so eager for a weak agreement with them? Other countries including France are warning this is a bad deal. Once the sanctions are weakened reimposing them will be unlikely.

George E. Edens

Lake Oswego

Electric vehicles use lithium ion batteries for power

In responding to a previous letter in the Review that indicated that electric vehicles cost less to own and operate, letter writer Andrew Weisenberger suggests that “the PC green movement” keeps “secret” ... “the heavy metals needed to make batteries and the toxic nature of mining, refining and storing the toxic metals ...” used for electric vehicle batteries such as those for the Nissan Leaf.

The fact is that electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries for power and the “heavy metal” lead-acid battery used for interior power in the Nissan Leaf is the same type of battery that Mr. Weisenberger has in his vehicle. Fortunately, the “PC green movement” and economic commonsense has ensured that the lead in these batteries is recycled to well (above) the 90 percent level so that mining and refining costs and toxic impacts are minimized.

The attraction to buyers of electric and hybrid vehicles is not only the high reliability and reduced gasoline consumption in favor of electric power (particularly in oil-poor areas such as Oregon and Norway where Teslas are selling well) but also the design which provides aerodynamically favorable low-drag coefficient (0.28 or less compared to 0.4 for a slab-front and rear SUV) and high starting torque for excellent performance and efficiency. The era of buying vehicles designed to simply appeal to the “reptilian brain” rather than innovative design (and one is reminded of Walter Chrysler and his “Air Flow” design many decades ago, a genius ahead of his time) is over for all but a few.

Craig Stephens

Lake Oswego

Rosemont Trail opens up hamlet beauty

Have you walked the Rosemont Trail? Residents of the Stafford Hamlet, Lake Oswego and West Linn now have safe pedestrian access between the three areas along Rosemont Road.

It is easy to appreciate the scenic beauty of the hamlet on the trail. As one of four homeowners who gifted an easement across our property, I revel in the access my family and I now have to the greater community. I also love to see my neighbors leaving the city limits and enjoying the countryside I feel blessed to call home.

As a member of the Stafford Hamlet Trails Committee, we would like to explore creating a network of trails within the Stafford Hamlet. Now is the time to capture and document the opportunities and vision for connecting our neighborhood.

We invite all who wish to contribute their thoughts to join us.

Thane Eddington

West Linn

Eating right

I’m sitting in front of New Seasons Market

Consuming a whole-grain muffin

Made for the health-minded

By the Steep Sheep Bakery

In Oxnard, California.

A sticky ingredient label includes

“Phosphates and turbinate sugar”

Which grow in abundance, I assume,

In the fields around Oxnard.

James Fleming

Lake Oswego

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