A citywide vote on Wizer plan would answer a lot of questions
If Lake Oswego approves this monstrous development of Block 137, it would be a far worse boondoggle than the West End Building.
It would affect everyone making an attempt to drive through downtown Lake Oswego. To sit in snarled traffic is certainly no incentive to come to this town. Is the Development Review Commission expecting the tenants to do all of their shopping downtown, or do the planners wish to attract people from other areas to our downtown? Would the few new retail stores attract people, or will they come to look at the tenants enjoying their private gym and courtyard?
Regarding the financing of the development: Is it accurate to say that a loan of $5.5 million is coming from urban renewal funds? Is this from the federal government? Who provides the federal government with its money but the taxpayers? If the federal government runs out of money, would that debt not fall back upon our local taxpayers?
Are our leaders being pressured from government authorities to have greater density? Do our leaders have to bow to this pressure? Has there been an environmental air-quality study? The proposal requires our City of Trees to fell 25 trees. Trees that give us oxygen to breathe would be replaced by volumes of carbon monoxide for joggers and bicyclers to breathe. How would the air stagnation report read?
There were several empty-nesters who spoke at the DRC meeting on July 21 and they expressed a desire to rent one of the proposed apartments. Would they all leave their cars in the garage? Is Mr. Wizer going to install another grocery store? It is unlikely that the apartment dwellers would walk to Safeway or Albertsons and carry their groceries back, especially on our numerous rainy days. They certainly would not be carrying them on bicycles. It is unlikely that they would eat all of their meals in local restaurants if they are on retirement incomes.
Traditionally, apartment dwellers are more transient. There would be a continuous parade of moving vans coming and going. If the 400-500 new residents were moving in throughout the city of Lake Oswego, it would not be a problem. However, to locate them all in one block in our downtown is absolutely a nightmare of gargantuan proportions.
Perhaps the proponents of urban renewal are jealous of our village character and wish to destroy it. The August 2012 issue of Family Circle Magazine reported the 10 Best Towns for Families in the United States, and Lake Oswego was selected as one of the highest-rated towns. If the downtown were blighted with a block of high-density development, perhaps our fair city would lose its high-ranking status.
What about a real Town Center with retail shops, such as a Powells Bookstore and/or a shoe store, with a circular fountain and park-like setting in the center? How about a small skating rink which could be changed from roller skating to ice skating in the winter? These would attract families, and the children could enjoy playing in the fountain in the summertime. There could be adequate above- and below-ground parking.
It was pointed out that we do not know how many citizens of Lake Oswego approve of this development and how many disapprove. So, could we please have a citywide vote? Then the people would have to live with their decision.
Rosalie Justen is a 15-year resident of Lake Oswego.
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