Thursday, April 17, 2014

Did Lake Oswego Dodge a Financial Bullet? New Audit of Streetcar Says Yes!

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the results of a financial audit of Portland Streetcar were released.   It provides a stark reminder of many of the issues discussed during the proposals to bring a streetcar to LO from Portland.  

Much of the concern was about who would actually operate the streetcar, how much it would really cost, and how much of the cost the city of LO would have to pay.    All of which was never really answered by Streetcar's proponents.  

The audit released clearly establishes these issues as being core to the current operations in Portland.   In the article released in the Oregon is the statement:  

The bureaucracy behind Portland’s $251 million streetcar system is "convoluted and confusing," according to a new city audit, and no more money should be spent expanding it until city leaders set clear goals.

The article can be found at:  Convoluted

In the actual audit the auditor claims the "City bears the financial risk"   just as many LO residents believed when the LO streetcar was proposed with total costs exceeding $200 million.   Its a stunning clarification showing the core concerns of opponents to Streetcar were valid.  

The actual audit can be found at Portland Streetcar Audit.    Its clear from this document that LO would be taking on enormous financial risk with the project as proposed under the Hoffman administration and supported by former Mayor Hammerstad.  

While many may say hindsight is 20/20 its very valid in this case and residents should seriously consider what approval of Streetcar may have done to LO financially.   To his credit Councilor Jeff Gudman showed these details consistently in council sessions.  

Please notify all members contacts and friends.  


Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Citizen Voices Concern Over TSP - What is Really Going On?

TO All COLA LO Members,

This week another citizen wrote a detailed article on the Transportation System Plan (TSP).   Its well known citizens and cola members are deeply concerned about the conditions of our roads.

However the article provides very specific concerns about the TSP as proposed.

In the article:  Makes You wonder  the author states that 69% of the spending is on bike paths and trails connecting the city.   The author asks has anyone looked at the usage levels on these or planned for their maintenance?  Are we trading bike paths for streets?

Portland has been accused of spending too much on bike paths and allowing the condition of its streets to degrade.   Many believe it was part of a planned strategy to discourage drivers and encourage both mass transit and bicycle commuting.  

It appears that some $10 million is allocated to "roads to nowhere".  If this is true it clearly is an example of
why citizens appear deeply concerned about the TSP and lack of maintenance of our existing streets.  

Remember, this is an administration that was elected largely based on their promise to improve the condition of streets.   In fact its one of the council goals for 2014.


If true this article presents a stark contrast between planning and the commitment the current administration has made to show citizens a marked improvement in the condition of our streets.  

Only time will tell but an election is on the horizon this fall.

Could the outcome of the 2014 election represent a "pothole"   for the plans of elected officials and the administration?   A lot depends on the performance this year.

Will our streets improve or will Lake Oswego invest the majority of its funds on bike paths and trails over the next few years.   Will streetcar return as many believe?   Lets see if the current council hits the road and walks the talk.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Citizen Says TSP - Transportation System Plan Designed to Change Our Community Character?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week a citizen published an article in the LO review questioning the TSP and its assumptions.   Its an insightful analysis on some of the issues and the potential impact it may have on the community.  

Details can be found in Slow Down.


COLA board members have received many comments and complaints about the TSP and its conclusions.  A local blogger has identified some of the complaints we have received.

The blog post can be found at Oh TSP........

Its clear that the TSP isn't focused on the core issue may residents complain about which is the maintenance of existing roads in our community and how to fund them.    At least that is what we have heard from several members.

Last night the Planning Commission asked staff to inform the Neighborhood Associations of the TSP and ask for feedback from citizens.    The planning Commission will take up the issue of the TSP again in May.   Its very clear citizens are questioning the emphasis of this TSP given the challenges facing LO with slow population growth and road conditions.

 It will be interesting to see comments from the citizens over the next two months as more information is distributed to the community.

The full TSP and details can be found here TSP Site.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  


Thursday, March 20, 2014

COLA LO Members Strongly Oppose the "Unruly Ordinance" And Communicate it to the Council

To All COLA LO members,

This past month COLA LO members including the board vehemently opposed the "unruly gathering" ordinance brought to council for consideration.     This was an ordinance that originally proposed to violate the civil rights of our citizens and included the confiscation of private property.  

It was deeply disturbing to members and the board that the city council would even consider such an ordinance after it was strongly opposed and shelved by the Clackamas County Commission.   COLA board members lobbied the commission and personally spoke to commissioners during their review.  

Its clear such an ordinance not only would violate our civil rights but would also lend itself to abuse and "arbitrary and capricious" enforcement within the city.     The original rule designated that a gathering of only FIVE people could constitute an "unruly gathering".    

Given that the ordinance was shelved and strongly opposed by groups at the county level, why did this ordinance ever see the light of day in Lake Oswego?

That's something many citizens are now asking themselves and questioning the leadership.


An article in the LO review summarizes recent events.   Unruly Gathering Ordinance Opposed. A follow up article in the Oregonian provides some interesting perspective, especially in the comments by readers Out of Control  A special thanks to those members that stood up to this effort and opposed such misdirection within our community.

The 2014 election will provide additional opportunity to voice your position.

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.   





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why is the Community Concerned About Public Input?

To All COLA LO Members,

Last week a citizen published an article in the review regarding concerns over the public process.   The article mirrored several rumors going around in the community that the current administration is re-considering the level of public input it receives.

The article can be found here:  Allows us to have our say.

Several board members have spoken to administration officials who are denying these rumors.  They claim that if anything the city will be expanding public input on key issues.

COLA board members are not sure what is behind the concerns about public input and participation but we have heard it from a wide group of citizens.  

It may just be a perception or comments made by officials.

Lets see what actions the administration takes in the future.    Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is the City Seriously Considering Pulling Out of Tri Met?

To ALL COLA LO Members,

As reported in this blog LO is listening to those that would like the city to pull out of Tr-Met and start its own bus service.    While some citizens oppose the move it appears the opposition isn't as large as expected.  

For years citizens have complained about very limited bus service on the west side of Lake Oswego which includes the economic engine of the Kruse Way corridor and the WEB.   The new development occurring in this area and Lake Grove is only going to increase traffic and movement in the area.  

Last week the council heard a presentation on the option to remove the city form Tri-Met Withdrawing Not a Fantasy.   At the same time this week a community leader urges not to withdraw but continue to advocate for more service which has been done for over a decade:
‘City council should be an advocate with TriMet’
According to its representatives, TriMet serves 300,000 riders a day in its transportation system. TriMet picks up or drops off in Lake Oswego more than 500,000 riders a year.

Seceding from TriMet would hurt seniors, employees, the disabled and others who depend on public transportation. Lake Oswego is not an island to itself in the metropolitan area. The Lake Oswego City Council should be an advocate with TriMet for improved transit service from downtown Portland to the Kruse Way corridor to serve the approximately 6,000 employees who work here.
Rob LeChevallier
Lake Oswego 


Its clear that like the issue of high density there are widely different views on the issue.   Yet High Density development and mass transit are interconnected in the regional strategy of Metro.   TOD- Transit Oriented Development as a primary objective of Metro can be found here Transit Oriented Development.

So many in the community area asking themselves if the "streetcar isn't dead"  when they see leaders often advocating for high density and less control over our transit options.

 Last year COLA board member Gary Gipson clearly linked the wizer development with this issue in his article Will the Streetcar Follow?

Its the first time the linkage was made public.   It will be interesting to see how the issue of high density development and TriMet participation evolves as more citizens recognise the pattern and their options.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lake Oswego Isnt the Safest City in Clackamas County or Southwest Portland?

To All COLA LO Members,


In a startling revelation the Oregonian is reporting that LO isn't the safest city in the county.  It isn't even in the top three of the safest cities.  

While Lake Oswego makes the top 5 does this reflect the investment we make in public safety?

Its a real surprise to many in the community that believe LO makes additional efforts to ensure our city is safe and crime free compared to other areas.

The article can be found at West Linn Tops the List.

Its another surprising change in regional trends.   Our median income has fallen to fourth in the county and now safety has fallen?  When the Oregonian tried to stir up comments it received little debate on the list in another article:   Safe Cities Right?

It seems the article is confirming what many in the communities already know about their city.   That may be fair comfort for many.
.
Pleas notify all members, contacts, and friends.  





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