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Readers' Letters

Here’s an alternative idea for the Wizer plan

I’d like to address you about the proposition of tearing down the Wizer’s complex in downtown to construct apartment buildings.

I hear this idea and can only imagine a multistory modern building shadowing over the entire town. May I suggest an alternative: Build the building somewhere other than in the middle of downtown?

Kyle Rogers

Lake Oswego

‘Doomsayers, please remain calm’

Re: “Clock is ticking on global warming” letter to editor on Feb.6.

Michael Litt authored a “doom and gloom” letter about changing our carbon lifestyle or face world calamity. In a twist of irony, the paper arrived on Thursday in the midst of a normal winter snowstorm.

Mr. Litt and other doomsayers, please remain calm. All will end well. I speak from experience of surviving many ends of world scenarios: the Cold War, nuclear winter, MAD, a couple hurricanes, ’70s global cooling, “China Syndrome,” several pandemics, Y2K, Mayan 2012, nuclear testing, landing on the moon, denuding the Amazon forests, GMOs, peak oil, several asteroid near misses, the Kuwaiti oil fires and the recent government shutdown.

While Mr. Litt sees bad, I see opportunity. If, for example, the Arctic melts, then I expect great increases in commerce and cruises by the eight Arctic countries; saving time, money and resources. Further, look at all the newly opened farmland in the northern countries to feed people. I have faith in mankind surviving and flourishing whether during an ice age or climate change.

Just to be safe, I’m going outside to build a snowman before global warming prevents me from making one in the future.

John Bogdan

Lake Oswego

Renewable fuels aren’t ‘just about ethanol’

The recent commentary in the Lake Oswego Review (by Amy Thurmond) arguing against the renewable fuel standard (“Oregon’s engines, environment at risk because of U.S. ethanol policy,” Feb. 6) ignores the reality that the program isn’t just about ethanol. It is stimulating growth in a number of alternative fuels, including advanced biofuels like biodiesel.

The RFS was created by a bipartisan coalition in Congress that recognized it is paramount to America’s national security, economic and environmental interests to move away from a singular reliance on petroleum for our transportation fuel needs.

The first phase of the program was about corn ethanol — diversifying our gasoline pool with some 15 billion gallons of American-made biofuel.

The second phase, kicking in over the past few years and continuing until 2022, is aimed at boosting other alternatives. It has helped biodiesel — made in communities across the country from recycled cooking oil, animal fats and agricultural oils — grew from a niche fuel into a billion-gallon-per-year, commercial-scale industry.

And the RFS is working. We’re importing less oil than at any time since 1991. Independent analysis by economist Philip Verleger found the RFS has saved consumers as much as $2.6 billion in 2013 alone. And, yes, advanced biofuels like biodiesel are reducing carbon pollution by as much as 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel.

If we’re ever going to address greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, we have to start by diversifying away from fossil fuels. Let’s support a program that is helping us do just that.

Anne Steckel

Vice president, federal affairs

National Biodiesel Board

Jefferson City, Mo.

GMOs: A slowly unfolding train wreck

In last week’s letters to the editor, Larry Logan suggested that those who have grave concerns about the increasingly apparent unintended consequences of genetically modified (GM) crops are ignorant of the facts. Mark Lynas, a European scientist, was quoted: “It turns out that pesticide-resistant cotton and maize needed less insecticide.” That statement evades the concern with increased overall pesticide use for GM crops and follows a standard biotech industry talking point.

Evidence of a total increase in pesticide use with the GM (not too surprising since a major aspect of the “genetic modification” is to produce plants that could tolerate a higher amount of pesticides) was reported in “GMO Myths and Truths” (and noted): “Farmers applied 318 million more pounds of pesticides as a result of planting GM seeds over the first 13 years of commercial use. GM crop fields required over 28 percent more pounds of pesticides per acre than fields planted to non-GM varieties.” (Source: Organic Consumers Associates)

Worse, weed resistance is evolving in the U.S. and Europe where heavy use of herbicides that GM plants are created to withstand have been used, creating the “Farms Race” as reported by the Huntington Post, Oct. 18, 2012. Growers have been forced to use more Roundup and to increasingly use “a broader arsenal of other weed-killing chemicals” with greater potential for negative human health impacts.

“It has been a slowly unfolding train wreck,” (notes) Charles Benbrook, author of field-evidence studies on pesticide use with GM crops. Benbrook served for many years as the chief scientist for the Organic Center and is a professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.

Mother Nature votes last. No appeals.

Craig Stephens

Lake Oswego

Save Our Village thanks supporters

I would like to thank all of the citizens of Lake Oswego who stand with Save Our Village to preserve the beauty and unique characteristics of our picturesque town.

Because of your support, our voice has been heard. The majority of Lake Oswego residents, Evergreen Neighborhood Association, LONAC (in support of the Evergreen Neighborhood) and LOCAL have voted no on the proposal to turn the Wizer block into a massive five-story apartment complex in Oswego’s village square.

You understand the delicate balance between redevelopment and over-development, the need to redevelop Wizer’s and the duty to fight for Oswego’s integrity with responsible growth.

As the development review commission deliberates, we ask that you stay the course. We look to our government representatives to listen to their constituents, the residents and taxpayers of Lake Oswego, who have spoken in a clear voice. We will work hard and take all necessary and legal steps to preserve the “village” qualities of Lake Oswego. Our city will grow but we are firm in our resolution that Lake Oswego continues to grow as a unique picturesque small-scale community.

Lita Grigg

Founder, Save Our Village

Lake Oswego

New England? — no, this is Lake Oswego!

It’s slush now after the long-wanted great and beautiful snowfall. So much of the country was paralyzed over the last few weeks while many of us here in town wished for our own taste of snow. We sure got it.

We don’t venture up the mountain in winter, (so we) were pleased. Delight was in the eyes and smiles on the lips of all encountered in the First Addition’s walking district.

There was surprise in its early arrival, the cold east wind’s intensity and then the resurgence. It was just plain beautiful. It reminded me of the New England seacoast, where I spent a few winters in the Air Force.

Freezing rain changed our picture-perfect setting once again to the glistening ice-covered snow. Now with the melt, comes the plows and sanding trucks. We leave the beautiful behind. The deep slush in the roads topped by the dirty dark sand changes the pretty to “the mess,” another New England memory I had almost forgotten.

And a last reminder of snow country, the snowplow’s windrows blocking driveways and piling up high about cars parked on the street. It’s all part of the process of the snow cycle I had almost forgotten.

The grandchildren, my wife and her school district employee friends got their happy snow days, and I must say that I have loved it too. But now we wait for the mess of the melt to end. Life in the New England-like version of Lake Oswego was an experience that delighted most but now we wait for our town to return to its green and clean.

New England was a nice experience but I’ll take here anytime.

Bryan Daum

Lake Oswego

‘A unique opportunity ... to take a step into the future’

I am writing in support of the Block 137 development.

I believe these three buildings with their additional housing will improve the economic vitality of our downtown. The people living in the residences will help by shopping in the downtown. Residents of the development would not need to use their cars in the downtown area at all. The public walkway between the three buildings adds to the pedestrian feel of the area.

For the past several months the development team has shared designs, listened to community concerns and responded with modifications to move toward a project that will enhance the Wizer block.

This project seems so much better than a two- or three-story mega store with some of its parking on the street and retail filling this block. It sounds not only unattractive, all that retail shopping would cause more traffic problems in our downtown than housing will cause. This Block 137 project provides 30 percent more parking than the city requires and all of it hidden from view in underground lots.

The Block 137 project represents a unique opportunity for our town to take a step into the future with high quality materials and upscale green design.

Heather Chrisman

Lake Oswego

National award will be presented to the library

As one of the last events of this year’s Lake Oswego Reads, there will be a special presentation of a Literary Landmark plaque at the Lake Oswego Public Library.

This will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this short event honoring William Stafford and the Lake Oswego Public Library.

Last month, the Friends of Lake Oswego Public Library prepared an application to have William Stafford’s connection to the Lake Oswego library recognized with a Literary Landmark plaque. Our application was approved by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, and a permanent, metal plaque will be presented to the library on Feb. 25. The Friends of Lake Oswego Public Library are pleased to be able to present this national award to our Lake Oswego Public Library.

Terry Huber

President

Friends of Lake Oswego Public Library

Lake Oswego

Legislature needs to ‘dismantle barriers to workplace equality’

Recently the Oregon Council on Civil Rights released a pay inequality report finding what too many women and families already know to be true: Women are not receiving equal pay for equal work, and their economic security is suffering as a result.

The report, which was three years in the making, cites research by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that shows Oregon women working full time, year round, earn an average of 79 cents compared to what men earn. Oregon’s pay gap is not just an issue for women. With a record number of women in the workforce and four in 10 women serving as the primary or sole breadwinner for their families, it is essential that women bring home the pay they have rightfully earned.

As program vice president of AAUW of Oregon, I am proud of our efforts to advocate for legislation that would help to close the gender pay gap and allow workers to earn paid sick days (another barrier to equity identified by the council’s report). We have been collecting signatures in support of these issues for months, and we look forward to delivering the signatures to the Oregon Legislature at our legislative advocacy day on Feb. 21.

The Oregon Legislature commissioned this report from the Council on Civil Rights — now it’s time for them to implement the policy recommendations in order to dismantle barriers to workplace equality and protect the health of Oregon’s families and economy as a whole.

Mardy Stevens

AAUW of Oregon, program vice president

Gresham

Don’t support the Oregon Only CRC plan

I write to you as a concerned Oregonian with extensive knowledge of Vancouver and Clark County gained as an active member of the board of directors of the Fort Vancouver National Trust (FVNT).

As chair of the long-range planning committee, I helped FVNT respond to the Columbia River Crossing proposal, which included using eminent domain to take land away from both the National Park Service and city of Vancouver property.

The risks Oregonians face to pay for the Oregon Only plan invalidate the rationale advanced by project proponents. Will we collect toll revenues from Washingtonians determined to not support a bridge with light rail? Clark County voters twice defeated attempts by C-TRAN, the local transit agency, to fund light-rail costs.

Are Oregonians prepared to provide construction and operational funding for light rail in Washington? Mitigation for the land taking from FVNT and the National Park Services is required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. A “community connector” covering portion of Interstate 5 is part of the mitigation agreed upon within the current proposal. Are we prepared to build it?

It should be very clear that there is well-organized and politically strong opposition to the current CRC proposal. The Oregon Only plan makes a mockery of Washington’s sovereignty to determine its own transportation priorities. Oregonians would be just as opposed if the situation were reversed.

The risk versus reward ratio of the current CRC proposal is completely out of balance, imperiling the state of Oregon’s bonding capacity, general fund and transportation priorities for decades into the future. As a representative of the citizens of the state of Oregon, I ask that you refuse to support the Oregon Only CRC proposal.

Bing Sheldon

FAIA

Northwest Portland



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