Monday, October 31, 2011

Politicfact says Sam Adams & Portland Streetcar are Inflating the Facts!

To all COLA LO Members,

This past week the Oregonian came out with a shocking conclusion in its Politifact Truth-O-Meter article.   It seems that Sam Adams and Portland Streetcar are inflating not only the investment but the jobs that were associated with the streetcar and urban renewal districts.  

The details can be found at Mostly False

What does this say about the proposed Portland -LO streetcar and the $458 million investment?  The Oregonian article claims hundreds of millions of publicly financed projects were claimed by the proponents as private investment.  

The LO council voted 4-3 in the spring to spend additional taxpayer funds to continue the study with the city of Portland.    This is after Mayor Hoffman consulted with Sam Adams on the project and voted in favor of additional funding last spring. 

Council members Tierney, Jordan, and Moncrieff voted with Mayor Hoffman to continue funding the project despite citizen testimony expressing deep concerns over its viability.  

Sam Adams has decided not to run for re-election in 2012. 

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends of these details.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lake Access - The issue that will not go away! Public group plans to "stack" the public comment at the Community Culture Summit meetings.

To All COLA LO Members,

The community continues to weigh in on the issue of public access to the lake.  Online citizen comment is very strong with many questioning why the city does not address the issue with a final statement and clarity.  Residents are legitimately concerned that this issue distracts the community from much needed efforts and may waste taxpayer dollars. 

Another article appeared this week in the review:  Public Right or Privilege

In addition we have learned that a local organization is sending out blast emails to non LO residents asking them to "occupy" the new community culture summit meetings so they can stack the comments which will impact our comprehensive plan.    Its just one more attempt to manipulate an LO process to create the appearance of support for an issue. 

The blast email sent to non LO residents by this group is below :

Speak Up On Oswego Lake Access
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Oswego Lake Canoe
Next Thursday, November 3rd is the first "Community Culture Summit" for the Lake Oswego Comprehensive Plan.  The "Recreation Topic Area" will be discussed, and Oswego Lake represents a huge opportunity to greatly expand recreational access for the community.
The State of Oregon recently confirmed Oswego Lake is a public resource that could be legally accessed from existing public lakefront parks.  However, the City's current practice is to build fences, gates, and other barriers to limit public access in favor of a private corporation that claims ownership of the lake. Read more in today's Lake Oswego Review 

The Community Culture Summit is the best opportunity for you paddlers out there to voice your support for public property rights.  At the "Recreation Topic Area", let the City know that Oswego Lake is a public resource that should be open to paddlers for recreation.
Date:  Thursday November 3, 2011 
Place:  Lake Oswego High School Library
Time:  5:30-6:00 pm community "mixer"
6:00-8:00 Workshop  
*Parents with young children...supervised children activities will be provided!

In addition to being a fun and healthy way to experience nature, reconnecting paddlers with Oswego Lake would foster education and stewardship of the Oswego Lake watershed.  Millions of public dollars are already invested in Oswego Lake annually to meet Clean Water Act requirements.  If access were expanded, even more could be done to preserve and enhance this precious urban resource. 

For more details on the Community Culture Summit visit: 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jack Bog claims that LO Review is an "Unabashed Cheerleader for Urban Renewal Schemes"

TO All COLA LO Members,

Jack Bogdanski's blog posted an interesting piece on the Review on Monday.   In the post he claims that the LO Review is unabashed in its biased support for Urban Renewal schemes and the developer Homer Williams.  The post presents some interesting comment and perspective and received immediate comment from the public. 

LO Review Cheerleader

The piece provides for interesting review and is one perspective. The ongoing issue of Foothills and the Streetcar which has been supported by a 4-3 city council vote and millions in city expenditures is of concern to the entire community..   

Residents continue to ask questions on cost, debt, and services.   This is especially true given the recent Tri-met budget woes and the huge cost of the proposed streetcar project.   The answers aren't coming fast enough and don't seem to be detailed enough for many residents.  

Streetcar Update - TriMet Facing Budget Crisis

To all COLA LO Members,

TriMet now is reporting that it faces a budget gap of $ millions?  

What does that say about the streetcar project and its potential costs and unknown expenses to the city of Lake Oswego?  

Several opponents and council members have claimed that if built,  the City would need to operate the streetcar for 1-2 years before TriMet could take it over.   They also claim that the costs to the city would exceed $30 million. 

At the same time Trimet has reduced the fareless option and is looking at other measures due to increasing costs.  This was before the current budget crisis.  Online comments are not very favorable toward the budget revelation. 

Citizens are now questioning how sound the project would be given the initial $458 million price tag and many unknowns.   This new situation may have further impact on the communities views. 

Details can be found at:  TriMet Budget

The council voted 4-3 last spring to continue funding efforts on the streetcar and spending taxpayer dollars.  

Councilors Tierney, Moncrieff, and Jordan voted with Mayor Hoffman to support the ongoing efforts with the City of Portland and its Mayor Sam Adams.   

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Access to the Lake still an issue - Lake Corp President says Lake Portrayed Wrongly

To all COLA LO members,

The ongoing saga of city plans toward public access to the lake continues.    Previous blog posts show that a current planning commission member is suggesting strongly that the public should have access to the lake.   Its a hot topic within the community right now and many believe the city may actually have plans to allow for public access to the lake through Sundleaf Park or other areas, once Foothills and the street car projects are approved by the existing council. 

The city appears to have spent over $8 million on Sundleaf park.   Interesting that the Parks location is also a prime venue for lake access and central to both foothills and streetcar projects.  

Last Week the President of the Lake Corp issued a response to the claims made by the planning commission member and others.   The details present an official viewpoint of the current owners of the lake.   The article can be found at Lake Portrayed Wrongly  and their web site and contact information can be found at Lake Corp.

Public comment online seems to support the current access but there are many that are commenting against the current situation.   Previous blog posts on the issue are below. 

The public was initially made aware of the issue through Jack Bogdanski's blog although rumors were spreading throughout the construction of the park earlier this year.  It will be interesting to see all of the upcoming discussion on the issue and how it impacts the foothills and street car discussions. 

Mayor Hoffman has met with the Lake Corp and board members but did he say public access would not be allowed and was not part of the long term plan?   Nobody seems to know at this point.  

Citizens want to know the details but as usual the specifics aren't being disclosed. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

LO Review Endorses 3-388 but Online Readers Disagree and Prefer 3-386

To All COLA LO members,

The LO Review endorsed the county commissioner proposed initiative 3-388 and opposed the citizen driven ballot initiative 3-386 last week.   Ironically online readers overwhelming are in disagreement with the  Reviews position.  

Take a look at the online comments by residents regarding the endorsement and they seem to overwhelming believe that 3-386 the citizen driven initiative is designed to limit a flawed system.

The online article can be found here:  Measure 3-388 endorsement

It will be interesting to see how county voters cast their ballots on this confusing set of measures including the county commissioner sponsored initiative that was drafted purely to offset and perhaps confuse voters after the citizen drafted initiative was approved by the county clerk.   The clackamas county commission approved the measure 3-388 only after the citizen sponsored initiative was approved.    Their measure does not require a county wide vote, even though county residents will be taxed.  

A quick review shows that the sponsors of 3-388 have raised ten times the money coming from those that are contributing to the citizen driven measure 3-386.   This is comparable to the recent Vehicle Registration Fee initiative last spring.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Article by "Keep Lake Oswego Great" PAC member draws public ire...

To all COLA LO Members,

A recent article by a board member of KLOG drew substantial public comment this past week.   In the article the author states  "A vocal minority of citizens appears to want to change the direction of the recent past".   The article also challenges the facts presented by several groups.  

Online comment was very critical of the article and the author.   Citizens perceive the article as condescending to the community and with a defined agenda.   Citizens online seemed irate about the tone of the letter and the statements made within it.   Here is one example of the citizen response to the article:  

"Karen, I'm sure you're a nice person, even though you write like an arrogant and entitled snob. Your views are naive but well intended, I'm sure. I am not a "vocal" minority, and not a supporter of Tea Party types, or any other political groups.... but in the past few years, have grown frustrated in giving my views to a smiling mayor and City Council, who make it clear that we are wasting our time (and theirs) in voicing any opposition to their agenda. That is why I became active in house to house support of our two newest council people. I am not alone. My neighbors, my coffee group, my wife's book club, fellow church members are fed up. We too, are accountants, MBA's, doctors, school administrators, attorneys, HR professionals, and realtors.  Believe me, you don't represent the majority. The next elections will bring a "balanced, critical thinking" group to LO governance. "

The article can be found at:   We Want.

The KLOG group has endorsed council and mayoral candidates in past elections but not those that represented fiscal responsibility.  This has been a surprise to voters especially in 2010 when the group did not endorse any candidates that were known to be fiscally prudent.

Voters largely ignored the groups endorsement and chose to elect fiscally conservative candidates to the council, effectively removing two sitting council members from office.  This has changed the discussion on the city council in 2011 but not the direction of spending.   

Voters continue to focus on the 2012 election and potential candidates as 3 councilors and the mayor are up for reelection.    

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Councilor Moncrieff Publishes Support Article for New Comp.Plan Process

To All COLA LO Members,

Last Week Councilor Sally Moncrieff published an article on the new comprehensive plan process.  The city is moving into year two of a two year revision of the city's comprehensive plan.  

It outlines the next steps in the public process and provides a summary. This is an extensive process costing over $1 million in taxpayer funds.  

The next step will be community summit meetings similar to the meetings held earlier this year.   The online article did draw criticism from citizens but provides valuable information and can be found at: Comp Plan Year 2.

Citizens have been cautious of the new plan as some of the concepts proposed are very unique and may change the city significantly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bloggers Expose more Streetcar Issues

To All COLA LO members,
More revelations about long term operating costs and hidden taxes/fees to local municipalities are coming out now in the blogosphere.   Many opponents of the streetcar have claimed that this will be a major issue and its being hidden by the proponents of the Portland to LO project.  

The latest details can be found at:  Streetcar Insanity  and City Digs for Money to Keep Streetcar

The details provide some unique insight into the proposed PDX-LO streetcar and how local governments may be asked to pay for hidden costs as the project matures.    These are legitimate concerns within the community.    The City Council approved moving forward on the streetcar project in a 4-3 vote last spring.   
The consultants are reviewing their cost estimates from the original $458 million and LO residents remain skeptical of the project costs.  Councilors Tierney-Moncrief-Jordan and Mayor Hoffman voted to continue to expend funds and proceed with the project in a highly charged meeting that involved over 100 citizens. 

A survey of public opinion on the streetcar will be conducted soon by the city.  Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Citizens Strongly Criticize Planning Commision Member's Position on Lake Access!

To All COLA LO Members,

This week citizens reacted strongly to a planning commission members suggestion that the lake allow public access.  Citizens are wondering if this is the long term intent of the city under the new comprehensive plan and with the new parks that provide a view of the lake.  

Many are suggesting that public access to the lake is part of undisclosed agreements with the foothills project and streetcar.   These projects would develop the area and allow for visitors to gain access to the lake through the newly developed sundleaf park.    Its speculation at this point but the city has not refuted this in writing and reaction has been swift and strong from citizens.  

Citizen reaction can be found in the following articles:   Answer is NO  and There is a history

The strong reaction in these articles and online shows the consternation and frustration in the community over specific issues.  Citizens are awaiting a firm commitment from city leaders on the issue.

The position of the planning commission member was originally mentioned in Jack Bog's blog.  Please see earlier blog posts for details and notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Is the WEB Good For anything? Citizens debate online

To all COLA LO members,

Last week opposing citizens viewpoints were published in the Lake Oswego Review regarding the siting of a Library facility at the WEB versus the LORA North Anchor project.    This provided a forum for online citizen debate regarding the viability of both options and the ongoing issue of the WEB.  

The debate presents different options for the future of the WEB facility and also illustrates how poorly the facility fits a variety of options.    It provides insight into the thoughts of citizens and the ongoing consternation of the community on the original purchase and ultimate cost of this facility.   

The WEB represents a legacy which elected officials continue to try to shed without success.   Its an interesting situation that uniquely represents voter angst over the direction of the city.  

Please notify all members contacts and friends.  

The articles can be found at:  WEB's a bad fit  and Move Library to WEB

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Planning Commision Member Wants Public Access to Lake!

To All COLA LO Members,

A recent article in the LO Review has drawn substantial public comment including response from an existing planning commission member.   This member is the author of the article and many believe he represents the long term position of existing council members and the Mayor.   So far no public comment has been submitted by the council on the opinion expressed in the article.

The comment online includes the statement below.   Please refer to the earlier posting for the link to the article.   

Re: What’s the future – if any – of access to Oswego Lake?
According to the State of Oregon, water in a river or lake belongs to the state of Oregon and the public can use the surface of a river or lake for any legal purpose once they have gained lawful entry. The bed of the river or lake may be privately owned, but the water belongs to the State. But don't take my word for it, go to the Department of State Lands website or contact them directly to see for yourself.

Usually the State gets involved in rural areas when a stretch of river runs through private property, and the owner tries to block access from up and down river. This is not allowed because the water is public.

In the case of Oswego Lake, the city owns multiple lakefront properties and could potentially choose to allow controlled access to the lake. The City could choose to limit it to things like kayaking and canoeing as they do at George Rogers park. I would support these limits which would have minimal impact on current lake users.

If all property surrounding the lake was privately owned, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. It would be illegal for the public to trespass on private property to gain access to the lake. However, the city could potentially provide lawful, controlled lake access, and it is worth discussing the issue.

"Todd Prager"

(email verified)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bloggers Criticize Reporting of Urban Renewal Projects

To All COLA LO Members,

Last week a blog post was released regarding the reporting of Urban Renewal Projects by the local media.    The posting was highly critical of the media for not analyzing press releases and performing investigative journalism.   

While we may not share the same view as the blog post, it provides for interesting reading.

The comments by local citizens provide even more insight into public opinion on the subject and how it applies to Lake Oswego.   

The post can be found at: Publications.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on Opening Up the Lake to the Public

To All COLA LO Members,

Jack Bogdanski's blog contains additional information on this issue.    Comments include speculation that opening up the lake to public access is part of an undisclosed agreement under the Foothills development project.   

The blog speculates that some people in local government actually want to open up the lake to the public and have expressed agreements to do so.   Sundleaf Park cost the city at last estimate over $8 million in total costs for a facility that to many seemed sterile.   

Could this actually be the access point for visitors to the city after being transported to LO on a Streetcar?   Many are now speculating on the long term plans and agreements.      

It provides for interesting reading:   More on Opening the Lake

This would seem to involve property rights issues for existing property owners with lakefront access.  

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.  

Citizen Asks - What to do with Surplus?

To All COLA LO Members,

A citizen published an article on the the budget performance of the city last week.   It focused on the surprise of the city finding a surplus in a year when it had to raise fees.    It provides an interesting perspective in terms of a citizen observing the council deliberations. 

The article asks what will the city do with the surplus?  It also questions why the money will not be returned to residents of Lake Oswego.  

Council's response to Surplus.

The article provides an interesting perspective from the citizens viewpoint on financial management and political decision making inside the city council.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Foothills Article Draws Significant Public Comment

To All COLA LO Members,

A recent article published by the LO Review promotes the Foothills Redevelopment project.   It claims that the project will provide a very significant return to the city and the developers over time.   The article describes the project and its merits.

However public comment online is strongly against the project and challenges the author and the claims made by the article. Most of the comment asks why if it was such a good project why private developers would not do it on their own without public financing.  

It provides for interesting reading:   Foothills District - Public Questions the project online

Many seem to believe the project is not economic and that if it was private developers would use their own funds to develop the area.   Others are concerned that the streetcar is a requirement to ensure the project is economic.   Some even worry that the area will become like Portland's south waterfront with many developments under sever financial strain.

The continuing use of public funds and funding sources remains a constant concern in most of the comments and competing articles regarding the project.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Does the City plan to allow Public Access to the Lake through the new Comp plan and Redevelopment?

To All COLA LO Members,

A recent blog post on Jack Bog's site including its link to another forum suggests that plans are being considered to allow public access to Lake Oswego for all.   The references suggest its all a part of an integrated plan through the planning process including code changes under the new comprehensive plan.

The article suggests that the higher density, streetcar, and parks development are all part of a long term plan to bring visitors into the city and allow them access to the lake.   It makes for an interesting concept and a strong debate over property rights as can be seen in comments on the blog.   The blog link can be found at: Lake for everyone?

This week a member of the LO Planning commission strongly suggests in his article that this is the case and the intent over time.    That may not sit well with existing land owners that have access to the lake.  

The article by the planning commission member can be found at:  What's the future access to Oswego Lake?

The author's implied suggestion is that Sundleaf park now represents an investment by the city to allow for public access to the lake, once foothills and the streetcar projects are completed.   Its an interesting point of view and no wonder Sundleaf cost $8.3 million of taxpayer dollars.   

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mayor Hoffman Challenges Article By Board Member

To All Cola LO Members,

Last week Mayor Hoffman submitted a letter to the editor in the Review challenging the accuracy of a claim made in an article by Board member Dave Luck.    He denied any conflict of interest between his firm and the foothills project developer.   

Citizens weighed in on the details in their comment on the LOR blog for the article.    The details can be found at:

Mayor Hoffman denies conflict of interest

The original article published in the review can be found at the following link: Project costs hard on seniors

Details of a settlement on a previous conflict of interest issue involving the West End Building (WEB) and disclosure can be found at:  Prior Settlement Agreement.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Clackamas County Commisioner Linninger Article Draws Comments from Angered Residents

To All COLA LO Members,

County Commissioner Linninger published another article last week regarding the upcoming ballot measures on Urban Renewal Districts and citizen approval through a vote.    The county commission recently drafted a quick ballot measure to oppose a citizen driven initiative to require a vote for all new urban renewal districts.  

Generally its interpreted that the county commission opposes voter approval of urban renewal districts.   The voter driven initiative would require a voter to approve or substantially modify any district.   These districts are a popular method for elected officials to obtain funding for projects like light rail without any voter approval.  

Commissioner Linninger supports this approach and has drawn the ire of LO residents in the comments on her article on this and one supporting the streetcar to LO.   It appears that she supports the standard party line of elected officials in bypassing voter approval. 

Her article can be found at:   Local Vote or Spin?

Please notify all contacts members and friends. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oregonian Article Blasts LO Appointment Selections Process

To All COLA LO Members,

An article released in the Oregonian over the weekend describes the vigorous debate over recent appointments to the Budget Committee.   There was a heated debate over the appointments at the council meeting this month with assertive discourse over the process. 

The Oregonian article can be found at: LO Budget Committee Article

 In a final vote the council approved the appointments with a 4-3 vote despite strong reservations by three city councilors who indicated the appointments were politically motivated by the Mayor with the assistance of other council members. 

 One applicant was not interviewed and was told their application had been lost.   A formal complaint was made by the applicant.  

The former vice chair of the committee was not reappointed as has been the tradition which was noted by one of the councilors.    That vice Chair has run for city council in 2010 and is rumored to be planning to run again in 2012.

During the discussion Councilor Jordan and Councilor Olson clashed with Donna Jordan claiming that "Lake Oswego was not marysville".   The debate can be observed online at the TVCTV link to all council proceedings.

Please notify all members contacts and friends.   
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