Friday, December 30, 2011

Bloggers List Lake Oswego and Clackamas County in Top Issues for 2011

To all COLA LO Members,

This week popular local bloggers focused on our community in their end of the year comments.   These included both representation in top issues of the year and a claim of bias on the part of our local newspaper.
Jack Bog's blog listed the following in their top issues of the year:  

"7. Clackistani rebels. Voters in Clackamas County are stirred up by the invasion of Portland-style planning-mania, and they fight back with grit. They defeat at the polls a tax on them for the Sellwood Bridge replacement; they vote to force a countywide vote on future "urban renewal" schemes; and they hang tough against the condo-ization of the east side of Lake Oswego, replete with an utterly delusional streetcar link to Portland." 

Read more at  The year that Was
He also states that the LO Review are:   "puppets of the developers and planners who have wrecked Portland and see L.O. as their next gravy train"    in his post on Big Time Calling Us Out 
It should be noted that few consider Jack Bog a conservative as claimed by the article.   As one subscriber post stated recently 
 "You can't be a Conservative as long as you call us "tighty righties."
It seems Lake Oswego was of considerable interest to a variety of people in 2011.   The New Year may present even more interest.   We live in interesting times.   
Our best wishes for a Happy New Year.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

COLA LO Board Member Submits Article: A “HOLIDAY” FROM MORALITY?

To All COLA LO Members,

Last week Board member Dave Luck submitted an article discussing the impact of morality on how we may view decisions.  

The title of the article was changed slightly, by the LO Review staff, but it provides some insight into how historical values and morality may play into recent decisions regarding local governance.   

Ironically this article was written and submitted before the recent Oregonian editorial and calls for a recall.   

In the article the author calls upon the holiday season and its values basis within the community and specifically states:

"If certain politicians, and their backers, succeed in removing religion from the mainstream of our society, actions like stealing private property (under a guise of something like “sensitive lands”), or directing our tax money to projects that enrich private companies, will not be measured against historical standards of morality. Consider how much less bothersome Jack Hoffman’s “potential” conflict of interest would be if not measured against standards of morality."

The article can be found at: A holiday from morality? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blogs are now calling for Recall after the Oregonian Editorial

To All COLA LO Members, read at:

Following the Oregonian editorial on the Streetcar bloggers have jumped on the issue.  Many are now calling for a recall of supporters on the City Council and are very focused on the response in 2012.  

The comments online in both the Oregonian and Jack Bog's blog are strongly supportive of a different direction and the potential for a recall in 2012. 

One of the Oregonian blog posts summarized the general comments in the following way:

"A strange thing happens to some politicians and government officials when they gain control of other people's money; it no longer has value any more. It's something to trade and play with like monopoly money which has no consequences when you do something stupid with it. That's why politicians need to be removed from office before this occurs...apparently, for some officials, the need to be removed from office comes sooner than later. "

Another puts it this way:

"L.O. Resident, I could be wrong about this, but I believe there are many more in Portland who knowing what they know now, would have been on board for the recall here. A recall for both Adams and Leonard might have worked. In Portland, quite a few said they were unable to sign a recall for Adams as they feared Leonard would become Mayor, so who knows why some recalls don't materialize.
I know if I lived in Lake Oswego, I would take one look at Portland and seeing what happened to our once beloved city, I would seriously consider a recall as soon as possible. You do know what color their stripes are, learn from our mistake, don't think it will just somehow get better, perhaps people in Portland did, and look at the mess we have, horrendous debt and loss of quality of a livable place to live in."

The details can be read at:  Pull the Plug  and The O Says.

This presents an interesting environment as our City Council returns in 2012 to deliberate additional expenditures on both the Streetcar and Foothills.   Based on the public reaction it will be interesting to see if the City Council listens to community sentiment or ignores it.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oregonian Makes it Official - "Pull the Plug on Streetcar" It says in its Editorial Page Today!

To All COLA LO Members,

Today the Oregonian finally took an official position on the Streetcar and asked both the Lake Oswego and Portland City Councils to put the brakes on the streetcar.     In their editorial they state that basically the project doesn't make any sense and it needs to be pulled.  

The editorial is a damning indictment of wasted government spending on a project that made no sense and which has cost the taxpayers millions.    Since the Foothills project needs streetcar it a further indictment of the taxpayer funds spent on this project in addition to the Streetcar.    

The editorial can be found at: Pull the Plug on the Oswego Streetcar

In the article the Oregonian states:  

" Still, $208 million is a lot of money. And at any price, this project doesn't have what it takes to get something of this magnitude built, namely, a compelling reason to be. A project rationale is not something that can be "value-engineered" to a project as it rolls along. It has to be there from the beginning.

The fact that Lake Oswego itself hasn't coalesced behind the project is another cause for concern, but that's mostly a reflection of the first problem. "

The issue now becomes how many more millions of taxpayer dollars will our City Council spend in 4-3 Votes versus the priorities of the community?   There are additional millions allocated to both streetcar and foothills at this time neither of which makes sense given the logic in the Oregonian editorial.    

Still logic and community consensus hasn't gone very far with the current administration in Lake Oswego.   Mayor Hoffman and Councilors Tierney, Moncrieff, and Jordan have consistently supported spending millions in taxpayer funds on these projects rather than traditional services.   Councilors Kehoe, Olson and Gudman have opposed the spending and been quite vocal about their concerns in the media.   So in ongoing 4-3 votes we continue to spend our taxpayer funds on both projects which all admit are interrelated.  

It will be interesting to see how the current Council addressees this editorial or if it lets Portland's City Council pull the plug on its own.    Given the current discussions in the community about a recall petition anything can and likely will happen prior to the November election.    Streetcar and Foothills are top priorities for the Mayor and at least 3 City Councilors and their historical positions will certainly be a part of the November election.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Its Official - Petition Submitted TO Require County Wide Vote on Any Light Rail Funding

To ALL COLA LO Members,

Merry Christmas....

Its official as petition signatures were submitted to the County Clerk this week on a ballot initiative that would require a County Wide vote on spending of any funds for Light Rail projects within Clackamas County.     The County Clerk needs to evaluate the signatures and determine if they meet the requirements for the May 2012 ballot.  

Several articles describe the petition effort.  Fight Against Light Rail   and Why Fire up the 70 Percent?

Of notable interest is the absence of any details on the effort and the petition filing in the major press this past week.    Its interesting that the Oregonian hasn't published the details on this new petition.    However they have published a challenge to Councilor Kehoe's Opinion letter and it is getting substantial online comment: Why is Streetcar Still Alive?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Oregoninan Letter to Editor Asks "If streetcar is so bad why is it still alive?"

To All COLA LO Members,

This week a citizen wrote an editorial letter to the Oregonian challenging the concept that the Streetcar is a bad idea.    In the article the citizen asks Councilor Kehoe to provide an option to the Streetcar.   Online comments to the article can be found at the following link:

If Lake Oswego streetcar is such a bad idea, why is it still alive?

The original article by Councilor Kehoe can be found at: Streetcar Way Off Track

And so the ongoing debate and expenditures continue for a visionary project while citizens according to a recent survey have a much higher set of priorities for the Lake Oswego community.    The recent survey conducted by a professional firm clearly shows that only 18% of the community rate the Streetcar as a priority.    Streetcar Survey

The highest priority can best be represented by fix the streets! But that isn't a priority for this administration as it continues to spend many multiples more on studies and planning projects including the streetcar.   

That direction is of serious concern to the community at large and the surveys clearly show this.   Unfortunately many feel their input is not being taken seriously.

Thus increasingly people in the community are making statements about a recall effort and asking for resignations.  2012 will be an interesting year in the community given the diverging views on priorities.   

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Board Member Discusses "Recall" Concept

To all COLA LO Members,
This week Board Member Gary Gipson published an article in the LO Review discussing the ongoing community efforts toward a potential recall of City Council Members.  

As many of you know there has been a recall discussion throughout the year amongst many community leaders.   

It seems the recall discussion may be taking a more serious tone early in 2012.    Many new proponents of a recall petition are now calling for signatures early in the year with a potential vote in May 2012.   

In his article Gary Gipson discusses the concerns about such a recall effort and its impact on other issues in the May election.

The article can be found at:   Recall Talk On the Rise

There is a current recall vote underway for an Oregon City Commissioner and the method is gaining popularity in Clackamas County.     The issues within the community that are promoting the discussion of a local recall effort are fairly well documented and ongoing.  They largely involve the direction of the current administration and the public process.  

Only time will tell if the effort is serious and succeeds locally.  However the discussion continues as residents become more aware of tax increases, spending, and the ongoing direction of the current administration. 

While COLA LO does not currently support a recall effort we believe the underlying cause of this discussion is the community concern over "Good Governance".  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LO Tigard Water Partnership Expanding - Costs Increasing?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the Oregonian reported that proponents of the LO-Tigard water partnership will expand the scope of the project and increase the costs of the project.   Its an interesting twist on the issues of concern involved in the project and an attempt to placate complaints form West Linn residents.   

The article states

"On Monday, partnership officials proposed expanding the water treatment plant to 38 million gallons a day capacity instead of initial plans for 32 million gallons and an increase of 6 million gallons on a future date. Joel Komerak, project director for the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership, told West Linn officials that Lake Oswego would allow 6 million gallons a day from its share to be available to West Linn in an emergency through the intertie.

Partnership officials estimate the 6 million gallons amount would be available to West Linn year-round through about 2026. If that amount were needed outside of peak water usage season, it would be available through 2041."

Needless to say the increased costs will have to be passed on to LO residents in the form of their water bills.   The council voted this month to increase rates 25.5% in March.    Already the online comments and bloggers are livid over the cost of water in our small city.    Despite the concerns and even fears the City Council continues to push forward on the project with ever increasing costs.   A recent article in the LO review drew substantially negative comments:   LO Water Rate Increases

The new Oregonian article including details can be found at:  LO Tigard Water Partnership Increases

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Property Tax Article & Schools Article Draw Conflicting comments

To all COLA LO Members,

Last week two articles were published that were quite critical to the future of our community.   The first article provided important information about funding for the LO school District throughout the area.  LOSD district boundaries are outside the city limits and include various homes in county areas.   

An article last week provided detailed information indicating that 1/3 of all homes within the district are now valued at less than their assessed value.   That means that 1/3 of  homeowners will see their property taxes reduced and that they will no longer need to contribute the full amount of taxes to the school district local option levy.   

Other property owners will still need to pay the full levy and may effectively be subsidizing the 1/3 that have lower valuations in terms of paying a higher total amount toward LOSD funding.  Its a matter for detailed review in the future.

The article can be found at:   Local Option

In a second article details are provided about the LOSD attempting to attract more students as enrollment continues to decline.    Online comments show a disparity in views of what needs to be done versus recent decisions including plan B.    The article can be found at:   LOSD Attracting More Students?

LOSD accepted nearly $2 million in funds from the city this year.   All of those funds are coming from  residents within the City.  These residents are paying higher taxes than those outside the City boundaries but within the LOSD boundaries. 

So far this discussion and the details have not been presented to the public.   School District Boundaries can be found at:  LOSD Boundary map . A city versus LOSD map can be found at:  LO City Comparative map

Its anticipated that the LOSD will once again request additional funding from the City in 2012.  Ratings agencies have questioned the City regarding this commitment in a recent bond issuance.    In any case with state revenue forecasts declining it appears that LOSD funding will be under pressure once again next year.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends of these critical articles and their issues.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Further Proof We Are Not Growing!

To ALL COLA LO Members,

This week additional information was published showing that Oregon isn't really growing.    The data released this week shows that form 2000-2010 the state did not grow substantially and that translated down to both the county and local level.   The data indicates that Lake Oswego hasn't grown substantially and the rate of growth may be actually slowing.   

That doesn't bode well for the cost of many proposed projects as those costs will be paid for by the same population level or less.   Its of concern to many residents here in LO given the massive projects proposed by the current City Council. 

The Oregonian article can be found at:   Population Growth Slows

P)lease notify all members, contacts and friends...

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Water Rate Increase Draws the Ire of Online Comment

To All COLA LO Members,

 This week the LO Review published an announcement that the City Council had decided unanimously to approve a water rate increase of 25.5% early next year.  

Many citizens were unaware of the proposed increase and are now expressing disdain for the constant increases in water utility rates.  

The online comments also question the need for the massive LO-Tigard water partnership which is driving rate increases.   Its the largest capital project in the city's history.   

The article and comments can be found at:   Households to See Surge in Rates

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.    They will likely see it in their bills this spring.

Portland Runs Out of Street Funds to Pay for Regional Projects is LO Next?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the Portland Tribune and bloggers published articles on the direction and expenditure of Street funds in Portland.   Interestingly enough there isn't enough funding for street maintenance given the directive to spend funds on regional projects and mass transit.

This may sound very familiar to residents of Lake Oswego.    Spending on streetcar and other projects has increased while street maintenance funding has been used for other purposes.    Ironically it seems that Portland is leading Lake Oswego but citizens here are consistently commenting on the degradation of our streets while other projects get funding.  

The latest article can be found at:  Street Projects Bump Into Cuts

Blogger comments and posts can be found at:   The Way Infrastructure Crumbles

Ironically the current council has decided to continue to fund millions into Streetcar and other related projects while the street budget was cut in half this year.   

Its a very similar direction to Portland as Mayor Hoffman and Mayor Sam Adams both often see eye to eye on priorities...  It makes us all wonder where it will lead.   We will leave it up to the individual voter to decide.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another City Pulls out of Tri-Met.

To All COLA LO Members,

This week another City pullled out of Tri-Met claiming the costs were too high and the service was too low to meet the needs of their city.    Boring pulled out this week.   The details can be found in the following article: Boring Pulls Out

Bloggers are already commenting and sometimes lamenting that they cannot follow in kind with this decision.   Additional information can be found on:  Boring Secession 

All of this comes at a time when the Streetcar is under consideration and one o the concerns is how to pay for early operating costs as Tri-Met has indicated they will not have operating funds early in its operation.   

We certainly live in interesting times and there are differences of opinion within Clackamas County regarding mass transit and various options.

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.   

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Surprise Surprise Clackamas County Vehicle Registration Fee Was Never Needed for the Sellwood Bridge!

To All COLA LO Members,

Surprise!!!!   This week it was announced that the Federal Government will pick up $17 million in expenses for the Sellwood Bridge work. 

Yes that's right, the proposed Vehicle Registration Fee that was approved by our own Clackamas County Commission and our own Commissioner Ann Lininger was never needed.  

It was as citizen activists claimed in fact a "backdoor tax"  to pay for a bridge that was the responsibility of Multnomah County.  

Voters soundly approved a citizen driven ballot measure that prevented the Fee in last May's election despite an overwhelming attempt by County Commissioners including Ann Lininger to support the tax and drive voters against the initiative.  

The Oregonian reported on the grant but not all the details in the following article:   Sellwood Bridge Grant.
Blog comments can be found in this article and also at another Blog article:   Must be a Dream

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends regarding this important revelation after the fact.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Citizen Lawsuit over Water Utility Expenditures

To all COLA LO Members,

A citizen group filed a lawsuit challenging expenditures by the City of Portland's Water Bureau this past week.  The lawsuit is being covered by both bloggers and the media in different terms.   The details of the lawsuit  are public and involve not only questionable expenditures but further disclosure of fees etc.

Details can be found at News that isn't happening

and in the following Oregonian article:  Portland Water Faces Lawsuit

Could this be an insight into the future for Lake Oswego, its water rates, and its projects?   Only time will tell as  rates, fees, and expenditures continue to increase.  But additional information is being posted by bloggers as this issue proceeds through the legal process under a challenge by citizens.  

It seems that now the City of Portland has to increase its disclosure to bondholders when it attempts to raise additional funds for capital.    Water.     

In Lake Oswego water rates are proposed to increase 25.5% in March to continue to set aside reserves of the LO-Tigard Water Partnership which is the largest capital project in LO's history.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends...

Monday, December 12, 2011

COLA LO Board Member Discusses Projects & Differences

TO All COLA LO Members,

Last week board member Dave Berg published an article in the LO Review.  The article discusses the different approaches to proposed projects today versus past administrations.    In the article he compares recent plans for Urban Renewal projects versus the old Library and the differences in outcomes.  

The article can be found at:  New Projects

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bloggers Claim Eastside Streetcar in Trouble

To All COLA LO members,

This week the bloggers are claiming that operating funds for the Eastside streetcar are a very real issue.   This concern has come up with the Portland-LO streetcar repeatedly in public debate.   Clackamas County has issues with its funding commitment to TRIMET given recent passage of citizen driven measures.  

The bloggers details can be found at:   Eastside Streetcar Goes

With further details on the issue at:  County Payment Looms.

All of this is presenting an image of concern regarding the Streetcar project in LO.    We leave it to the voters to decide. 

Please notify all members,contacts, and friends.   

Subsidized Section 8 "low income" affordable Housing may be Foothills "Dirty Secret"

To All COLA LO Members,

"Affordable Housing" is a term used by the current City Council and a past administration.    Most in LO wonder what that translates to in terms of high property values in Lake Oswego.   Well we are beginning to get some insight into what that will do to local property values and mix.  

While affordable senior subsidized housing opens up in Lake Oswego this week recent testimony by a former HUD executive told us more during the Foothills comment period.   It seems that the proposed development is required to have Section 8 low income housing as a percentage of it's properties.  

Imagine that Low income housing in Lake Oswego and its impact on local property values! 

It seems residents aren't being told all the requirements of developing the area and its potential impact on property value.   That's similar to the recent approval of an ICE detention facility in the south waterfront area along with an additional requirement for low income housing.  

We leave it to residents to determine if they prefer low income subsidized housing be developed with their tax dollars.

 Its an interesting question and the "dirty secret"  that isn't being discussed in the public debate.

A recent article in the Oregonian begins to describe the requirements but only places its focus on senior housing:  Second Affordable Senior Complex

Details of the City "affordable Housing"  plan and efforts can be found at the following :  LO Planning Affordable Housing.   This effort was approved when current Mayor Jack Hoffman was on the City Council.  Only time will tell what this effort will do to Lake Oswego.   We leave it to voters to make their own determination of the program's merits.

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.  

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