Wizer Block 137 Chosen by the Lake Oswego Review as Top Story in 2015

From the Lake Oswego Review Online 12/30/15.  See full article here.

Nothing had as much of an impact on the community in 2015 as the Wizer Block, which sits atop The Lake Oswego Review’s list of the Top 10 stories of the year.

1. Older and Wizer

KESSI

KESSI

In 2014, protesters took to the streets in what became a bitter and divisive debate over the future of downtown Lake Oswego. In 2015, they took to the halls of justice in a legal battle that went all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Opponents of the 290,000-square-foot Wizer Block project argued that it was too big and too dense, and that it did not include the right mix of homes and shops for what was always meant to be the city’s retail shopping core. The city’s Development Review Commission agreed, saying the proposed 200 apartments and about 40,000 square feet of commercial space did not reflect downtown’s “village character.”

But in late 2014, the City Council disagreed, setting off a year of appeals by Save Our Village, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and LO 138 LLC, which represented Lake View Village.

In March, the state Land Use Board of Appeals upheld the council’s decision. And in August, the state Court of Appeals affirmed LUBA without even issuing an opinion, rejecting opponents’ arguments out of hand and indicating that the judges felt the case had no precedential value.

Undeterred, Save Our Village then petitioned the state Supreme Court for review. But in early November, that appeal also was rejected with a simple one-sentence statement: “The court has considered the petition for review,” the justices said, “and orders that it be denied.”

That decision “surprised and disappointed” attorney Greg Hathaway, who represented Save Our Village throughout the legal challenge.

“Surprised because we believed we had presented a very strong legal case justifying Supreme Court review to preserve the village character of downtown Lake Oswego,” he said, “and disappointed because Save our Village and other organizations and many citizens of Lake Oswego remain concerned that the Wizer development is too large in scale and will not preserve the village character of the downtown.”

But the decision thrilled Gene Wizer and developer Patrick Kessi, who had been so confidant of the legal challenge’s resolution that they signed closing documents with the city and held a groundbreaking ceremony on the Wizer Block in October — an event that Wizer himself was able to attend.

“It’s good to have it over,” Kessi told The Review after the decision was announced. “We’re excited now that we can keep going forward and produce a project that Lake Oswego is proud of.”

Crews broke ground Oct. 22 on the mixed-use development at the corner of First Street and A Avenue. Final demolition permits were issued days later, and workers have been tearing down the 1950s-era shopping center ever since.

Excavation of the site for underground parking was nearly complete by the end of the year, setting the stage for construction of a project that is now expected to open in Fall 2017.

 

Lake Oswego businessman, philanthropist Gene Wizer dies

Jillian Daley, Anthony Macuk, Cliff Newell and Barb Randall contributed to this story.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 12/17/15

Businessman and philanthropist Gene Wizer, whose impact on Lake Oswego extended from his beloved grocery stores to his deep involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, Lake Oswego Rotary Club, Lakewood Center for the Arts, Oswego Heritage Council and a host of other school, church and civic organizations, died at home Monday night from a type of cancer called multiple myeloma.

He was 77.

“I cannot imagine our town, let alone our church, without Gene Wizer,” said the Rev. John W. Kerns of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Parish, where Wizer was a longtime member and counselor. “He is part of the landscape of the area.”

Kerns and others said Wizer’s health had been declining for some time, so his death was not unexpected.

“I don’t know if people know how generous he was to the community financially and in terms of simple work,” Kerns said. “After every Mass, he would put all the hymnals back in place in the pews, so they would be ready for the next service. He was a humble guy, and no job was too small for him.”

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Gene Wizer talks with longtime friend Dee Denton after groundbreaking ceremonies on the Wizer Block in October.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE – Gene Wizer talks with longtime friend Dee Denton after groundbreaking ceremonies on the Wizer Block in October.

Wizer, a devout Catholic, attended Columbia Preparatory School before graduating from Central Catholic High School in Portland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Portland in 1960, and in 2008, the university — where he served on the Board of Regents for more than 20 years — honored him with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

“To work with all your heart and all your might at a job that isn’t a job, but a pleasure every hour — isn’t that what the best work is? To share your gifts with others, to bring laughter and peace to others, to give them what they need most, food and an open heart and the cheer and respect of their friends and neighbors — this is the essence of community,” the university’s citation read, “and of Gene Wizer’s life as what his neighbors call The Mayor of First Street in the Oregon town he has called home all his life.

“Grocery owner, city developer, beloved benefactor to many Catholic schools and causes, he is what the university most wishes its alumni to be — accomplished but humble, gracious and generous, creative and compassionate, visionary and relentless in pursuit of a better world.”

Wizer was born into the grocery business on Aug. 2, 1938. His father, Jim, opened the family’s first supermarket on Milwaukie Avenue in southeast Portland in 1929 after seven years with Safeway. He moved his business in 1948 to Lake Oswego, where he worked for George Rogers at his store on State Street before buying the business in 1960 and moving it to what has come to be known as the Wizer Block — Lake Oswego’s first indoor shopping center at First Street and A Avenue.

After graduating from the University of Portland, Gene Wizer became manager of the grocery store. He met his future wife, Janet, there in 1966. A teacher at Lake Grove Elementary School, she was purchasing groceries at his checkout stand with one of Wizer’s friends.

“I got her name off the check,” Wizer told The Review years later. “So I called this friend up to find out who she was. I said, ‘Is she Catholic, and is she single?’”

The couple married two years later and raised three daughters, all of whom worked at the family store from time to time.

In 1991, Jim and Gene Wizer expanded their business to a second location in leased space on Bryant Road in Lake Grove. But within months of opening that store, Jim Wizer passed away. And in 2010, facing an expensive new lease and $675,000 in needed improvements, Gene Wizer closed the store to concentrate on the remaining downtown location.

There, his many friends recall, he continued to operate more than just a grocery store.

“He loved his town and its people and the way the store was a village green, a refuge, a safe place, a warm place, a cheerful place,” said Lake Oswego author Brian Doyle, a longtime Wizer friend. “I would guess he gave away a lot of food that no one will ever know about. I would also guess that he knew who was struggling to pay, and I bet he extended a lot of quiet credit.”

Attorney Peter Glazer, who met Wizer when Glazer moved his law practice to Kruse Way in 1985, confirmed Doyle’s suspicions.

“That was just an example of the kind of things he did for Lake Oswego,” Glazer said. “It’s hard to imagine anyone today walking into Safeway and asking for a tab of credit. The world has changed since then. Gene had a high sense of community that will be sorely missed.”

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Gene Wizer (left) was among the dignitaries who used gold-painted shovels in October to break ground on the first mixed-use development to be built in Lake Oswegos core in more than 13 years. Joining him were Mayor Kent Studebaker, developer Patrick Kessi and Bart Ricketts, CEO of Lease Crutcher Lewis.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE – Gene Wizer (left) was among the dignitaries who used gold-painted shovels in October to break ground on the first mixed-use development to be built in Lake Oswegos core in more than 13 years. Joining him were Mayor Kent Studebaker, developer Patrick Kessi and Bart Ricketts, CEO of Lease Crutcher Lewis.

After more than six decades in the red brick shopping center, Wizer decided to close up shop in 2013 and sell the property to developers. He actually had considered selling several times before, but “squashed the deal” with QFC in 1995 over the chain’s refusal to let him continue to operate a deli and wine shop on the property.

He also couldn’t come to terms with Barry Cain’s Gramor Development or with Gerding Edlen, which opted to concentrate on the South Waterfront and Pearl District. A pact with Trammell Crow fell apart in the midst of the Great Recession, but an improved economy and what Wizer called “the right partner” — Patrick Kessi and his PHK Development — resulted in plans for the mixed-use development that is under construction today.

Wizer continued to play a role in the operation of Wizer’s Fine Wines even after it moved from the shopping center to its new home on A Avenue to make room for the new project.

“It was less than a month ago that he stopped in to see how we were doing, how the shop was looking,” said Jim Vincent, who worked with Wizer for 38 years.“He was anxious to get the Christmas lights up.”

Tom Reider remembers the day he began working for Wizer. “May 2, 1989,” he said. “He treated me well and was loyal to me. It’s been a nice family to work for. I’m proud that we are keeping the legacy of his name on the business as an icon in town.”

When it is completed, the Wizer Block will be home to 200 apartments and more than 36,000 square feet of commercial space. Wizer himself attended groundbreaking ceremonies for the project in October, wielding one of the gold-painted shovels reserved for dignitaries.

“I’m delighted that before he died, he was able to see and participate in the groundbreaking of the development on the Wizer Block, because I know that was important to him,” Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker said. “We had discussions, in my role as mayor and his role as a property owner, about that block that’s being put up. He was always very nice, soft-spoken, warm — he almost always had a smile on his face and was very appreciative of anything anybody would do for him.”

Kessi said he would miss working with Wizer on the project.

“Gene Wizer was an incredible man of faith and community,” Kessi said. “He generously gave opportunities to so many people, and I was certainly one of those.”

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Gene Wizer was a longtime member of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club, where he often worked behind the scenes on events like the annual Lobster Feed.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE – Gene Wizer was a longtime member of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club, where he often worked behind the scenes on events like the annual Lobster Feed.

Word of Wizer’s death spread quickly through Lake Oswego, prompting fond memories of a man who touched many lives.

“I can remember when I was in high school, we used the lower parking lot of his Oswego facility for the YMCA fundraiser of installing seatbelts — that was in 1961,” Studebaker said. “Gene was very generous in allowing us to do that. He’s been very generous to the Lake Oswego community for a long time.”

School Board member John Wendland said he first met Jim and Gene Wizer when he moved to Lake Oswego as a kindergartener.

“(They) were my first encounters with going to the grocery store,” Wendland said. “Two of the nicest men ever.  My 84-year-old mother shopped at that store until the last day it closed. The Wizer family did so many wonderful things for the city and donated so much in a very quiet way.”

Andrew Edwards, executive director of the Lakewood Center for the Arts, said Wizer and his family helped contribute to the purchase and renovation of the Lakewood Center for the Arts building and helped with projects at Lakewood for capital improvements over the years.

“The Wizer family had a tradition of philanthropy in the community that is unsung by choice. They preferred to do good deeds for the sake of doing them,” Edwards said. “They wanted to make sure community was first.”

Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr., owner and founder of Pamplin Media Group, was one of Wizer’s longtime friends.

“He was dutiful and wise. He was kind and generous, truly a venerated icon of our community,” Pamplin said. “He was an endowment of those traits from which springs the elevation of mankind. It was my honor to have known him, and his spirit will constantly remain with all of us.”

Community leader Dee Denton met Wizer when she served as the executive director of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce in the 1960s.

“He’s been such a dear friend for many years,” she said. “He was a gentle, loving person. He was very, very kind, and he never said a bad word about anybody to anybody.”

Tris Denton, Dee Denton’s daughter and principal broker at Realty Trust Group, said Wizer “had the best heart, and he was just a real blessing to our community.”

“I also knew Gene through my church, Our Lady of the Lake,” Tris Denton said. “I’ve been at that church since 1962, and I’d always see Gene. He went to Mass every morning, unless he was sick. I’d always see him walking to morning Mass, because I live really close to the church. It’s a huge loss for our community.”

Wizer’s Rotary Club colleagues would agree. Rob Le Chevallier recalled that even after he became ill, Wizer would attend weekly Rotary gatherings and perform “the unassuming tasks of setting up and taking down after our meetings.”

“I also remember that through Wizer’s, he purchased the food for our gift baskets for several years,” Le Chevallier said.

Rotarian Rob Fallow said one of Wizer’s favorite Rotary activities was delivering those baskets to neighbors in need during the holiday season.

“Gene was an extremely unique person,” Fallow said. “Lake Oswego was blessed to have him. He was one of the most giving and kind-hearted people I have ever met. We’re going to miss him.”

Doyle, who collaborated with Wizer at the University of Portland, agreed.

“I thought he was one of the most genuine, unadorned, unegotistical men I have ever met,” Doyle said. “The real man was right at the surface, you know? I’ll miss his open grin and heart.”

Wizer is survived by his wife, Janet; daughters Kim Wizer, Suzanne Wizer and Sara Lamon; son-in-law Chris Lamon; three grandchildren; and a sister, Shirley Wizer. The Wizer family said public services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Parish, 650 A Ave., Lake Oswego. A reception will be held after the funeral Mass in the Parish Hall.

Reporters Jillian Daley, Anthony Macuk, Cliff Newell and Barb Randall contributed to this story. 

Transforming the Wizer Block

Originally published online by the Lake Oswego Review – 11/12/15

Lake Oswego photographer Clifford Paguio’s latest drone photos show dramatic progress over the past week

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW - Nov. 9, 2015: Looking north and west from the corner of First Street and Evergreen Road.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW – Nov. 9, 2015: Looking north and west from the corner of First Street and Evergreen Road.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW - Nov. 9, 2015: Looking southeast from A Avenue and Second Street.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW – Nov. 9, 2015: Looking southeast from A Avenue and Second Street.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW - Nov. 9, 2015: Looking straight down on the Wizer Block, where much of the parking structure and shops along Second Street have been removed.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW – Nov. 9, 2015: Looking straight down on the Wizer Block, where much of the parking structure and shops along Second Street have been removed.

With deconstruction and demolition now underway, The Review is partnering with Lake Oswego photographer Clifford Paguio to produce a visual record of the Wizer Block’s transformation from 1950s-era shopping center to a mixed-use development with homes, offices and shops.

Paguio, a certified nursing assistant and longtime landscape photographer, took up drone photography three years ago as a hobby “to show people different angles and perspectives of the landscape.” The DJI Phantom Vision Plus quadcopter he uses captures high-definition, 1080p videos and 14-megapixel stills; its stabilization technology produces stunningly clear, sharp images and smooth, graceful moving shots.

Paguio will return frequently to the Wizer Block to record the project’s progress in still photos and on video. Watch for them on www.facebook.com/LakeOswegoReview, at www.lakeoswegoreview.com and in the pages of The Review.

His latest video is also available on YouTube:

— The Review

Documenting the Wizer Block’s transformation

Published on the Lake Oswego Review website 10/29/2015

With deconstruction and demolition now underway, The Review is partnering with Lake Oswego photographer Clifford Paguio to produce a visual record of the Wizer Block’s transformation from 1950s-era shopping center to a mixed-use development with homes, offices and shops.

Paguio took these images today, and he’ll return to the site once a month to record the project’s progress in still photos and on video. Watch for them here, on Facebook and in the pages of The Review.

What’s happening on the Wizer Block

Demolition and erosion-control permits were issued for Block 137 on Oct. 21, and vibration monitors were installed. Also this week:

— Smaller pieces of demolition equipment started arriving last week in preparation for removal of the existing parking structure. Crews are stripping asphalt away from the concrete parking lot, which will make it easier to crush and recycle the concrete.

— A traffic-control plan has been implemented on Second Street and will remain in place throughout construction.

— Representatives from Lease Crutcher Lewis, the general contractor, planned to visit adjacent property owners this week to discuss upcoming work and potential impacts. Larger, 50-ton demolition equipment, which will be used to remove the Wizer’s building, was scheduled to be brought to the site.

— Drilling for steel auger piles — for the shoring and soil-retention systems — is scheduled to start around Nov. 5.

 

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW - Oct. 28, 2015: Looking north and west from the corner of First Street and Evergreen Road.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW – Oct. 28, 2015: Looking north and west from the corner of First Street and Evergreen Road.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW - Oct. 28, 2015: Looking east from Second Avenue.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW – Oct. 28, 2015: Looking east from Second Avenue.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW - Oct. 28, 2015: Looking straight down on the Wizer Block, where crews are stripping asphalt away from the concrete parking lot, making it easier to crush and recycle the concrete.

CLIFFORD PAGUIO/FOR THE REVIEW – Oct. 28, 2015: Looking straight down on the Wizer Block, where crews are stripping asphalt away from the concrete parking lot, making it easier to crush and recycle the concrete.

Kessi, Wizer, city sign off on closing documents for development of Block 137

Written by Saundra Sorenson .  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 10/22/15.

It’s official.

Developer Patrick Kessi, property owner Gene Wizer and representatives for the city signed closing documents this week on Block 137, clearing the way for the first mixed-use development to be built in downtown Lake Oswego in more than 13 years.

Those documents were filed with the Clackamas County Clerk’s Office on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not released, although funding for the $93 million project reportedly will come from a real estate equity trust that represents more than 320 pension funds in the United States.

The trust is not named in the new paperwork, but sources tell The Review that it has more than $5.9 billion in net assets, making it one of the largest real estate equity funds in the U.S. The fund invests in office buildings, warehouses, flex/research and development facilities, apartments and retail centers.

The fund’s properties generally meet LEED green-building and Energy Star standards. It also requires that all contractors working on its properties be covered by collective bargaining agreements with trade unions, The Review has learned.

“The developer has found an equity partner that is willing to provide sufficient funds so that no debt would be necessary for this particular project,” Redevelopment Director Brant Williams told The Review, calling the financing option “positive.”

“We will no longer have an institutional lender that could potentially foreclose on the project,” Williams said.

This week’s closing comes despite ongoing legal issues surrounding the Wizer Block project. Although the City Council approved the development more than a year ago, it has been tangled up in a series of appeals.

Both the state Land Use Board of Appeals and the state Court of Appeals upheld the council’s decision when it was challenged by Save Our Village, the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and LO 138 LLC, which represents Lake View Village. Save Our Village has now petitioned the state Supreme Court for review, but it may be another month or so before the court decides whether to hear the case.

Kessi and his partners remain confident in the eventual outcome, however, as does the city. Earlier this month, the City Council voted unanimously to amend the city’s development agreement with Evergreen Group to reflect Kessi’s plan to proceed with construction despite the contingencies.

Williams explained to the council that although the developer was confident enough in a favorable legal outcome to move ahead on closing the deal, the city could not do the same.

“In the current agreement, (the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency) is required to make our first payment at closing,” Williams said. “We’re also required to not make a payment until all contingencies are met.”

The amendment to the development agreement specifies that LORA will not be required to put any money toward the project until the state Supreme Court petition has been resolved.

“This provides the most protection for the funds the Redevelopment Agency is putting forward into this project,” Williams said.

With the sale complete and financing in place, Kessi and general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis prepared to move forward with deconstruction and demolition of the 1950s-era shopping center at the corner of First Street and A Avenue. The red brick building will be replaced by a 290,000-square-foot, mixxed-use development with 200 apartments and nearly 43,000 square feet of commercial space. The project will also include 430 parking spaces, 135 of which will be for public parking.

Williams told The Review that final demolition and erosion-control permits were issued Wednesday morning, and Kessi said he expects work to begin immediately. Construction fencing already surrounds the site, and crews have been preparing the building for demolition for several weeks.

Part of that effort has involved saving some of the iconic pieces of the property, according to Seth Henderson of PHK Development Inc.

Henderson said it took some time for crews to figure out how to remove the 10 shephard’s hook light fixtures surrounding the Wizer Block’s parking lot, but the lenses have been removed, electrical connections have been severed and workers were expected to cut the bolts that attach the light poles to their concrete bases this week. Henderson said he is working with the city and its Historic Resources Advisory Board to transport the light posts for storage.

“Along with the El Ranchito and Wizer signs, (interior wooden beams) and tile mosaics, I think we managed to fulfill all the salvage requests received to date,” Henderson said.

Construction on the Wizer Block is expected to take 22-24 months, with an estimated completion date of fall 2017.

Contact Saundra Sorenson

 

Groundbreaking sets the stage for Wizer Block construction

Story written by Saundra Sorenson.  Originally publish on the Lake Oswego Review website 10/19/2015.

It was only four shovelfuls of dirt, tossed into a waiting skid-steer loader. But for the honorary construction workers who gathered in the southeast parking lot of the Wizer Block this morning, the act was momentous.

Mayor Kent Studebaker, Evergreen Group Principal Patrick Kessi, Lease Crutcher Lewis CEO Bart Ricketts and property owner Gene Wizer wielded gold shovels Monday for the official groundbreaking on Block 137, where a $93 million, 290,000-square-foot development will become the first mixed-use project to be built in downtown Lake Oswego in 13 years.

When it is completed in late 2017, the development at the corner of First Street and A Avenue will include 200 residential units, almost 43,000 square feet of commercial space and parking for 430 cars, of which 135 spaces will be for public parking.

For Wizer, the occasion was “bittersweet.”

“My first thought 19-and-a-half years ago was to remodel the building,” Wizer told The Review. “I had three or four architects (draft) designs for remodeling. But my immediate family said, ‘We’re not going to do a remodel; we want to do a redevelopment.’ Then I met Pat (Kessi) five years ago — he’s such a great guy.”

Wizer will retain an ownership stake in the development, along with the Kessi’s PHK Development Inc. and an as-yet-unnamed equity partner.

Kessi called the groundbreaking a “tremendous milestone” for the project.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Developer Patrick Kessi addessses a crowd of 200 community members who gathered for the Wizer Block groundbeaking on Monday. Looking on (from left): Bart Ricketts, CEO of Lease Crutcher Lewis, the projects general contractor; Mayor Kent Studebaker; Keith Dickerson, executive director of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce; longtime Lake Oswego resident Dee Denton; and City Councilor Skip ONeill.

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE – Developer Patrick Kessi addessses a crowd of 200 community members who gathered for the Wizer Block groundbeaking on Monday. Looking on (from left): Bart Ricketts, CEO of Lease Crutcher Lewis, the projects general contractor; Mayor Kent Studebaker; Keith Dickerson, executive director of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce; longtime Lake Oswego resident Dee Denton; and City Councilor Skip ONeill.

“Over the last three years, we’ve definitely collaborated with the community,” Kessi said — a statement that elicited chuckles from some in the crowd of more than 200 city leaders, business owners, Chamber of Commerce officials and neighbors. The project’s contentious approval process saw the city’s Development Review Commission reject the proposal, only to be contradicted by the City Council on appeal.

A trio of community groups — the Evergreen Neighborhood Association, Save Our Village and LO 138 LLC, which represented Lake View Village — formalized their complaints against what they claimed was an outsized project that was incompatible with city development code, appealing first to the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals, then to the state’s Court of Appeals and most recently, to the state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce by mid-November whether it will review or reject the case.

The legal wrangling did not deter the project’s three largest stakeholders, who are expected to sign closing documents with the city early this week. Kessi said the pending decision will have no bearing on the last of the project’s demolition permits, which he expects to pull Tuesday.

Ricketts, a Lake Oswego resident, promised the crowd that his construction crews would prove to be “good neighbors.”

“We have a good logistics plan,” he said. “We’re able to communicate with the community at large, and have people feel like they know what’s going on in their downtown.”

Studebaker was joined at Monday’s ceremony by most members of the City Council. Keith Dickerson, the Chamber’s executive director, and Chamber board president Blake Zoglman also watched as the first shovels of dirt were tossed.

“We’re very excited,” Studebaker said. “We’re excited for the city, we’re excited for the merchants, and we’re excited for all the new residents that will be coming in to enjoy our wonderful city.”

By Saundra Sorenson

Citizen’s View: Looking toward tomorrow

Letter by John Beardsley.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 10/1/15.

How perceptive was the last paragraph in Victor Nelson’s letter to the editor (“Change and progress,” Sept. 24)? At the end of his letter, Nelson included a David Ben Gurion quote — “It’s not enough to be up to date, you have to be up to tomorrow” — which I’d never heard, but which is appropriate for tomorrow’s Lake Oswego.

Tomorrow is an energetic downtown Lake Oswego, with thriving small businesses and new community members contributing to our tax base. I am up for that. Tomorrow is at least $600,000 in new property tax revenue so that we can continue to have great schools, parks, bicycle paths and superior infrastructure and services. And I’m up for that. Tomorrow is jobs, new faces and fresh ideas, and I’m most certainly up for that.

The development on the Wizer Block contributes to Lake Oswego’s tomorrow. As passersby can see, it will be shortly under construction, providing hundreds of needed construction jobs. Sure, there may be some frustrations during the construction period, but let’s look beyond that and at all we will gain as a community when this infill project is done.

Tomorrow is change, and progress, and we must not let tomorrow pass us by. We do so at our own peril!

John Beardsley

Lake Oswego

Citizen’s View: Time for a new name

Letter by R. Bastian Wagner M.D.  Originally Published in the Lake Oswego Review 10/1/15

Having followed the continuing controversy over the proposed Wizer Block development, I feel the dialogue has reached a new and very unfortunate phase.

Having exhausted most of the usual appeal processes, Save Our Village is now pursuing a final appeal to the state Supreme Court. Although this is their right, there also comes a time in most every dialogue to start a reconciliation process, thus ultimately leading to understanding, acceptance and providing a basis for moving forward.

Unfortunately, this latest appeal seems mean-spirited in view of the multiple rejections of opponents’ petitions. By continuing this effort, ill will is being fostered, thereby calling into question the real purpose of the Save Our Village group. It appears their effort now is creating a Destroy Our Village atmosphere by continuing to foster arguments that do not serve the purpose of our community reconciliation process.

The group would be well advised to think seriously about their name and what their current efforts are accomplishing, and upon reflection, begin the more difficult task of moving toward healing and reconciliation.

R. Bastian Wagner M.D.

Lake Oswego

Citizen’s View: Change and progress

Letter written by Victor Nelson.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 9/24/15

It’s been a year since the City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Wizer Block development going forward, followed by two lost appeals by the opposition and now a third appeal from a small group of remaining opponents — a third appeal, I must emphasize, where the odds of success are slim to none.

I understand that logic and gambling have little in common, but I would have thought that before taking the same losing argument to the Oregon Supreme Court, someone knowledgeable in the opposition group might have pointed out to others the logic and the odds of the higher court even accepting the case, let alone coming down in their favor.

Only the same argument that the opposition lawyers have used unsuccessfully before can be made to the Oregon Supreme Court. Surely, since money is involved in funding such an appeal, someone should have pointed out the odds of success? Perhaps they did and the decision to go forward was made anyway. If that’s the case, is the goal of the appeal to try to delay the project? From what I know and can see on the site, delay will not work, either.

What Lake Oswego will get out of this latest appeal is the reputation (set by only a few) of an elite aging community with residents who are burying their heads in the sand and not willing to face the challenges of change and progress.

Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, said, “It’s not enough to be up to date, you have to be up to tomorrow.” The majority of Oswegans don’t want to just gamble with our future. They are up to tomorrow. Change and progress is tomorrow.

Victor Nelson 

Lake Oswego