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Wizer block needs a wiser plan

Our town looks forward to the redevelopment of Wizer’s. But, as a resident of the Evergreen neighborhood, I am writing to add my voice to the concerns of my Evergreen neighbors with the current proposal.

Due to design, density and traffic issues, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association voted against the current proposal. Our neighborhood is composed of 373 homes and townhouses. W&K Development will bring a large apartment complex of 228 units, increasing Evergreen’s density by 60 percent in one square block.

Traffic and parking are concerning issues. We already contend with all of farmers market Saturday spillover from lack of nearby parking availability. Street parking will become extremely difficult, especially on weekends and other days when there are events and activities taking place in downtown. The developers are offering only 137 public parking spaces. Lake View Village has 365 public parking spaces, which is currently insufficient.

I have looked at the design rendering and see little “tweaks” made by developers that have little resemblance to the Lake Oswego style. They have proposed large buildings that do not complement the designs in the cottage style of the Evergreen neighborhood. Most of Lake Oswego residents clearly love the renewal that has taken place in recent years. The developers continue to ask for exceptions and variances to have us believe their small changes are now village design.

Their modern, urban style will destroy the character of the small-town feel we love and have no desire to lose.

First we were told that one building would be condominiums. Now, all the buildings will be rental apartments. With their recent focus group they are recommending that most of the two- and three-bedroom units be reduced to studios and one-bedroom units. We have poured millions of renovation dollars into downtown in careful consideration to preserve, update and revitalize Lake Oswego, let’s not destroy it by building a massive complex of studios and one-bedroom apartments that will overwhelm our downtown.

Mayor Studebaker’s campaign pledge stated: Redevelopment, growth and zoning should preserve and enhance the character of Lake Oswego and none should damage the rights of citizens ... “ The city should not confuse wise development with increased density in our neighborhoods.” These words are the very reason Mayor Studebaker and other council members were elected. They need to keep their pledge. This belief is held firmly by Evergreen residents and most Lake Oswego citizens. We have chosen to live here because we are attracted to a smaller scale downtown.

Those of us opposed to the W&K Development proposal do not fear change. We fear overdevelopment in the name of revenue. We advocate for a quality of life one does not find in most urban cities today because their character has been destroyed by overzealous developers and planners. We do not wish to build our village with five-story buildings and a high-density apartment complex in the central core of Lake Oswego. I advocate with other Lake Oswego neighborhoods and citizens to preserve Lake Oswego’s character and move our beautiful city forward with a better plan for redevelopment that will enhance our city’s unique character.

Pete Davis is a resident of Lake Oswego and a board member of the Evergreen Neighborhood Association.



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