Making changes to our city has always been slow and filled with years of open, transparent public process. Changing course through thoughtful and inclusive public discourse provides citizens, residents and businesses with the security of knowing that code, rules and regulations won’t change without an opportunity for all voices to be heard by the decision makers.

It is alarming that the newly elected city council voted to overturn the Foothills Urban Renewal Plan in one meeting. The plan that the new council overturned so quickly is the result of decades of work, involving hundreds of Lake Oswego citizens who worked together to come to an agreement on a plan that would make Lake Oswego thrive. The citizens who worked on the Foothills Plan include business owners, representatives from the Lake Oswego School District, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and Old Town Neighborhood Association among others.

Former city councilors and members of advisory committees have required months, if not years, to familiarize themselves with the consequences, the ramifications and the nuances of urban renewal financing. It is concerning that our new council considers itself to be sufficiently knowledgeable to take such drastic action within a month of taking office.

Before overturning a decision that was preceded by lengthy public process including advisory committee recommendations, the council should have at least allowed those citizen members of the advisory board(s) a full work session with the council during which they could have explained their reasoning and answered questions.

Adding this public process step before a public hearing would have allowed a conversation between the council and the members of the public who have served in an advisory capacity and represent an important point of view.

The city’s tradition of thorough, inclusive and transparent public processes has created the vibrant, charming community that we all love. The city council needs to ensure that all voices have the opportunity to be heard and that past civic participation is not erased, particularly if they have beliefs different than yours.

Curt Finch, Lake Oswego city councilor, eight years

Heather Chrisman, Lake Oswego city councilor, eight years

Emogene Waggoner, Lake Oswego city councilor, eight years

Ellie McPeak, Lake Oswego city councilor, nine years

Roger Hennagin, Lake Oswego city councilor, four years

Bill Tierney, Lake Oswego city councilor, four years

Sally Moncrieff, Lake Oswego city councilor, four years

Jack Hoffman, Lake Oswego mayor, four years and Lake Oswego city councilor, eight years

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