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Citizen's View: Sometimes, courage is what it takes to sit down and listen

In her May 14 Citizen’s View (“Lake Oswego citizens are still standing strong on Wizer Block”), Save Our Village founder Lita Grigg said that the role of the city “was to protect our values by honoring a carefully thought-out and well-documented long-term vision.”

On that point I agree with Ms. Grigg, which is why the City Council’s 5-2 decision approving the Wizer redevelopment was the correct one. In that decision, the council objectively honored the long-term vision that is well documented in the city code. The Land Use Board of Appeals recently and resoundingly backed the City Council in its approval of the Wizer project.

Ms. Grigg argues that the Wizer project does not meet a believable interpretation of “small-scale structures,” and therefore does not meet the definition of “village character.” But LUBA found that the city’s interpretation of “village character” easily met the required standard of review.

So now opponents will appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals, inspired by Churchillian quotes like the one used by Leslie Pirotta in her May 14 Citizen’s View (“Wizer Block ‘still worth the fight.’”) She quotes Churchill as saying, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Courage is to be admired. But Churchill also said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

The city and LUBA have spoken. Dealing in objectivity, facts and with the code, both bodies approved the development. Under state statute, the Court of Appeals shall not substitute its judgment for that of the board as to any issue of fact. LUBA’s findings of fact will not be under review by the court unless the court feels that LUBA made a serious error in judgment. I and many other Oswegans think that is highly unlikely and that there is no legal basis to move forward with this appeal.

Again I agree with Ms. Grigg when she states that we in Lake Oswego have a very intelligent population of citizens. I disagree with her premise that the majority of those smart people want to move forward to the Court of Appeals. I admire her enthusiasm, but the strategy and tactics of the opponents of Wizer have so far yielded less-than-satisfying results.

This future appeal is also unlikely to yield the result the opponents want. So let me end with another short, applicable quote from Winston Churchill. He said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Brad Henry is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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