The vote by the city council of West Linn approving the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership application to construct a larger water facility and pipeline through the Robinwood neighborhood is likely to precipitate a voter rebellion most of our council richly deserve.  

The council’s rejection of the planning commission’s decision and rationale for denying the Robinwood project was wholly unjustifiable. Put simply, the planning commission found the proposed project to be of too little benefit to the people of West Linn.

The noise and dust, along with traffic congestion caused by construction requiring well over two years, with so many heavy construction vehicles going back and forth along narrow Willamette Drive, are sure to severely reduce customer access to stores in the Robinwood business district and some in the Bolton area also.

A number of small businesses in Robinwood, which opened on the heels of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market relied upon increased customer traffic attracted by Walmart to create additional traffic to their nearby stores. Those entrepreneurs were correct, as is easily observable by any visitor to the Robinwood shopping corridor. With the construction tying up traffic, however, a number of those new businesses are likely to suffer so much lost revenue that they meet an early demise. The same fate likely awaits some established Robinwood businesses that found it hard to survive the economic downturn that started in 2008.  

Then, of course, the LOT construction will likely reduce property values for both businesses and residences in the Robinwood and nearby Marylhurst and Bolton neighborhoods. Those property values may never to return to their previous levels. Regardless of any remonstrations they might make to the contrary, the LOT decision is clear evidence that most of our city council is anti-business, especially anti-small business.

City council approval of the LOTWP project should cause West Linn voters to ask whether their elected city leaders represent the interests of this city or those of Lake Oswego and Tigard.

Ray Taylor is a resident of West Linn.

Contract Publishing

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