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Get the real facts on downtown plans

The recent ad for the Wizer block project encourages readers to get the facts at Build Our Village website. I would caution those who read those facts that many of them can be misleading.

• Property taxes. On an annual basis, the Block 137 development is expected to generate approximately $680,000 in property taxes. Fact: The increased property taxes will not benefit local taxing districts until the year 2030 at the earliest, possibly as late as 2044 (data from the city's website). Until then, the increased tax revenue goes toward paying off LORA debt, which will be increased by the $5.5 million that the city is paying for the Wizer project. • Construction excise tax. A one-time construction excise tax is estimated at a quarter of a million dollars, and will directly benefit the Lake Oswego School District.

Fact: This excise tax is not being paid by the developer. It is being paid by the city of Lake Oswego as part of the $5.5 million LORA debt. • Parking. Parking stalls will exceed city requirements by over 30 percent. Fact: Though accurate, this statement is misleading because it compares the developer's proposed number of parking stalls to the city's unrealistically low parking requirements. Using large deductions for the “ready availability” of downtown on-street parking, the city minimum for 228 residential units is a mere 237 parking places (1.04 parking stalls for each unit). And for retail parking, downtown deductions allow the city to reduce the required 196 spaces to only 108. Thus, the developer does technically exceed the city-defined minimum of 345 by more than 30 percent; however, the proposed parking will still provide fewer than 1.5 parking stalls for residents and their visitors and only 135 stalls for shoppers, diners and the 106-plus forecasted retail employees. • Traffic: The layout of the neighborhood street network limits traffic impacts on the Evergreen neighborhood. The Block 137 traffic ... can be expected to continue relying almost exclusively on First and Second streets and A and B avenues, not Evergreen neighborhood streets.

Fact: The developer has presented no factual information to support this claim. Unfortunately, the street layout of the neighborhood, particularly Evergreen Road, does not limit — but instead encourages — cut-through traffic.

• Community involvement: Evergreen Group and its architectural team have been involving the city and community in the Block 137 development since 2012, sharing designs, gathering input and modifying plans to ensure consistency with city code and an optimal solution for the site.

Fact: Evergreen Neighborhood Association has been given three presentations by the developer. At each, our overriding concern has been scale, density and traffic. The developer has changed some materials and design elements, but the scale and density have remained essentially unchanged. The consistent response to our concerns has been silence.

• Village character: The BOV website and newspaper ad show artist's renderings of select views which imply a village look. However, a study of the detailed architect's elevations give a distinctly different look. At four and five stories, the proposed buildings overwhelm the surrounding two- and three-story buildings, thus detracting from the village look we now enjoy.

I believe that all Evergreen residents want Gene Wizer to succeed in developing his property. We hope he and his partners will at some point see the benefit of incorporating our concerns into a project we can all support.

Carol Radich, Lake Oswego, is a board member and past chairwoman of Evergreen Neighborhood Association.


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