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Wizer Block redesign still 'hugely inappropriate'

There is a saying among professional lobbyists that “everyone has their price.” In other words, if there are enough zeros behind the largess to be doled out — be it money, in-kind products or services — virtually anyone can be persuaded to vote against what seemingly would be in the interest of the majority.

That saying comes to mind with the Wizer Block proposal as it wends its way through the Development Review Commission and ultimately the City Council. Now, as the developer returns to seek approval of the previously rejected proposal with only slight revisions, it would be good to keep that saying — and some basic facts — in mind.

The facts are simple:

-The majority of Lake Oswego citizens do not want greater density in Lake Oswego, and certainly not in the downtown area where streets, traffic and parking cannot support it.

-The majority of LO citizens do not want Millennium Plaza Park ruined by putting a large complex of apartment dwellers who are minimally invested in the community next to it. This was affirmed by the votes of the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and the collective LO neighborhood associations.

-Long-established plans for the Wizer Block specify primarily a commercial development, not residential.

-The last election sent a clear message that citizens were upset with a mayor and City Council that steadfastly refused to listen to the citizenship.

If anyone doubts these facts, I challenge the City to perform a truly unbiased survey of the citizenship on this proposal. While some would believe the developer has made a good-faith effort to modify the proposal to eliminate citizen concerns, my reaction is that it is still hugely inappropriate.

If one lops off the ears of an elephant, it is still an elephant. Despite the voices of political consultants eager to have a signature project, architects working with the developer, business owners who stand to benefit from greater East End density, City staff steeped in the ideology of urban density for everyone and moneyed local investors who stand to profit directly, this project has been stopped, at least temporarily, by the growing awareness of the citizens at large.

I urge all LO citizens to remain engaged and cognizant of these facts, as the Wizer proposal redesign is presented to the DRC on July 21.

Roger Rollins is a resident of Lake Oswego.




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