Citizen’s View: Ready to move forward

Letter by Maggie Martin.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 9/24/15

Free speech has been exercised for nearly three years, both by supporters and opponents of the Wizer Block redevelopment. I, for one, am ready to move forward, safe in the knowledge that the new development fits a long-term vision our city fathers had for our downtown and safe in the knowledge that the project meets the highest code standards set with long-term foresight, not only by our city leaders but also by a committee of our citizens.

So exercising my free-speech rights, I am stating that I am disappointed that my taxpayer money has to go toward defending yet another appeal by a diminishing group of opponents. Their latest appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court has such little chance of success that it fits into the category of a frivolous lawsuit.

The City Council, Land Use Board of Appeals and Oregon Court of Appeals have overwhelmingly disagreed with opponents’ arguments. Our state Supreme Court reviews only 6 percent of all cases and has never taken a land use case where the Court of Appeals so resoundingly rejected the legal merits of the opposition argument.

So again, exercising my free-speech rights, I say ‘Enough!”

Vast numbers of Oswegans are excited by the potential this development offers our community. We have heard and listened to all views for almost three years. There are no more new arguments to be made.

Construction begins in a few weeks and, in true Lake Oswego fashion, we will get through that. In two years, most of us will be looking forward, not backward. We will be enjoying our new neighbors, eating and shopping in the new development and taking advantage of all it brings in the way of new property taxes. A new face in the downtown center!

Maggie Martin 

Lake Oswego

Developer unveils detailed timeline for Wizer Block

By Saundra Sorenson.  Originally published in The Lake Oswego Review 8/13/15

Glass Butterfly has agreed to leave downtown Lake Oswego’s Wizer Block a month early and abatement work is now expected to begin on the property “Sept. 1st-ish,” according to developer Patrick Kessi.

Kessi, operations director Seth Henderson, project architect Robert Nobles and representatives from Lease Crutcher Lewis, the general contractor, met Tuesday morning with the Lake Oswego Business Alliance to discuss communications and construction plans for the mixed-use project at A Avenue and First Street.

Among other things, they shared a site and traffic plan that will turn Second Street into a southbound one-way road and reroute pedestrians around the construction site during demolition.

That plan, and the installation of fencing around the property, also has a “Sept. 1st-ish” start date, Kessi said, pending permit approvals and the finalization of last-minute details.

“The building will be vacant,” he said, and actual demolition of the exisiting structure could begin as soon as Sept. 23.

Kessi called last week’s Court of Appeals ruling, which affirmed an earlier decision by the state Land Use Court of Appeals and was issued without opinion, “the best possible outcome.”

“Since 1924, there have been a total of 259 cases reviewed by the (Oregon) Supreme Court that were affirmed without opinion by the lower court,” Kessi said. “Of those, none were land use cases decided by LUBA and affirmed without opinion by the Court of Appeals.

“We are moving forward,” he said.

His opponents, however, may have other ideas.

Attorney Greg Hathaway, who represents Save Our Village and the Evergreen Neighborhood Association, told The Review this week that his clients are seriously considering taking their fight to the Oregon Supreme Court.

“I am in conversations with my clients regarding a potential petition to the Supreme Court,” Hathaway said, “but no decisions have been made.”

Hathaway contends that LUBA disregarded key elements of state law when it affirmed the City Council’s decision to allow the 290,000-square-foot, $93 million project. Specifically, he says LUBA was required to consider three prongs — or elements — of state law when it evaluated a local government’s interpretation of its Comprehensive Plan and land use regulations. LUBA ignored two of those prongs, Hathaway said.

Hathaway said he believes the case could set an important precedent in land use law and so he was surprised by the Appeals Court ruling.

“I think the case deserved a written decision,” he said, “because there is no appellate case law that addresses LUBA’s obligation to address all three prongs. LUBA did not address underlying policy issues.”

But Kessi said Tuesday he is confident the legal obstacles are over at this point — an assertion his attorney, Christe White, backed with statistics.

“It’s notable that the Supreme Court only has a 6 percent review rate overall, so land use cases have even less (of a chance of being heard) than that,” White told The Review.

Some legal analysts would agree, including Lake Oswego attorney Wendie Kellington, who has served as a Land Use Board of Appeals referee. Kellington has not been involved in the Block 137 appeals process, but said the LUBA decision was “fairly unremarkable.”

“The fact that the Court of Appeals chose to affirm LUBA’s decision without opinion would seem to reinforce the impression that LUBA’s decision and the underlying local decision is, as a legal matter, fairly unremarkable,” Kellington said. “One of the things the Supreme Court considers is whether the Court of Appeals wrote an opinion. In all, in my experience, these facts would not bode well for the Oregon Supreme Court accepting review.”

White has represented Kessi in numerous mixed-use development projects, and she characterized the process of getting Block 137 approved — first by the City Council, then by the Land Use Board of Appeals and the state Court of Appeals — as “particularly litigious on issues that don’t have any merit on appeal.”

“There’s a process in place for the review of meritorious disputes on land use issues, and this is the process they’re using,” she said. “I haven’t had cases go this far with this little merit.”

Any petition for judicial review at the Supreme Court level would have to be filed by Sept. 9.

SUBMITTED ILLUSTRATION: PHK DEVELOPMENT - A site and traffic plan released Tuesday by the Wizer Blocks developers would turn Second Street into a southbound one-way road and reroute pedestrians around the construction site during demolition and beyond.

SUBMITTED ILLUSTRATION: PHK DEVELOPMENT – A site and traffic plan released Tuesday by the Wizer Blocks developers would turn Second Street into a southbound one-way road and reroute pedestrians around the construction site during demolition and beyond.

Meanwhile, Kessi and his team said Tuesday that they expect to have permits for demolition and excavation approved and in hand this month. That would allow salvage and fixture-removal efforts to begin around Sept. 1. Demolition of the existing building would begin roughly three weeks later, and “mass excavation” would occur around the beginning of November.

Henderson, the director of operations for PHK Development, said the main building permit application will be filed with the city on Aug. 18 and incorporates a 12-week review process. The project timeline, which was prepared by Lease Crutcher Lewis, calls for crews to begin pouring foundations for the three-building development beginning in early January.

Construction will likely be completed in September 2017, Kessi and his team said.

Henderson told the business owners Tuesday that his three goals for the construction phase are to “minimize impact as much as possible, add transparency to the process, and (provide) a timely response” to questions from the community.

To that end, he released a site and traffic plan that, among other things, calls for a significant tree protection zone along Evergreen Road. The large tree at the corner of First Street and A Avenue also will be saved.

According to the plan:

— Second Street will become a southband one-way road from A Avenue to Evergreen Road. Construction fencing will extend into the roadway to create a delivery and staging area, reducing Second Street to one lane.

— Trucks delivering material to the site will enter on Second Street; those that can be turned around will exit back onto A Avenue, while others will circle around Evergreen and exit on Third Street.

— Sidewalks next to the site along First Street, Second Street and Evergreen Road will be closed throughout the project. The sidewalk along A Avenue will be closed during demolition and then reopened during later phases of the project; during demolition, pedestrians will have to cross to the north side of A Avenue and circle around the work site.

— Parking along all sides of the site will be prohibited, although some existing spots along First Street will remain.

At its busiest, the construction site will host 293 workers; an average of 200 to 225 workers will be on the job at all other times. Matt Baker, project manager for Lease Crutcher Lewis, said plans are in place to mitigate the impact on downtown parking by shuttling workers to the site every day.

“We’ve taken care of a lot of the upfront load on parking by identifying park-and-ride (locations) around town,” Baker said, and many of the subcontractors have already agreed to bring their workers to the Wizer Block from offsite locations.

Construction hours will generally be from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Baker said there may occassionally be some Saturday shifts.

The general contractor will have a storefront field office at 355 State Street, Baker said. Contact information for key project leaders can be found at timeline-lo137.com; weekly project updates will also be posted at the site and on the project’s Facebook page at facebook.com/TimelineLO137.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or ssorenson@lakeoswegoreview.com.

Judges issue ruling without opinion, rejecting opponents’ argument

Originally published on pamplinmedia.com 8/05/15

The Oregon Court of Appeals has affirmed the state Land Use Board of Appeals’ decision to allow redevelopment of the Wizer Block in downtown Lake Oswego.

The court’s ruling was issued Wednesday morning without opinion, essentially confirming that LUBA was correct when it ruled in April that developer Patrick Kessi’s proposed mixed-use project “easily met the required standard of review” for village character and is consistent with the city’s Community Development Code.

Attorneys for the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and Save Our Village argued before the court last month that LUBA had disregarded key elements of state law when it affirmed the City Council’s decision to allow the $93 million project.

Specifically, attorney Greg Hathaway argued that LUBA was required to consider three prongs — or elements — of state law when it evaluated a local government’s interpretation of its own Comprehensive Plan and land use regulations. LUBA had ignored two of those prongs, Hathaway said.

But the Court of Appeals disagreed, rejecting opponents’ arguments out of hand and indicating that the judges felt the case has no precedential value.

“This means the court agreed with the previous decision of LUBA and that there were no material facts raised by opponents that demonstrated any other plausible interpretation,” a spokeswoman for developer Patrick Kessi said Wednesday. “Therefore, a lengthy written opinion was not necessary.”

Hathaway told The Review that he was surprised and disappointed by the ruling.

“I think the case deserved a written decision,” he said, “because there is no appellate case law that addresses LUBA’s obligation to address all three prongs. LUBA did not address underlying policy issues.”

Hathaway also insisted that the case could set a precedent in land use law.

“I really expected there to be a written decision on that issue,” he said, “so that would probably justify perhaps a petition to the Supreme Court to see if the court would take it.”

Last week, Kessi said he had begun the “necessary preparation” to move forward with the 290,000-square-foot Wizer Block project, which will include 207 residential units and about 36,000 square feet of retail space at the corner of First Street and A Avenue.

He launched a new website — timeline-lo137.com — and a Facebook page that he said will be updated weekly with the latest project news and information. A representative for PHK Development, the company responsible for the project, said it is currently negotiating with subcontractors and has applied for one permit with the Department of Environmental Quality, relating to storm-water control. A tree-removal permit for the property has been tentatively approved by the city.

“What we are doing now is preparation and process,” Kessi said last week. “When we have a Court of Appeals decision, we will responsibly plan for the execution.”

REVIEW PHOTO: GARY M. STEIN - Photos of customers are all thats left of the El Ranchito Mexican restaurant, which closed for good July 31 when its lease at the Wizer Block expired.

REVIEW PHOTO: GARY M. STEIN – Photos of customers are all thats left of the El Ranchito Mexican restaurant, which closed for good July 31 when its lease at the Wizer Block expired.

Meanwhile, only three stores remain open for business at the red brick shopping center as tenants continue the process of vacating the property:

• Glass Butterfly is currently holding a sidewalk sale before its lease expires on Oct. 1 and owner Phil Chizum closes the store for good;

• Wizer’s Fine Wines is still open, with a healthy inventory, as it awaits a tentative grand reopening later this month at the site of the former World Class Wines at 269 A Ave.;

• And Buddy’s Flowers is enjoying an uneasy, temporary reprieve. Florist Tammy Nakashimada said she and her partner were offered an extension a couple of weeks ago, and are hoping to move out by Aug. 20.

Like the majority of his neighbors, Marketing Concepts Northwest owner Ron Brake had cleared out of his space in the Wizer Block by the July 31 notice-to-vacate deadline. But he wasn’t happy about it.

“Originally, we had until the end of the year, then until September,” he said this week. “Then on July 1, we got this eviction notice. To all of a sudden realize you’ve got a 30-day notice, that’s a challenge. We still had a business to run.”

Brake, whose 62-year-old business had long been headquartered in the basement of the shopping center, calls his recent move “pretty straightforward” after a decision to sell the majority of his office furniture and start fresh.

“We’re basically almost paperless these days,” he said, “so we didn’t have a giant amount of files we had to move.”

But the longtime Lake Oswego resident regrets that he has had to change his city of commerce. “We tried like heck to stay in Lake Oswego, but we couldn’t find anything that met our criteria. So we ended up in West Linn,” Brake said, at 1593 Willamette Falls Drive.

Meanwhile, The Juice Box — which has been open for roughly a year — continues to operate at the edge of the Wizer parking lot along A Avenue, and a Salt and Straw Ice Cream cart is operating through at least the end of the month at the opposite corner of the property.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107

PHK Development Inc. Wins Another Major Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                      PHK Development Inc. Wins Another Major Award

            St Johns Marvel 29 Receives U.S. Green Building Council’s Highest Certification

Portland, Oregon – July 28, 2015 Built on re-developed land previously occupied by an old gas station and a vacated restaurant, Marvel 29 has received the top Platinum level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S Green Building Council. This is the highest award and Marvel 29 is the first ever project in the US to receive this award executed under a HUD 221(d) (4) loan program. In addition it is the only residential building in St Johns to receive any LEED certification.

Marvel 29 sits at the base of the iconic St. Johns Bridge and at the gateway to downtown St. Johns. In building the multifamily, mixed – use development the team of developers always assessed first recycled, reclaimed, or sustainable materials which were long lasting and earth friendly.

Patrick Kessi of PHK Development Inc. said “our firm’s intent is to create great quality spaces with timeless materials which are both environmentally and economically sustainable.” He added that his teams paid constant attention during design and construction, to the indoor environmental quality, to the natural light, to fixtures which use less energy and less water and non invasive native plants in the green spaces which have less need for fertilizers or pesticides. Wherever possible, local or regional materials were chosen to reduce the carbon footprint.

Marvel 29 was built with input from the St. Johns community. From developer PHK Development Inc, to architects Ankrom Moisan, to builder Walsh Construction, all major entities involved in this project are based originally and currently in Portland. Much of the functional art work is by local artists and the many gathering spaces, including a roof top terrace with views of three mountains, the Willamette River and the St. Johns Bridge give residents a strong sense of community.

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Wizer developer begins ‘process and preparation’

By Saundra Sorenson. Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 7/23/15.

Yellow tape wrapped around trees and a permit sign posted at the corner of Second Street and A Avenue are the first visible signs that developer Patrick Kessi is moving forward with his plans to redevelop the Wizer Block in downtown Lake Oswego.

Kessi also launched a new website this week and a Facebook page that he says will be updated weekly with the latest project news and construction information. And he’s created contact cards to make it easier for neighbors to ask questions or learn more.

“What we are doing now is careful and necessary preparation, and going through the required processes,” Kessi said. “It is preparation and process, not execution.”

That means no trees will come down and no deconstruction work will take place at least until the Oregon Court of Appeals issues its ruling on efforts by opponents to block the 290,000-square-foot development.

“When we have a Court of Appeals decision,” Kessi told The Review, “we will responsibly plan for the execution.”

Lake Oswego’s City Council and the state Land Use Board of Appeals have both signed off on Kessi’s $93 million project, which would include 207 residential units and as much as 36,000 square feet of retail space on what is officially known as Block 137. All but one of the current shopping center’s tenants have been told they must be out by July 31, and Kessi has long maintained that “everything is moving forward as planned, including the financing, which is all on schedule.”

But the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and Save Our Village have asked the state Court of Appeals to halt the development. Last week, lawyers for both groups told the court in oral arguments that LUBA had disregarded key elements of state law when it affirmed the City Council’s decision.

The Appeals Court can take as long as 90 days to issue its ruling, although some observers told The Review last week that a decision could be handed down in as little as two weeks. Attorney Greg Hathaway, who represents the Evergreen Neighborhood Association, said that if the ruling goes against his clients, “then we would have to consider the possibility of taking it to the Supreme Court” because of the likelihood that any ruling would set a key precedent in land use law.

Another possible complication: Phil Chizum, the owner of The Glass Butterfly, says the lease for his Wizer Block store doesn’t expire until Oct. 1, and he intends to keep his shop open until then. Chizum also says his lease includes a “quiet enjoyment provision” and that he expects to be able to “conduct our business in a safe environment for our customers and employees.”

Cutting down trees in front of his store would violate that provision, said Chizum, who has posted “Store Closing” signs on the shop’s windows. But Kessi insisted this week that if the Appeals Court rules in his favor, he will work around The Glass Butterfly and not disrupt its final weeks on A Avenue.

“Our teams will work with the downtown businesses, with the surrounding neighborhoods, with the community at large and the remaining tenant to make sure things go as smoothly as they can for everyone,” Kessi said.

To that end, Kessi said that a new website — timeline-lo137.com — went live this week and will feature weekly construction updates and answers to frequently asked questions. A new Facebook page — facebook.com/timelinelo137 — also is up and running.

Also in the works, according to Kessi:

n The developer will hand-deliver informational flyers to downtown businesses that focus on the potential impact of construction. Fliers also will be hand-delivered to surrounding neighborhoods with construction timelines and other information.

n Cards will be handed out “everywhere” and delivered to City Hall with contact information for everyone involved in the construction project. (See “Who to Call” on this page.) The information will also be posted to the city’s website, Kessi’s website and the developer’s social media page.

n Prior to groundbreaking, the developers say they will host an informational booth at the farmers market in Millennium Plaza Park and a Town Hall meeting that will be publicized with fliers and on social media. And a construction office will be housed on State Street to provide easy access to residents and business owners.

“We want to be a good neighbor,” Kessi said.

Citizen’s View: Downtown can change, retain character

Letter by Erin Preston. Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 6/18/15.

Communities and town centers can change for the better while still maintaining their character and individuality. That is most certainly the case with our community.

Oswego used to be a small mill town. On Second Street and A Avenue, one building used to house a brothel. The population of Old Town in 1880 was 97. In 1960, Oswego merged with Lake Grove to become Lake Oswego. In the center of Lake Oswego, there used to be a Woolworths, a J.C. Penney and City Hall — all demolished to build Lake View Village.

Some may argue that our evolution from mill town to the Lake Oswego of today hasn’t been all good. I would say that for at least 30 years, there has been vision and careful planning to re-shape our town. Today’s city leaders and planners are still shaping our town to meet the changing needs of our community — hence their approval of the Wizer Block redevelopment.

In 1988, architect Donald Stastny was hired to outline an “urban design plan” and project a vision of what Lake Oswego’s downtown could become. The Lake Oswego Review said at the time that it may “mark a turning point in this city’s decades-long effort to reshape its sagging downtown area.”

In 1998, when Millennium Plaza Park was planned, City Manager Doug Schmitz said that “study after study shows how this type of public investment encourages private investment.” In 1999, just before the opening of the park and when Lake View Village was in its early planning stages, The Review said “the redeveloped block and the plaza are expected to bring new vitality to Lake Oswego’s old retail core.” At the dedication of the park, then-Mayor Bill Klammer said that the plaza in the center of our town “is a cornerstone for redevelopment.”

Redevelopment came with the proposed Lake View Village. In June 2000, when the existing buildings that housed Peterson’s Pharmacy, Brazil’s and the former City Hall were demolished, The Review covered the story and said this was “moving a 20-year dream of a redeveloped downtown one step closer to reality.”

The Wizer redevelopment was not conceived in a vacuum. For decades, our city leaders, architects and planners have had a mental image of how our downtown should evolve. With that image go code parameters that affect growth and development. The Wizer project continues what Lake View Village began. It will be built to code with mostly private money, and will live in harmony with its neighbors. It’s concept of mixed use will change our downtown for the better.

Our core is in no danger of losing its character or its individuality because of it. People make up a town!

Erin Preston is a resident of Lake Oswego.

Harmonious Vitality

Letter by Missy Gerber.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 6/11/15.

As some in this community continue to debate the detriments of the Wizer development, I’d like to make a suggestion. Instead of criticizing decisions already made, let’s indulge in some optimistic thinking about the future.

I’m a small-business owner and a member of the Lake Oswego Chamber, and I know firsthand that businesses need economic vitality in order to succeed. Stagnation is a poor business model. As a former student of Forest Hills Elementary and Lake Oswego Junior High, I benefited from superior schools. Our aging population, without another generation behind it, will not be able to sustain the tax base needed for future great schools.

Lake View Village began the economic resurgence of our downtown, and today the assessed value of that development is $25 million. From it comes $414,000 each year in property taxes to help pay for our quality schools and services. Yes, there was opposition to that project. But city leaders at the time saw the future advantages from which we all now benefit.

Thankfully, our city leaders today also see the future benefits of another downtown project. The redeveloped Wizer Block will be built to the code standards established for our downtown. Its street-level retail will attract needed spenders back to our center, and its high-quality residences will keep in town the people downsizing and committed to our community. Young people wanting to stay or move in will be able to afford to do so.

Arguments that the Wizer project doesn’t “fit” are a bit wasted now. Decisions that it does fit have been made. Let’s therefore look optimistically to a future Lake Oswego, where Lake View Village and the Wizer redevelopment will live harmoniously and contribute financial energy to our small businesses and our tax base.

Missy Gerber 

Lake Oswego

Citizen’s View: Downtown history repeating itself

Letter by Ray Phelps.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 6/4/2015

My parents told me many years ago that I could experience history repeating itself if I lived long enough. I have lived in our wonderful community of Lake Oswego for 38 years, long enough to learn that Dad and Mom again provided me with a wise tidbit of information when I was much younger.

Not wanting to leap to a conclusion, however, I did some research to see if memory served me well.

My research of stories and comments in our Lake Oswego Review confirmed for me that history is indeed repeating itself regarding the redevelopment of the Wizer Block and the development of what is in my opinion the very successful and vibrant addition to our community, Lake View Village. Public comments from folks who opposed Lake View Village (LVV) and those of folks now opposing the Wizer Block (WB) are strikingly similar.

 

LVV: “I’m not in favor of such a grand downtown. The size is overwhelming for the kinds of lives we want to live here.”

 

WB: “This plan would overwhelm our downtown and forever change the charm and character of Lake Oswego.”

 

LVV: “First Addition would be overwhelmed by the cut-through traffic, and Evergreen would be swallowed-up.”

 

WB: “… it will add to unavoidable gridlock …”

 

LVV: “I don’t see why the city should be involved so much in the financing.”

 

WB: “A gross dereliction of duty with millions of taxpayer dollars.”

 

LVV: “It would look great in an urban setting.”

 

WB: “The kind of development proposed would be good in the Pearl District.”

 

LVV: “When I look at a development of this magnitude, I think we should go back to the drawing board.” WB: “It’s too big.”

 

Clearly, the critics of our Lake View Village were not correct. It has been an economic asset for our community, adding much-needed vigor to downtown since opening its doors in 2003. My research leads me to believe that the negative comments made by today’s critics will be as wrong about the Wizer Block as they were about Lake View Village.

I believe history will repeat, and the Wizer Block project will be built just as Lake View Village was built. The Wizer Block development will add charm and vitality to our downtown. This project will be built to code and reflect our community’s desire for the project to have a village feel.

In summary, Lake View Village started our downtown village resurgence. The Wizer Block project will continue this resurgence, and we should allow the next development project to start without so much criticism and expensive delay.

Ray Phelps is a resident of Lake Oswego.

Citizen’s View: Most agree: With Wizer Block, the sky will not fall

Letter by John Beardsley.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review 5/28/2015

The 2015 City of Lake Oswego Community Survey is like a breath of fresh air. After two years of opponents of the Wizer redevelopment telling us that if this project goes forward it will be the ruination of our downtown, it turns out that most of us don’t think the sky will fall after all.

Energetic opponents have given us the impression that the majority in our community oppose the project and that in voting to approve it, our city government has lost its way. Yet in the citywide survey, a mere 7 percent of residents said the Wizer decision was a reason for dissatisfaction with our city leaders.

The impact of the very public negativity over Wizer during the past two years can be found in this statistic: Satisfaction with our local government went up a whopping 11 points between 2013 and 2015. “Good decision making” and being “proactive” were mentioned by many as reasons for their satisfaction.

We elect our local officials to make sound judgments on priorities and to make tough decisions. We elect them to manage budgets and spend our tax dollars wisely. We elect them to make decisions that will give us as individuals a quality of life that we want. And we also elect them to have a long-term vision for the future of this community, so that following generations will also have the choice to live in Lake Oswego with its great quality of life. In short, we have high expectations for them.

The council decision to approve the redevelopment of the Wizer Block is part of a long-term vision for the viability of our downtown. It is a vision based on an established city code. In making that decision, our council had guidelines and a rule of law which citizens helped formulate years ago.

Some have criticized that decision, and they have a right to do so. But in their dislike of the project, they have tried to persuade us that a majority of our citizens also oppose that decision and the project itself. The latest community survey shows us that is not the case. A majority of Lake Oswego residents have a very favorable opinion of our city government and its decision making. They rate LO an excellent place in which to live.

Most of us are seemingly not Chicken Little, and on Wizer we have listened to the minority and respectfully disagreed. The survey is indicative of our optimism about the direction of this city. We support the “good decision making” of our city government and we are more than satisfied with their “proactive” approach.

The sky has become bluer over the last two years!

John Beardsley is a resident of Lake Oswego.

Put Godzilla to rest!

Letter by Karen Wheeler.  Originally published in the Lake Oswego Review, 5/27/15

A stranger reading The Review’s May 14 Opinion pages might think a prehistoric Godzilla had woken up from its slumbers and was rapidly descending on Lake Oswego! Two Citizen’s View pieces seemed to tie together the developer of the Wizer Block and the City of Lake Oswego into one giant monster bent on destroying this city.

This community has evolved for the better at the hands of a city government with vision, cooperating with business people prepared to take financial risks and invest in downtown. Lake View Village began that change in 2001, and at the time, some of the same people opposing Wizer thought Godzilla was stirring and annihilation was coming. Turns out the city, in giving 11 exceptions to the code for Lake View Village, built a project that did not destroy the city and is a regional landmark.

The collaboration between the city and the Wizer project developer is not some monstrous conspiracy to destroy the village character of downtown. City Council has resoundingly voted that Block 137 meets the definition of “village character” under the code. The Land Use Board of Appeals has stated that the City’s interpretation of “village character” easily met the required standard of review. My guess is that even if the Court of Appeals considers the opponents latest appeal, they will come to the same decision.

Change done right is not scary. Wizer is being done right. This Wizer project will be built and will be another talked-about Lake Oswego landmark. Opponents can send Godzilla back to his slumbers while Lake Oswego moves forward.

Karen Wheeler 

Lake Oswego