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Water project is a 'lose-lose-lose deal' for all

On Jan. 14-15, the West Linn City Council would be wise to consider the new political climate in Lake Oswego. Those in West Linn opposed to the Lake Oswego-Tigard project are labeled a small noisy group.

If seven neighborhood associations, the West Linn Riverfront Association, the West Linn Planning Commission, coupled with over 1,000 signatures on a petition is a small noisy group, then yes, we are a small noisy group.

But set aside the groups in West Linn and focus on another a group to the north called the new Lake Oswego City Council.

Slowly but surely people in Lake Oswego are connecting the dots and realizing this Titanic of a project is a lose-lose-lose deal for the citizens in Oswego, Tigard and West Linn. Fact is, there are lots of small noisy groups opposed to this project. 

People in West Linn totally understand Oswego’s need to update their water system. West Linn has similar issues. Eventually, whatever project is done will no doubt benefit the communities involved. But this proposal is not the best answer.

We have always been willing to work through issues amicably in our neighborhood. With respect and good faith we are confident we can create a win-win for all.

The Carollo Report was a feasibility study done by the partnership in 2007. Today, Oswego’s average water use is 6 million gallons per day with a capacity of 16 MGD. According to this report, the average daily water consumption has been reduced by 36 percent due to a successful conservation effort by the citizens of Oswego. Nicely done.

However, even with a build-out into the Stafford area, Oswego should not ever need the capacity. A lot of things have been said. But no one’s water rights are at stake. No one will be without water, ever.

Tigard has multiple options for water besides the Clackamas River. West Linn should know this project and the benefits offered by Oswego will not fix all our water problems. In fact, some fixes are temporary at best.

Lake Oswego’s new political climate will not allow the Titanic to leave the dock. All cities have better options that will cost less and create a far better long-term solution for everyone.

The smart play is to listen to the new politics being broadcasted from Oswego. They are quick to point out their water rates have jumped 30 percent, do not want to continue with this partnership with Tigard and, no matter what happens in West Linn, this project will not be done because it is way too expensive.

By upholding the West Linn Planning Commission’s decision, the West Linn City Council would be making the best decision for the citizens of Oswego, Tigard and West Linn. People from all three cities can rethink their needs.

Once the more efficient and less expensive alternatives are evaluated, we, as regional partners, can come to an amicable decision that is a win-win-win. No doubt the same benefits offered today will exist for all three communities.

There are far better options available to all three cities. With that, we can all be “good neighbors.”

David J. Froode is the managing partner of STOP LLC (westlinnfirst.com) and a resident of West Linn.




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