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Readers' Letters

Rats are becoming significant problem in LO

The following letter is an open letter to the city of Lake Oswego:

We have a rat infestation in Lake Oswego — not one person, one home, one rat. Rather it’s many persons, many homes, many rats. How do we (Lake Oswego) get rid of it? 

It’s the hush, hush secret that’s become very evident, public indeed. This goes beyond one person’s rat-be-gone effort. The nature of rat habits from house to house make extermination on an individual basis nearly impossible and unnecessarily expensive to boot.

How do I know the problem exists?

1) In the early morn, my beagle searched every sniffable track.

2) Others in the community indicate they have raptors in their backyard waiting for rat prey or being seen gorging on their rat fare.

3) Rain-soaked rat remains strew the street.

Ann Lackey

Lake Oswego

‘Keep Lake Oswego quaint and picturesque’

What a shame to ruin our community, business and home(s) around this area by approving such a terrible design project.

I am in complete opposition to this Wizer redevelopment as proposed. Most people like the idea of redevelopment and improvement, but many are not aware or have not been informed of what is possibly going to take place.

I am in disbelief that our city would let such a monster in. Some huge, ugly, concrete jungle full of renters with little mom-and-pop shops below, creating a dark, ominous and looming environment. Are you really willing to welcome more noise and pollution with traffic and parking problems?

We have an ordinance for three stories for a reason, keep Lake Oswego quaint and picturesque as it has always been.

Carey Dienhart

Lake Oswego

Monica Wehby is the right candidate

I read of an attendee at a recent Sen. Jeff Merkley town hall meeting complaining of “no chance to ask the hard questions.” I had a similar experience during congressional debate of the Affordable Care Act. We were told questions must be submitted in advance and we would be informed if ours had been selected.

We sat next to a mother and her young son. Asked if the lad submitted a question, he said yes and will ask Merkley if he supported the ACA. Moments later two adults appearing to be Merkley staff took the youngster away for 10 minutes. Merkley then appeared and after introductions and brief commentary the question session began. The boy was called first and his question was not the ACA topic he declared earlier.

I understand a certain amount of “political handling” occurs. But this was wrong, leaving me outraged by the experience. This behavior supports polling data reflecting severe disapproval of Congress by the American people.

We need a senator who is not interested in becoming a career politician but a person with a desire to make a contribution for the sake of meaningful change. Does such a candidate exist? We think so in Monica Wehby.

Ridge Taylor

Lake Oswego

Rethink Wizer block

I am a resident in the First Addition of Lake Oswego and would like to go on record that I strongly oppose the five-story structure to be built on the Wizer block. It is good that new buildings will be erected in that space, however, could they be two or three stories?

The village concept of Lake Oswego is wonderful and I have loved living here for 14 years watching all the great changes that have occurred in the city. The Lake View Village buildings are two stories and I feel that the five-story Wizer block buildings will overpower the area and we will lose the village atmosphere. 

All the businesses on First Street across from the Wizer block will not have sunshine all afternoon and I feel this will really impact Zeppo with their outdoor seating. 

Regarding the high-density apartments, I can only imagine how the extra people and vehicles will affect the area. I live on First Street between C and D and am very concerned about this. Another thing that will affect our beautiful Millennium park is the additional dogs that will live with their owners in these apartments. I understand there is a dog grassy area in the compound, however, you know they will walk them in the park and not pick up after them.

At this point I don’t know if anything can be done about this project. It seems that the city of Lake Oswego went ahead with this project without any town meetings. At least none that I have been aware of.

I have requested the yellow yard signs that say SaveRVillage which have just been delivered and placed in my front yard and my neighbor’s.

Candy Smith

Lake Oswego

‘Let’s be honest here’ — is this ‘our only alternative?’

I am writing in response to Mr. Crowell and a few well-intended folks who have signed up to move into the proposed Wizer Block 137 apartment complex.

Lake Oswego residents enthusiastically welcome LEED-certified buildings. Unfortunately, Wizer’s developer has proposed an apartment complex that does not meet the village character standards of Lake Oswego’s community development code requiring “small-scale structures” of two and three stories. We should not accept a project that does not meet code, is not complementary in design with existing downtown buildings, lacks green space and that, by nature of its mass, scale and design, would create its own eyesore in the middle of our First Addition and Evergreen neighborhoods.

Let’s be honest here. Is our only alternative a “non-environmentally friendly plain Jane box?” Lake View Village occupies the same space as the Wizer block and can hardly be called a plain box.  The Banner Bank building, one of our newest redeveloped buildings, is hardly a “cement block-appearing rectangular structure” suggested as the only alternative. We will have lots of options within code. The W&K buildings would fit well in a large urban city environment like the Pearl. But they do not meet the community code standards we established years ago for Lake Oswego.

Now that Wizer’s is closed and ready for redevelopment, other developers will step forward with a complementary redevelopment that will become a beautiful architectural addition to the heart of downtown. It is the duty of the design review commission to follow the community development codes to enhance the beauty of Lake Oswego. The property owned by the city on Second and B would make an excellent alternative redevelopment site for an apartment complex. We have many options and expect that our city will make the choices that are best for all of our citizens.

Philip Pirrotta

Lake Oswego

Street-level renderings might help answer questions

There are many varied and strong opinions about the proposed development of the Wizer block.

I have seen the beautiful drawings of the anticipated appearance but still wonder what the real street view will be. What I would like to see are street level photographs of the current buildings on this block and the adjacent blocks from various points that accurately reflect what a person will be seeing with the artist renderings superimposed.

This would help answer my questions of whether this will be a visual asset to our community or a complex that overwhelms the area.

Twylla Smith

Lake Oswego

Plan ‘works against the vast improvements’ city has made

I moved to Lake Oswego seven years ago after visiting for many years. After seeing how well the Lake View Village and Millennium Plaza Park developments turned out, making the decision to call Lake Oswego home was easy. 

It is therefore surprising and disappointing to see that the Wizer redevelopment plan is not only five stories tall and of modern design, but has more than 200 apartments. To me, the height, style and scale of this project are not in keeping with the village-style character of this community. I believe it will have a negative impact on traffic, congestion, parking and general enjoyment of our downtown.

I am in favor of quality redevelopment and progress, but I feel this plan works against the vast improvements the city has accomplished over the last decade. Perhaps another location such as the WEB would be a better site for a project of this nature. I would much prefer a mixed-use project with less density and condominiums over apartments for this pivotal location to the quality of living for all Lake Oswegans.

Katie Williams

Lake Oswego

Would Belluschi be hired if he offered Wizer plans?

I grew up in a neighborhood of tract houses. Our house was spacious and well built on an attractive lot, but there was little variation between the architectural style of one house to the next and there were only four or five floor plans in the entire development.

Although I remember our house fondly, that experience made me interested in living in a neighborhood where houses were different from one another in style and even age.

I now live in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lake Oswego and one that reflects that architectural and age diversity. As I was reading last week yet another column about Saving Our Village I was struck by a couple of comments. One indicated the writer’s opposition to “modernistic and unauthentic designs” and that the Lake Oswego “style” is arts and crafts, Oregon Rustic and Tudor. Also, the W&K Development style is apparently “modern block style” and they are known for modern design. Equally damning to this writer is that they are Portland-based architects.

Hmm, this got me to thinking about my own house. It doesn’t look like any other in my neighborhood; it looks like few in the whole city of Lake Oswego. It is a modernistic “block style.” It even has a couple of glass block walls. It was built by a prominent Portland architect. You know, the funny thing is that I receive many compliments on my house design and my neighbors seem to like it even as it is very different from theirs.

Oh, and one more thing. My house was on the Historic Home Tour last year, which celebrates interesting, well-designed and preserved homes from earlier eras. It was built by Bill Fletcher, who along with Saul Zaik, John Storrs, Pietro Belluschi developed the Northwest Regional style of the 1950s and 60s. It is now 55 years old and is aging gracefully.

So maybe we have room for some different architectural designs in our city. (I personally love the new Zupan’s center in Lake Grove.) And I ask you, if Peitro Belluschi offered his design for the Wizer’s property, would he be hired?

Susan Miller

Lake Oswego

Some ‘would just as soon put gates at the city limits’

I’m a bit confused and extremely frustrated with the tired and overused density card played every time there is discussion of development in Lake Oswego.

The latest, of course, is the Wizer block development. Too much density was also the flag raised during the Foothills development discussions, the Lake View Village and seemingly every time there is a proposed development.

Years ago I applauded the original discussion of density when it related to our neighborhoods but these aren’t our residential neighborhoods. The Wizer block and Foothills are the precise places where increased density should go. They are places that actually could have better access to amenities than many of our neighborhoods. They have grocery stores, retail, transit centers, recreation, entertainment and restaurants. Why would we not want our need for increased housing be located there?

I’m not sure of the answer but I could guess fear of change, a fear of something new. I suspect some people would just as soon put gates at the city limits rather than welcome signs. It seems this continuing density argument is a smokescreen for something else — no more people.

And finally, we don’t live on quarter-acre plots of land any more. We’re not a village when McMansions and three-story 4,000-square-foot houses are more common than bungalows. We’re not a village any more when planning and DRC hear requests for residential zero lot lines and setbacks.

Let’s say “yes” to density in the exact location our city’s comprehensive and downtown plans have specified and where every successful community in America is focused.

Richard Reamer

Lake Oswego

‘I think we should strive for something better’

When I first heard about the Wizer block proposal, I assumed the developer would eventually propose buildings that were similar to the scale of Lake View Village. I became concerned when I realized he was going for the max. Mr. Kessi wants this block to be the tallest and biggest around. He wants more than city code allows. And he doesn’t appear to care how this will affect his neighbors.

Even the proponents of this project say they’d prefer something smaller, but fear the consequences if the Kessi proposal fails: “If we don’t approve this, we’ll get something worse.”

I think we should strive for something better: a development that complements and improves our downtown — not this current proposal that will overwhelm its neighbors and possibly ruin Lake View Village and the plaza.

Diana Boom

Lake Oswego

Secretary of the Evergreen Neighborhood Association



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