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Development must preserve the picturesque qualities of our renown city

I am responding to a writer who suggested that we cannot stop progress so we must accept the proposal for a massive apartment complex on one of our most prominent blocks in downtown Lake Oswego, the Wizer property.

Those of us who oppose the current proposal for a 228-apartment complex on our town square are not “stopping progress.” We look forward to future redevelopment in Lake Oswego with the highest-quality buildings that also preserve the picturesque qualities of our renown city.

If we “grab the opportunity” to redevelop Wizer’s with the current W&K proposal, we risk passing along to our grandchildren a nondescript, overdeveloped Lake Oswego, someday void of the pleasing characteristics that has earned Lake Oswego recognition and awards.

It is possible and important to preserve the charm of Lake Oswego for generation after generation if residents continue to insist that our city representatives honor our well-thought out building codes.

Desirable cities around the world have preserved their unique qualities for generations. The vast majority of Lake Oswego residents who have written to the city or to the Review, the majority of respondents to a LOCAL survey, Evergreen Neighborhood Association and LONAC have, over and over, reiterated that we favor redevelopment as long as it preserves the beauty and aesthetics of our city of which we are so very proud.

The current proposal by W&K Development is a five-story apartment complex that by its mass, scale and design does not complement downtown, Lake View Village or the Oswego Village Townhomes. The LEED-certified building provides no public green space, outdoor gathering venue or enhancements to benefit Lake Oswego residents.

What it does do, is put 300 to 400 renters and pets into Millennium Plaza Park as the unofficial backyard for the apartments creating challenges for more than 50 community events and our daily enjoyment of downtown gatherings. It will add traffic headaches and parking hassles, especially on market and event days.

The size of the apartment complex — more than 300,000 square feet and three times the size of Lake View Village — overwhelms all downtown buildings. The Wizer block is part of Lake Oswego’s “compact shopping district.” It was never intended to become a housing complex with only 10 percent retail, thus it is not a mixed-use building as our code intended. This pivotal block borders our “town square,” Millennium Plaza Park, and deserves an esteemed building that enhances our city, not three large apartment buildings.

Many proponents of the Wizer apartments have been residents of Portland and neighboring towns. It is no surprise that many people would love to live in our beautiful city with our wonderful sense of community. We welcome new neighbors and those who are natives of Lake Oswego living in other cities. But, we are committed to preserving the distinguishing characteristics that has created one of Oregon and America’s most acclaimed and beautiful cities. We will not jump at any chance to redevelop our downtown unless the proposed redevelopment preserves the picturesque qualities of Lake Oswego.

Leslie Pirrotta, Lake Oswego, is a member of Save Our Village.




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