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Wizer proposal creates a healthy mix

For a total of 40 years, I have loved living in Lake Oswego. With foresight, its people and its many city governments planned for its evolution from “gritty to pretty,” to use Lake Oswego author Marylou Colver’s words.

As I and my three walking partners walk our three-mile route every morning, we admire the careful thought that has gone into developing our town. But when we get to the town center and halt for coffee, I cannot help but notice how relatively few people are in the core. Certainly, the Tualatin-West Linn traffic is going past us, but I’m talking pedestrians walking, breakfasting and congregating in the center.

So it is with positive thoughts and a great deal of confidence in the decision of our city government that I view the proposed Wizer development and all it will add to the energy and productivity of Lake Oswego.

My architect father taught me an appreciation of design and also an understanding of the economics of taking a building from design to completion. It’s a laborious process and one that the developer and our city government is currently going through on the Wizer Block. I have watched the developer do due diligence and make the changes asked of him by the Development Review Commission.

I have seen some in the community point out their concerns and watched as the developer addressed them. Now I see a design that fits well with our LO “village” style and a design that meets all of the criteria set by our city government — residents, restaurants, shops and office space. But now the new plea from opponents is for a “compact shopping district” instead of residents, because they fear that residents in the core will cause too much traffic. That is a red herring and simply not true.

Most of our traffic is commuter traffic, much of it from outside our area, going straight through our town twice a day. The rest of the day it is cars with shoppers or diners coming into our town. The majority of residents of Block 137 will be coming and going to their homes either on foot or at non-commuter times.

The opponents of the redesign should understand that in all traffic studies, retail causes the highest number of daily car trips, commercial the next highest and residential the lowest. So if a four-block compact shopping district is what they want, then far more traffic is what they will get. Four blocks of retail needs people to feed it (Lake View Village is finding that out with some of its businesses closing for lack of customers).

People will need cars to satiate their shopping appetite. Do these opponents or our local governments really want a shopping mall in our core?

A “village” functions with a healthy mix of people, shops, restaurants, walkways and gathering places. I look forward to drinking my coffee with the residents of that block who won’t need their car to join me in our center. We should all look forward to Lake Oswego being praised again for another landmark development.

Maggie Martin is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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