Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Planning Commission Gives Administration a Big Turkey for Thanksgiving!

To All COLA LO Members,

In a direct refute of the current City Council the Planning Commission this week voted NO toward changing the zoning of the WEB to general commercial.   

Details can be found in the following article:   Planning Commission Says NO to City Council

The current administration now has egg on its face over the voted sale of the WEB which is contingent upon a rezoning of the area surrounding the WEB.   Its a major blow to the plans of this administration and continues the ongoing rift between planning and the current council.  

Will this administration step in and over ride the planning commission?   Will it attempt to replace Planning commission members, one of whom is currently in a lawsuit against the City of Lake Oswego over public access to the Lake?   

A deep battle is brewing between commission members appointed from prior administrations and the direction of this council.    Its been well known to active community leaders but its now in the public arena.

Is this  a direct challenge to the decisions made by the current administration  or part of an overall plan from the appointees of former mayors Hoffman and Hammerstad?

It sure looks like it and it will be interesting to see how the community reacts to the growing rift between the two functions of local government.  

Stay tuned....


Monday, November 25, 2013

Administration Continues to Receive Criticism from Citizens.

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the current administration continued to receive criticism on its apparent support for high density development in the Wizer block.  A citizen posted the following comment in the LO review.

The details can be found at :  Letters to the editor

‘Contradiction in this presentation’

In the current edition of “Hello L.O.,” Mayor Kent Studebaker informs us that it is the city’s role to ensure that the Wizer block project meets the city’s development code requirements and confirms that an exception would have to be made to allow a fifth story, only to conclude (in) the same article that the ultimate decision maker is Mr. Wizer. 

One needn’t have practiced law to see the contradiction in this presentation. Either the city — a public citizenry of 37,000 people — has the power to refuse exceptions to the code through its elected officials or that power lies with a single property holder. 
During the mayor’s campaign last year, he wrote: “Redevelopment, growth and zoning should preserve and enhance the character of Lake Oswego and none should damage the rights of citizens. ... (T)he city ... should not confuse wise development with increased density in our neighborhoods.”
Those of us who put up yard signs in support of the mayor’s candidacy anticipated that his governing would champion those values, not that he would try to dampen the ardor of Lake Oswegans to protect the character of the city with a shoulder-shrugging misstatement that there was nothing we could do to halt a code-busting decision because that decision lies wholly in the hands of one individual.
Recalling the behind-closed-doors decision making that led to the West End Building fiasco, Lake Oswegans expressed their will against railroading development schemes in last year’s election, which changed the complexion of the city council. But that was not enough. Protection of the city’s interests in protecting — if not further strengthening — existing code requirements calls for active citizen involvement in December’s Development Review Commission hearing and whatever else it takes to protect our city as the Wizer block project grinds to a determination.
John Teton
Lake Oswego

Instead of streetcar, we are facing high density
I had high hopes for our city when voters selected a new mayor and council last fall. 

But it seems only the names have been changed.
Now instead of a streetcar, we get a high-density apartment building in the very heart of Lake Oswego. We get 400 to 500 new residents (and their pets) with no place to park. We get a massive five-story structure on a block zoned for three stories. And we get a substantial influx of cars in an already-crowded city center.
I, for one, do not want my tax dollars subsidizing this project. Many of us have been looking forward to the redevelopment of the Wizer block. But this is not what we had in mind.
Barbara Eden
Lake Oswego

Mayor, council asked to ‘honor campaign promises’

I’m appealing to Mayor Kent Studebaker and the city council to honor their campaign promises of preserving Lake Oswego as a small town with a “village-like” character and to oppose high-density infill.

These promises all conflict with Block 137 design. It appears to me that the developer’s interests have become more important to you than the concerns of your constituents.
Although many of us have supported Wizer’s for many years, I would venture a guess that many customers who are angry about this development as planned, might prefer to take their business elsewhere.
Joanne Sedleniek
Lake Oswego

It seems the community is wondering which direction it took in the last election?

Is the current administration meeting its commitments or allowing others to dictate the agenda?   Many in the community are asking this question and the outcome of key decisions will certainly provide insight into the facts.  

Please notify all members contacts and friends.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

COLA Board Member Asks "Will the Streetcar Return with Wizers?"

To All COLA LO Members,

This week Board Member Gary Gipson released an insightful article on the Wizers property development and identified supporters articles in a unique way.   It seems many of those supporting the Wizer development also happen to be the same supporters of the streetcar project. 

Is the Wizer development really a "backdoor"  method to resurrecting high density and the streetcar into downtown Lake Oswego?  

Its an interesting premise and one citizens are deeply concerned about as opposition to the high density development mounts within the community.  

Will a city council elected to prevent such incursion of density into our community actually approve and fund the project with $5-6 million in Urban renewal funds?

Many continue to ask what is really going on here?  

The article can be found at Is Wizer's the return of the Streetcar?

Is the current council being snookered or are they really supportive of high density and the future return of a streetcar project which will fundamentally change the community.  

Many citizens continue to wonder.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Will Lake Oswego Now Pay Double Taxes For Roads?

To All COLA LO Members,

In a little known effort the Clackamas County Commissioners have had their staff evaluate adding to the already high Lake Oswego Street Maintenance fee.

 This fee is charged on water bills of residents throughout LO.  

The COLA Board has been monitoring this effort and Board members have attended meetings with several county commissioners informing them of the potential for "double taxation" of LO residents and other cities where the city has a road program in place.   

It seems the county commission is bent on imposing another tax even if LO residents already pay one.   That's not a fair system but its designed to once again impose a new taxation tool on residents.  City Councilor Donna Jordan has sat on the C4 committee evaluating proposals for several years.  

The effort was just made public in an article in the Oregonian.   Commissioners Launch Road Campaign.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends and the COAL board will continue to be involved in efforts to ensure LO residents are not "double taxed".  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Again Citizen Questions the Council

To All COLA LO Members,

This week another article was published questioning the councils current direction.   

It exemplifies what many are now saying privately in the community.    In the article below many hear the echo of a common refrain spoken amongst residents throughout LO.     

The article and others below can be found at Reader letters

‘What is the present plan’ for Lake Oswego?
The mayor and council members show great glee and are patting themselves on the back for finally disposing of the practically empty 89,000-square-foot West End Building to end the money drain. I would pat them on the back too if I thought this was part of a long-range city plan, which it isn’t.
The former council thought nothing of spending more than $40 million of taxpayers’ money to build a new 60,000-square-foot library and multistory garage at the far east end of town, when they could have saved $20 million by moving to an upgraded WEB with a large parking lot and near the city’s center of population.
What is the present plan? Not to move the library? Or place the library in an empty school? Or spend $40 million to move it to another eastside location? Same with the city hall. What’s the plan, and how much will it cost us?
Will it be another whopping expenditure like the $115 million water plant we don’t need, that brings in water that is polluted frequently with gasoline, over very costly river and city crossings, when abundant, cheap, Willamette River water is a few blocks away?
Voters preferred not to fund the WEB for an unwanted $80 million recreation center, and polls of certain voters chose not to keep an empty WEB. So? The city should first formulate its long- range plan and poll voters of the entire city (not just eastside residents) to determine if they want to use the WEB to replace crowded facilities cheaply. William Barbat

Will the council pivot its direction or will it continue on its current path?   Many in the community are wondering and asking themselves about the nature of recent decisions.    Its a growing concern within the community as many residents are beginning to feel slightly betrayed.

 How much of an impact will all this have on the election in 12 months?    Only time will tell but its clear residents have strong feelings regarding the matter.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.     

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Citizens are Now Questioning the Council on their Election Promises?

To All COLA LO Members,

Its all now out in the open!!!

As most of us know there has been a growing number of members and residents that have been questioning the actions of several council members.    Its been coming from a broad variety of interest groups and residents for many months.   Many are asking if this is really the council they voted for under the mantle of "change".   

Well this week it seems the gloves are now being taken off and citizens are publicly stating the common concern expressed in hushed tones in many corridors, throughout the city of Lake Oswego.   

This week a citizen published an article that clearly challenges the council to meet their promises.  

In STOP THIS......You Promised a resident makes specific challenges to the administration and the council.    they include the following:

  • Mayor Studebaker, here are your words: “I am committed to preserving ... Lake Oswego” and to “prevent high density infill.”
  • Mr. Mayor, you said on July 11, 2012, “Lake Oswego is a great place, I’d like to make sure we maintain that quality and character of the town. This is a wonderful town, which can move forward in a way that the majority of citizens can embrace.”
  • This council believes it knows better than its constituents what is best for our city. Over and over citizens stated we want to maintain our village character calling for two- or three-story buildings.
  • Mr. Mayor and council, we put you in office because you pledged that you would protect LO from high density and preserve LO’s character. Your constituents do not consider this to be a frivolous matter that will be forgotten. We vote

Its been clear to many members that the political capital gained by this council since the 2012 election has been slowly evaporating and many couldn't understand the direction of priorities imposed since the year began.   Now its become public and it will be interesting to see if the council pivots or continues on its merry way.  

Only time will tell but its clear that 12 months before an election, the electorate isn't as happy as many thought they would be. 

 The reasons why are very clear after only one year under the current administration and what many perceive as not meeting the commitments upon which several officials were elected. 

The question is will another year lead to another dramatic change on the council?   Will citizens begin to famously say in public the lines often pictured in this graphic?

Please notify all members contacts and friends.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

LOSD LEVY Passes By Wide Margin.

To All COLA LO Members,

The LOSD Levy passed by a huge margin Tuesday showing a broad level of support for the operating levy within Lake Oswego.    Despite initial concerns that the public may not embrace the levy, they did with a strong endorsement of support. 

COLA Board member Dave Berg wrote an article for the review specifically requesting that the community show overwhelming support and why it should.   

The article can be found at A Big "Thank You"

In it Berg established that the support for LOSD is strong because the demographics are so unique in Lake Oswego.  This is due to the exceptionally high level of education within our community.   However the fact that this was an existing levy and did not increase taxes also worked favorably for the measure.    Huge Margin

Overall the community benefits from the strong and wide level of support represented by the success of this vote.   It sends a very concise message that LO supports education and prospective residents will most certainly be aware that this is a core element of our "community character".

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.   

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Citizen Claims Council Needs to "Fix Our Streets"

To All COLA LO Members,

Last week a citizen published an article in the review questioning the direction the council has taken regarding its commitment to street maintenance and the decision to purchase $1.7 million in LED street lights.    The article provides insight into the process and history of decision making on this council.  

The article:  Fix Our Streets  establishes some history in terms of the decision making.   At the same time the review published an article supporting the decision on street lights Retrofits Brighten.

Citizens are confused and COLA members have heard very strong opinions on the decision.    It will be interesting to see if the council addresses those concerns or retrofits rather than paving the way.   

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  
Real Time Analytics