Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Return of Streetcar?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the city of Portland has published an interactive map of its 20 year comprehensive plan and the transportation elements.  It provides interesting insight into the minds of the Portland Planners.   Much to the chagrin of many in LO one project appears again.  You got it right the Streetcar!  

The map proposes a streetcar line to Johns Landing which we all know is just a phase away from the old Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar proposal that wasted millions in taxpayer dollars.

The latest article on the issue can be found in the Oregonian Streetcars to Johns Landing.  

Many in the community believe that the proposed Wizer development in Lake Oswego is the anchor to justifying light rail to Lake Oswego.    Its clear here in this publication that the Portland planners are certainly looking like that may be the case, despite recent revelations by the city of Portland auditor that streetcar is fraught with problems.  

Here is a quote from the article:

"Streetcar and light rail: The city's map includes three potential streetcar routes headed by the Bureau of Transportation. There's an $80 million extension through Johns Landing, a $70 million extension to Hollywood along Sandy Boulevard and a $65 million extension along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Killingsworth Street. Beyond that, the map still accounts for a $300 million light rail extension to Vancouver, even though the Columbia River Crossing is supposedly dead."

The interactive MAP can be found at : 2035 Plan.  

All of this disclosure is occurring at the same time the community debates the proposed Wizer block development.    Please notify all members, contacts and friends.   

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wizer Block Debate Keeps Churning Out Citizen Discontent.

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the public continued its open debate on the redevelopment of the Wizer Block,   It seems citizens are actively engaged over the historically slow summer period.    The LO Review included many letters describing individual views on the proposed development.  

Its becoming increasingly apparent that the development may play a substantial role in the election this November.    Even local developers are coming out against the project as being too big for the neighborhood and the city.   This article provides some perspective on this trend Shifting Vision. This comes on the heels of an earlier article written by Barry Cain who developed Lake View Village and is now working on the Kruse Village development.    In his article Design a Project That Fits he outlines some concerns about the proposed project.

Its interesting that two developers who have done substantial work in the community are publicly expressing some concerns about the size of the project and its impact on the community and the Village concept.  While these views don't represent all of the community they certainly represent an informed view from those that have actually completed projects which many believe have defined Lake Oswego.  

Several citizen articles discuss concerns about the project:

Parking & Traffic
Values Versus Money
Here We Go

While others refute many of the claims being made:

Big Box Myth
New Beginning?

There are also mixed opinions in Readers Letters.  

So its clear no matter what position the DRC and City Council take they will offend a significant portion of the population in Lake Oswego.    It will be interesting to see the positions of the candidates this fall on the Wizer development as they will have a profound impact on the outcome it now appears.  

While COLA Members strongly support property rights its clear this development has the community deeply engaged and concerned.   Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why Would a City Councilor Need an Attorney at an LO Council Meeting?

To All COLA LO Members,

Last week residents observed a highly unusual event.   One of our city councilors recused themselves from a vote on the TSP and had their attorney testify for them before the city council.    It was a highly uncomfortable and unusual event in Lake Oswego.  

COLA had several board members and members observing the council meeting all of which were surprised by the course of events.    It seems even the City Council isn't informed about how plans may impact their own properties unless staff is repeatedly asked for disclosure!  

 That doesn't hold well for a core COLA issue - Property Rights.   Every citizen should be concerned about this given the situation that took place at last Tuesday's council meeting.  

The details of the issues can be found in another blog:   No One Talks About

Many residents are using this as a classic example of poor management that embarrasses the city and some wonder if it was an intentional lack of disclosure.     Quite a few community leaders have found major issues with the TSP - Transportation Systems Plan being proposed by the planning department.  

Many are wondering how this error and the lack of disclosure could have gotten past the new City Manager Lazenby early in his tenure.    

More to come and the 6/30/14 council meeting can be viewed online at LO Streaming Media.   Look under the TSP Agenda item and public testimony.    

 Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Will Density Be The Issue of the Summer/Fall?

To All COLA LO Members,

The ongoing battle over the Wizer block continues this summer unabated by Lake Oswego's traditional "Summer vacation"  from the issues.   Historically residents have reduce the discourse during the summer on contentious issues in the public forum.   This no longer seems to be the case with the ongoing debate over "high density"  and the Wizer block development.  

Despite being in a city with road construction and new development in all areas citizens continue to vigorous debate the Wizer development.    While the developer Sticks to his vision many residents are either proponents No Armageddon or are vigorously opposing Where's the Beef? the project.

Many are asking why the community continues to debate the issue over the summer and does this portend of a deeply divisive battle in the fall election?   This certainly appears to be the case as three council positions will be up with only one incumbent up for reelection.

 Its notable that only one existing councilor as been reelected in the past two elections (Donna Jordan). While many thought the consternation in the community was over will this issue bring it back?  Time will tell but this certainly has to be on the mind of Councilor Jeff Gudman who is up for reelection in 2014.   It took him four attempts to be elected in 2010.  Will this be the issue that defines a make or break in 2014 only four years after being elected?

Many in the community believe that the discourse and some of the intensity of the debate are due solely to the hired political professionals employed by the developer.  These include both Len Bergstein and Elaine Franklin who were both instrumental in the anti streetcar effort two years ago.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hight Density Battle Continues to Heat Up!

To All COLA LO Members,

Once again  this week the LO review was flooded with citizen letters opposing the Wizer Development with several also supporting it.

Its a sign that the community is beginning to recognize that high density is a major issue that will impact the community.

Opponents of the project are indicating that the proponents are "out of towners"   hired to impact our community.   Good For LO? 

Articles can be found in:
City Planners Should Not Disregard
Don't Compare
Revised Proposal Better?

Is this just the beginning of a protracted battle within the community?   Many think so and are wondering how far it will go.

Will it impact the election of THREE new council members? Many believe it certainly will as the Fall approaches.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Wizer Development High Density Battle Continues

To All COLA LO Members,

This past week several residents wrote letters in the LO Review expressing strong opinions about the proposed (revised) Wizer block development.   Many of them strongly opposed the development and criticized the primary proponents as not being "local".  

One such article can be found here:  Not Our Neighbors  and  another one can be found at:  High on High Density.  However a variety of views can be found at:  Letters .

Where is the project going at this point?   The DRC has to approve the project under its new proposed scope and the City Council would need to vote to approve or deny it once the DRC requirements are complete.  

Many are predicting that a Wizer Block vote will determine the outcome of the elections in November.  

At this time it appears only incumbent Jeff Gudman will be running form the current council.  Will the Wizer vote define the outcome for Councilor Gudman?    Many community leaders believe this may be a likely outcome.  

As the community debate continues it will be interesting to see how the political power players line up on both sides of the issue.  

With the recent news that several political consultants have been hired including Len Bergstein and Elaine Franklin,  many are trying to determine the logic behind being against streetcar but for the Wizer block development.  

Only time will tell but the debate is heating up on high density and this development proposal.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What Will Metro's Population Forecast Do to Lake Oswego?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the Oregonian published an article indicating that METRO forecasts Portland will grow by 750,000 people over the next 20 years nearly reaching the 3 million mark.    It is similar to an estimate made in the decade of 1990 when METRO estimated growth of 500,000.  

What many may have missed is Metro's emphasis on REDEVELOPMENT  to manage this growth over the next two decades.   That's right it translates into "high density" development given the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)  limitations.  

The article can be found at:   Big Growth = Higher density?

Many believe this forecast and the method now being used by METRO will make Lake Oswego a higher density community.   Those same residents now believe this will drive projects like the Wizer Block 137 and the eventual return of both Streetcar & Foothills to Lake Oswego.  

Is the writing on the wall? Its hard to believe this is required in a community with population growth of 0.3% per year over the last decade.   In fact it isn't required for Lake Oswego but the solution is really more about diluting our community character to accommodate growth in other cities within Portland.  

Will the forecast drive decisions that change our community?  Only time will tell....Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

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