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Why we asked for a pause

Craig Dirksen is the mayor of Tigard, and Jack Hoffman is Lake Oswego’s mayor. The mayors submitted this letter for publication, which appeared in the May 24, 2012 issue

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Last week we asked the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership to hit the pause button on its land-use application before the West Linn Planning Commission. The partnership asked the commissioners to suspend the application for an expanded water treatment plant, and the request was granted.

We suggested this pause because, as elected mayors, we recognize there may be broader concerns than simply winning approval of an important public project. Real leadership often comes down to making sure we do the right thing, win or lose.

We believe the proposal to expand Lake Oswego’s existing water treatment plant, located in West Linn, will be approved. Still, nearly eight hours of public testimony and tough questioning before the Planning Commission convinced us we could do more to address the remaining legitimate concerns about our joint water project proposal. This was the right thing, and we are pleased commissioners agreed - with a 7-0 vote. Their action gives us the time we need to more completely demonstrate how the partnership’s efforts not only benefit the 100,000 citizens of the Lake Oswego/Tigard service area but also the citizens of West Linn.

We know the most vocal opponents may never be convinced of the merits of bringing more high-quality drinking water into our three cities. One of the first lessons a mayor learns is that issues must be decided based on the needs of the majority, not the wants of a vocal minority.

Our communities - West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tigard — are neighbors and regional partners. We may disagree at times, but we know that good will and shared values matter in all three of our cities. This has made our corner of the metro region one of the world’s most attractive places to live, work and play.

A brief pause in a public hearing seems a small price to pay to demonstrate we know how to use respect, reasoned argument, and yes, compromise, to meet our region’s most fundamental needs.




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