DRC got it right
I was impressed to hear that the Development Review Commission recently concluded that the proposal for the Wizer Block did not meet the citys building code or the vision planned for downtown Lake Oswego and turned it down.
The developer has fought hard to locate his development in the Wizer Block. He has hired lawyers and political consultants to convince the city that the development belongs on the Wizer Block. But I, like so many others, feel that the proposed development has too massive a footprint for the site. Shoehorning approximately 414 people and 414 cars (two for each of the 207 apartments) and 102 dogs (one for every four apartments) into the relatively small area of the Wizer Block would strain the resources in the downtown area, change its unique character and violate building codes.
So I feel the DRC rightly concluded that the scale of the proposed development did not meet the character of small-scale structures in Lake Oswegos downtown district and that the three proposed buildings are too large to meet city codes. The DRC joined several local organizations and the Evergreen and Hallian neighborhood associations, who have all voted against the project.
The next step is a meeting of the City Council, where they will weigh in on the proposed development. When they look at the facts, I hope they, too, will conclude that the proposed development should not be located in the Wizer Block and, in doing so, they will help leave a legacy that allows Lake Oswegos core to retain its unique character and heart.
Keep your head
The 1967 classic Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman, begins when an intoxicated Luke is sent to a Florida chain gang for cutting the heads off downtown parking meters. When the judge asks him why, he replies, It seemed like a good idea at the time. He gets the name Cool Hand after winning a poker game by bluffing with nothing in his hand.
A City Council vote to approve the current proposal for the Wizer Block despite the Development Review Commissions rejection may seem like a good idea at the time. but it is a bluff by the developer. The rejected plan is about maximum profit, not about maximum city character. Since this project violates the Urban Design Plan, which is code, the council should deny this project and plan for the future.
The vision of downtown Lake Oswego as a destination spot should include small-scale village structures filled with shopping and dining and next to adequate parking. Denser housing can be made available in our community outside the compact shopping district. The proposed Wizer plan rejected by the DRC reduces current retail space by 50 percent and adds to traffic congestion with a large residential apartment complex in three large buildings. The rejected plan cuts off the heads of our downtown parking meters.
Elections are coming up. After the judge sent Luke to the Florida chain gang, he faired poorly in the end. The vote of this council will dramatically sway voters. Council: Take some time. Sit back. Think this through. Is the rejected plan what is really best for our city? Is it a good idea at this time?
The rejected plan is a bad idea. Reject it. Keep the heads on our meters.
Thanks, LOHS runners!
Special thanks to the 60 cross country runners from Lake Oswego High School who donated their community hours to Springbrook Park on Aug 26. In two hours, they moved over 10 cubic yards of gravel to create a base for 0.2 mile of a new trail. These students had cut this new trail in the spring to connect the north end of Springbrook Park to Country Club Road.
As their scheduled time ran out, they continued until all the gravel was moved and raked into place. Over the past several years, our track and cross-country teams have refinished two miles in the park with gravel according to Oregon State Parks standards. Special thanks to Coach Eric Lider, who has lead these teams for years.
Friends of Springbrook Park
Craigs followed the rules
I am very happy that Dave and Debbie Craig took the time to write to The Review to explain their plan to build 16 new homes in the Hallinan Heights neighborhood. It clearly outlined the vast effort and thought that has gone into their plan.
At a recent Lake Oswego City Council meeting, over 50 people had their pitchforks ready and wanted their three minutes at the microphone. I think that I must have been the only one in that room that supported the Craigs.
Folks hate change. People spoke up at the council meeting, with concepts like livability, safety and excessiveness thrown about like laundry in a teens room. The bottom line, though, is that the rules and regulations pertaining to developing your land and building homes have not changed for decades. The Craigs planned for years to build the new homes. To change the rules on them now, at the last minute, would be grossly unfair. Frankly, if one purchased a home within the last 20 years on or near Cedar Street, thinking that the surrounding properties would forever remain unchanged, that is just flat out naíve.
Some have claimed that the Craigs merely wanted to shove their vision of what the neighborhood should look like down our throats. Wrong. Much thought by many people have gone into the plan, and I for one am pleased as punch that many ramshackle homes have or will be replaced by nice ones which will boost my property value.
The Craigs have followed the rules and 16 new homes will be built. The sky will not fall. We will not have Flat Stanleys on Bickner. And everyone in the Craigs position would be doing the exact same thing. So the rhetoric can cease.
For the record, I support the Craigs in their endeavor 98.2 percent.
Stars flare and die,
And a dot among the flowers
Hovers above the zinnias
Like a galaxy wheel
Milling the universe.
Oregon SBA backs Wizer plan
On behalf of the Oregon Small Business Association Board of Directors, I write in support of the Wizer Block project with its mix of commercial, retail and residents.
Oregon has ranked in the Top 10 for states with the highest unemployment for 18 of the past 34 years. Small businesses and employers are key to the future prosperity of any community, and this states 34-year job problem can only be helped by a new wave of jobs coming from emerging small businesses.
The best-of-its-class retail and the small businesses that will be attracted to the proposed Wizer development in Lake Oswegos center will be a net gain for the existing retail businesses there. Roughly 1,200 temporary construction jobs will be created, and the added retail and restaurants could add an additional 120 full-time jobs.
Lake Oswego, with the potential revitalization of its downtown core, can be a leader in helping Oregons recovery. The Oregon Small Business Association lauds Lake Oswego for its efforts at being a standard-bearer for small businesses and for the vision of this project, with local people living close to those businesses and contributing greatly to their success.
Oregon Small Business Association
Preserve small-scale village
I support the Wizer development. However, as I learn more about the recent Wizer proposal, I believe that the Development Review Commission is correct.
The Wizer block is designated as part of our compact shopping district. Retail supports retail. A large rental apartment complex, with only 13-percent retail, will not create a more vibrant shopping and dining district downtown. We would actually lose 50 percent of the current retail at Wizers today.
I understand that guest parking for the apartments will be located on our streets. Parking is already a challenge on weekends and especially during concerts and during the farmers market. When you add the delivery trucks and moving vans that will be double-parked, we lose easy access to the restaurants and shopping we want to support.
It is disappointing that the developer did not go back to the drawing board last winter when his proposal was not approved and break up the buildings as requested, create more retail and lower the density. Much smaller buildings with much more retail would have created a redevelopment the entire community could embrace and anticipate.
I urge the City Council to support the desires of our community and preserve our small-scale village.
Where progress goes to die?
Lake Oswego is very quickly getting a reputation as a place where progress goes to die.
The yearlong back-and-forth about what should go on the Wizer Block resulted in a redesign involving a renowned city architect and incorporating the best suggestions from the Development Review Commission. Yet the DRC, albeit very narrowly, turned their backs on a fabulous design that is perfectly suited to the space and which, by city code standards, is neither too big nor too dense.
Our downtown needs people energy to help the small businesses thrive and to expand our tax base. The existing Wizer Block is a weary space. The redesign, with its Lake Oswego-style buildings housing retail, commerce and people and with open gathering spaces and pedestrian walkways will wake up that block. The whole of downtown will benefit.
I urge our city to welcome this project. We need to alter a growing reputation that we dont welcome progress and that instead we choose to snooze our way to stagnation because we fear change.
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