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Block is no 'Fort Wizer'

The Wizer project is a huge permanent mistake.

Initially, my strong passion for redeveloping our downtown clouded my vision and I supported some version of the current plan. But as my vision cleared, I saw through the smoke and mirrors of the developer. The more one looks into this project, the more one dislikes it. It will ruin our downtown permanently. 

I voted for Mayor Kent Studebaker and the new council because they promised to preserve our village character as we grew and redeveloped our downtown.

Instead, this newly elected council propelled the proposed Wizer project to the Development Review Commission before the project was “even remotely compatible with our village character.” Developing the proposed project with its massive footprint would be a mistake far, far worse than the West End Building purchase. It certainly would be a legacy city council would not wish to own.

My friends call the Wizer proposal a fort: “Fort Wizer.” Throw in a moat and it’s a castle. King Studebaker and the councilors of the Round Table are protecting the castle ... while tilting at windmills. May your vision clear so that they may see this project for what it is: too massive, too dense, too tall and too residential. Sadly, it’s the wrong plan and architecture.   

I pray the DRC and council will have the clarity of vision when (they) review this proposal again. Our heart and soul of the city, our living room, needs to be done right. The developer can get a different investor mix and re-do his contracts, which is just part of doing business in this industry.

The core of our downtown four blocks should remain commercial and retail primarily, per the design plans adopted by council. The possibilities are endless for creative new beauty and function that gives pride to our city. Citizen support is essential for success when the city council borrows more than $5 million (LORA money) with up to 30 years of interest to aid a developer. We are paying for this loan. Lake Oswego will see no money from property tax increases until the city pays off this loan.

After all, this is our village, not the developers’ for the taking. The sum total of all our investments in our homes far exceeds this developer’s investment to date. 

I urge you all to write the council and planning department this week, as time is of the essence.

The majority of people are voicing their opinions and the city is noticing and listening to new voices. Email councildistribution@ci.oswego.or.us or planning@ci.oswego.or.us.

Kristen Eirvin is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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