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His vision for downtown LO is different from mine

I am responding to Bruce Brown’s letter to the editor.

Mr. Brown, like myself, has a deep love and appreciation for Lake Oswego. However, Brown is a professional architect whose views on the Wizer redevelopment are vastly different from my own.

Mr. Brown writes that the proposed Wizer development “can still deliver the village feel we all cherish” while at the same time “providing a more urban lifestyle will help attract youth back to Lake Oswego.” However, a “village feel” is the opposite of an “urban lifestyle.”

Lake Oswego already has a wonderful energetic street life: concerts and movies in the park, the farmers market, outdoor cafes, parades, water ski shows, art festivals and pancake breakfasts. We have spent millions creating downtown Lake Oswego’s architectural and village centric brand.

Urban developments are commonplace all over the Portland area. What makes LO unique is its village-like atmosphere.

Brown referred to Lake Oswego as a “growing city.” Although LO is technically a city, most residents likely feel that they live in a thriving, quaint suburban town. Lake Oswego has created a distinct and unique village enclave character that would be undone by an urban vibe, youth culture and contemporary architecture. Oswego Lake should be downtown Lake Oswego’s focal point, not a large-scale, contemporary apartment complex.

The proposed design for the Wizer block is a contemporary apartment complex, which will not blend with surrounding buildings and neighborhoods. Residents are not asking for an exact replica of Lake Vew Village, but rather, simply ask the developers and architects to respect our town’s village-like character and scale and the attention to detail and sophistication that our existing structures evoke (such as the Lake Twin Cinemas, Sundaleaf Park, Lake View Village, Banner Bank, the re-inspired Second Street.).

All we have seen so far is the same contemporary mixed use apartment complex with traditional cosmetic trim — it doesn’t fool anyone.

Cramming hundreds of apartments into our downtown will not attract young people who generally prefer an active nightlife with clubs and bars. Lake Oswego is a family town where children return to raise their own families. Apartments bring temporary, short-term residents.

Condominiums, on the other hand, attract permanent residents with pride of ownership who have an enduring interest in community, like downsizing empty nesters and young professionals.

I agree with Mr. Brown this redevelopment project has huge potential and could be phenomenal. But we must look very carefully at the designs and intent of the proposed buildings to make absolutely certain they will integrate with and complement downtown Lake Oswego’s architecture, reflect our village-centric lifestyle and not undo everything we have done over the past decade to make our town the beautiful, charming, family-oriented community it is.

Carrie Price is a graduate of Lake Oswego High School (Class of 2002) and a Lake Oswego property owner. She lives in Los Angeles.

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