In his Citizen's View article 'Durable qualities cost more' (June 21), Councilman Roger Hennagin says he '…feels compelled to respond to some of the misconceptions... (of Dr. John W. Thompson's June 7 article)... lest they become accepted as being accurate and embedded in people's minds.' The councilman obviously subscribes to a high standard of accuracy with the facts, especially those that concern the condition of City Hall.

Like Councilman Hennagin, I also read SERA Architects' January 2007 Lake Oswego City Hall Remediation Analysis Report. A City Hall conditions report was also submitted in 2001; and in 2005 the city was awarded a $250,000 FEMA grant which, together with city funds, could have been used for upgrading and making improvements. The grant was never accessed nor the 2001 report recommendations implemented. Therefore, the city's clarion call of urgency for repairing City Hall, let alone rushing to move kit and caboodle to Safeco, is insincere and definitely unsubstantiated.

Some of Councilman Hennagin's own remarks fall short of the standard to which he subscribes. I am concerned that some of his remarks, too, could become accepted as 'accurate and embedded in people's minds.' Some of Hennagin's mulligans follow.

He asserts that the '...electrical system is inadequate.' Yet in the report, PAE Consulting Engineers under Service and Distribution says: 'Load information from the utility (Portland General Electric) has been reviewed and no capacity problems were reported.' Moreover, under b. General Condition: 'The service switchboard is in good condition and parts are still readily available.' PGE has also performed some equipment fixes to remedy any equipment shutdowns during high electrical usage on the grid.

Councilman Hennagin says that 'the roof needs to be replaced.' Professional Roof Consultants presented to SERA a $5,400 interim fix option that could bridge a full replacement which is estimated to cost $191,500 to 210,000. Lake Oswego taxpayers are paying over $100,000 a month (loan interest plus monthly expenses) for the Council's purchase of the Safeco property, whose use they now describe as 'whatever.' Two months of Safeco-related debt payments would buy us a brand spanking new roof!

The other two condition issues relate to the seismic building code deficiency for essential functions (9-1-1 call center and police) and the fake stucco siding on the exterior walls which allow some moisture penetration at the window flashing. Those issues are addressed in KPFF, consulting engineers report to SERA on Page 4 under:

'Summary: The structural frame of this building is in good condition. The water intrusion at the exterior walls has had no effect on the structural frame. Generally, the lateral system of this building is inadequate to resist earthquake forces and would presumably perform poorly in a code level seismic event. The type of upgrade required would be based upon whether or not the police and/or 911 functions are still in the building.'

So, move the police and 911 essential functions out of City Hall to their own stand-alone building on property we already own. And move back in the Parks and Rec staff from Safeco to a newly vacated second floor of City Hall. Let's stop air conditioning an 89,000-square-foot building for 50-plus people and stop paying a huge water bill to irrigate several acres of landscaping, with utility costs of over $25,000 a month!

We have a bid of $2.3 million from Andersen Construction to build a new seismically correct 16,000-square-foot building for police and the 911 Call Center. Seismic codes for essential functions are being tweaked all the time, the last being in 2003. Essential functions should not be in the same building with other 'less essential' functions which don't need to comply with such stringent building/seismic codes. Portland and other cities keep their essential facility functions separate from City Hall in their own dedicated building, preferably a one-story structure. Lake Oswego should do the same.

John Surrett is spokesperson for Ask Lake Oswegans.

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