Wednesday, July 1, 2015

City Council Sells the WEB!

To All COLA LO Members,

Its finally been announced.   The Council has sold the WEB building to YAKIMA who will use it as their headquarters in Oregon.    They intend to remodel the interior and move employees there by the end of the year.  

Its a win-win for citizens in Lake Oswego and the company.  
This is a major step in the ongoing economic development of the west side of Lake Oswego which is observing enormous private investment.    the details can be found at:  WEB Sold to Yakima Products.

When the final details are made public we believe everyone will see the enormous benefit this decision will provide to everyone in the city.

Please notify all friends, contacts, and members.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

COLA Board Member Discusses Core Services

To ALL COLA LO Members,

This past week board member Dave Berg published another article in the LO Review.   This one discusses core services and the importance of the community survey done by the city every two years.   In the article he discusses what many residents believe are the core services of the city and how prior administrations chose a path that impacted the ability to deliver these services.  

Its an important article and one in a series that deals with key issues within the leadership of the city.  

The article can be found at:   Leadership - Willingness to Prioritize

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Council Unanimously Passes 2015-16 Budget

To ALl COLA LO Members,

Last week the city council passed the approved budget form the Citizens Budget Committee (CBC) with a 7-0 vote of the council.   it was only the second time in recent history that the council passed the recommended budget unanimously.

The budget represents a strong emphasis on infrastructure investment without any increase in taxes or franchise fees.   Its also consistent with the recent feedback form citizens in the Community Attitudes Survey.

The LO Review published an article on the budget and council opinions:   Council Approves
The community survey can be found at the city website:  2015 Community Survey

From the site:

"The results show that residents continue to have a very favorable opinion of their city. Overall, residents rate the City 8.6, on a ten-point scale, as a place to live. Results also show that satisfaction with city government improved slightly in 2015 and that residents rated street maintenance (70%) as the highest priority for the City Council to work on during the next 18 months, followed by maintenance of parks and open space (62%). In addition, results show that the Lake Oswego Review (56%) and Hello LO (55%) remain the two most popular sources for local news."

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Friday, May 29, 2015

Citizens Applaude Mayors Decision Not to Appoint.

To All COLA LO Members,

This week several citizen letters were submitted to the LO Review regrading the Councils decision not to re appoint a planning commissioner.    Its interesting as they are both for and against the decision.   However most are saying now that the recent community survey shows that most residents are quite happy with the new direction in LO and that many believe the decision was more than justified.  

The original article in the Review can be found here:   Planning Commissioner Appointments.  Comments include those from COLA board members who publicly identify themselves by name rather than make anonymous comments on positions.  

A variety of opinions on the issue can be found in the Readers Letters section this week.   Some of the
notable comments on citizens views include the following:

"sued his city and the people that he was assigned to represent, and cost our community in excess of $1 million. And, he lost his lawsuit. That $1 million could have been better used for our schools!"

"Additionally, while functioning in an official appointed capacity,  elected to initiate a lawsuit against the very city he represents. Given what appears to be a conflict of interest, it would have been more appropriate for ..... to have resigned from his official position long ago."

"Of course, there are citizens who are disappointed in the actions of our local officials, and the point of a survey is to gauge that level of dissatisfaction. Today, that feeling of dissatisfaction sits with the few and not the many. A majority of Lake Oswego residents have a very favorable opinion of their city, and on a scale of one to 10, they rate the city an 8.6 as a place to live."

Its an interesitng debate given the results of the latest community survey.    Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Community Atttitudes Survey Shows Surprising Improvement!

To All COLA LO Members,

This month the city performed its community attitudes survey using a contractor as it does every two years. The results provided insight into the consensus views of residents within Lake Oswego.    They also exhibited some surprising trends that many have talked about over the past two years.

The Survey can be found here Lake Oswego Community Survey 2015.

The testimony by the contractor CFM can be found here City Survey Testimony 5/19/15 Meeting .    

Overall citizens are quite happy with the quality of life in Lake Oswego and their opinion of local government has improved dramatically in the past two years.   Its a surprising reversal of a ten year downward tend in attitudes toward local government.   Many are now saying that the community believes the council and the budget committee are making the right decisions.

Why?   The top concern of citizens are streets and fiscal management.   Both of these areas have seen a substantial redirection over the past three years under the current administration.   Substantial resources have been allocated to streets and fiscal management has been to reduce debt and use existing resources to accomplish core priorities.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

City Council Votes Against Reappointing Planning Commision Member

To All COLA LO Members,

Last night the city council voted against reappointing planning commissioner Todd Prager.  The selection committee recommended that he be reappointed but Mayor Kent Studebaker overrode the recommendation on the council agenda.   Many questioned why the mayor recommended moving forward with an alternative that conflicted with the selection committee.

The agenda item can be found here 5/19 Council Agenda item 7.1 and the video should soon be available where the Mayor explains that he did not believe Mr. Prager had the city's best interest at heart Council 5/19 Video.

The mayor went into some detail citing that the lawsuit against the City of Lake Oswego in which Mr. prager is a plaintiff was not in the best interests of city.   A recent article on the details can be found here Lake Access Lawsuit.   The Mayor also mentioned that the City of Tigard was considering an ordinance that would require appointed members to resign if they were in a lawsuit against the city.  

No doubt this decision will involve controversy.    Councilors Gustafson and Buck argued that Mr. Prager had a constitutional right to his opinion and even if he disagreed with the city that did not disqualify him from being re-appointed as  a planning commissioner.  

Councilor Bowerman voiced a strong level of disagreement with Councilor Gustafson's recent social media posting about the decision by the Mayor not to recommend a reappointment.    Its clear the Mayor took a firm stand recommending against reappointment because he believed the lawsuit constituted a conflict of interest.

What many have forgotten is that in the last act of his administration Mayor Hoffman overrode the entire recommendation of the selection committee to appoint 3 members to the budget committee Collins-Manz-Berg  on 12/18/2012 and tried to stack the budget committee with 3 entirely different appointees to influence the future direction of the city.    This was supported in a 4-3 vote (Hoffman, Tierney, Jordan, Moncrieff)  for the move against a vote by Councilors Kehoe, Gudman, and Olson.    NO reason whatsoever was cited by then Mayor Hoffman for voting this way and Councilor Jordan claimed she felt overwhelmed by the other members of the selection committee when she decided to vote against her own recommendation.  

So its clear precedent has been set in this area.    The vote last night was 3-2.   Councilors Gudman, Bowerman, and O'Neill voting for the recommended appointments and Councilors Buck and Gustafson voting against it.   The mayor abstained and Councilor Manz was absent.  

It will be interesting to see how this action is reported in the media.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Will the WEB Be Sold?

To All COLA LO Members,

Over the past few weeks our community has learned that the city had received 11 bids on the WEB.   After nearly a decade of paying for a building that largely sat empty it seems the city has viable buyers.    The details of the bids have not been disclosed to the public.   However multiple sources are now telling us that the majority of bids are viable and that the city has contacted the bidders for follow up efforts.

Its fair to say that three separate administrations have not been able to justify the expenditure of purchasing the WEB at $20 million and the additional capital investment required to convert it to any reasonable use over the years.    At the same time the property has been removed form the tax rolls reducing the revenue to city government.   The expenditure on the WEB alone exceeds $1 million per year in costs to the city.    That does not include the costs of the programs it houses or the capital investments required to maintain it.

Over the past few weeks an initiative has been circulating to keep the WEB as some residents realize the sale is now very viable.    We have been told its being supported by former members of the Hammerstad administration.   The question is why?   Over nearly an decade no administration has provided a viable answer for the WEB.    Its simply too expensive to maintain or convert to any use.  

Unfortunately it appears a major political effort is underway to try to keep the WEB.

So who is driving this effort?   Why would the city keep an asset that has drained in excess of $10 million in taxpayer wealth so far?   Many of us are wondering if the supporters understand the cost of the WEB to the community.    How much could we do with the $10 Million?  The answer is a lot.  

Are supporters of the former Hammerstad administration covering their tracks?   Time will tell but it surely doesn't make much sense.  What will the current Mayor and City Council do to protect the taxpayers?   Will the city slide back into the massive debt accumulation of the past? Can the city afford to improve infrastructure if ti keeps the WEB?   These are all questions on the minds of the voters.    

Please forward to all friends, colleagues and supporters.  

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