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Just say 'no' to theWizer Block proposal

I want to express a great concern for the development of the Wizer property, as well as for the decision-makers for the City of Lake Oswego. While I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of the developers’ plan for the Wizer property, I feel obligated to express the following. I am a former elected Tualatin Valley Water District commissioner.

A friend of mine was once a co-owner of the condominiums west of Millennium Plaza Park. Years ago, the structures began to sink several inches and caused great damage to the walls and ceilings, showing cracks, and he was sued for millions of dollars.

The Wizer developer has not done his homework. His structure would be dramatically heavier and deeper than those condominiums, and they plan to dig far below the water line. When I was watching the Development Review Commission hearing on TV, one commissioner — who is an engineer — raised serious questions about water-table issues from the project’s geotechnical reports on water, because the proposed parking lot is more than 15 feet deeper than the July water-table level. The developer’s representative would not give the DRC commissioner a straight answer.

Additionally, vibration damage from construction to all of the adjacent structures and buildings on fill could cause liquefaction underneath them. The DRC has an ethical responsibility to do no harm to surrounding development as it studies new projects. There is a very real risk of lawsuit to the city and developer.

I regularly get stuck in traffic on A Avenue going east to get onto Highway 43. With all of the 207 residential units being proposed by the developer, I will have to reroute, as will hundreds of other drivers, and instead go east on B or C avenues or cut through Northshore Road to reach Highway 43 during traffic hours.

The DRC got it right to vote this project down based on too large a scale of buildings. The two DRC architects who denied this project were right to ask for smaller-scale buildings to adhere to village style. The developer will return with less-massive buildings and a true shopping district if the DRC holds its ground. Bravo, Commissioner Kelly Melendez, for maintaining conviction.

To Mayor Kent Studebaker, I say:

n A vote to allow this massive, high-density apartment building will tarnish your legacy, just as the West End Building and water project tarnish the legacy of your predecessors. Let your legacy be one of preserving our village character, not one of having sold it out.

n Be a Hero. Be a leader. Support the DRC’s expertise and deny this project on appeal, so that it can be done again under your leadership. Let this be your legacy.

What citizens should do:

n I encourage all citizens to pack City Hall in September, when the developer appeals to the City Council. Be in the room during the appeal, and show which side you are on. Showing up makes all the difference.

n Consider testifying from your heart. Hold the council accountable to village character, or forever hold your peace and risk losing your unique downtown destination point to high density.

Marie Haynes is a part-time resident of Lake Oswego.

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