Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Slick, Glossy, and NOT in the Spirit of LO

I have gone on record as opposing the Wizer Block development as currently designed as being too tall, too massive, and not enough setbacks from the street to conform to the residential and small-scale village character of Lake,Oswego.  (See previous posts listed below.)

The opposition to the proposed development has been fierce.  A grass-roots group of neighbors in the Evergreen neighborhood, the First Addition and from all over the city gathered to help fight the monster buildings from destroying the ambience of the town.  Their group is called, Save Our Village.  No website, but they produced a lively Youtube video and have an email address for those wishing to contact them or help their campaign.  Save Our Village is an all-volunteer, shoestring effort to preserve the character and livability of the small town they love.

Of course, the developers, Evergreen Group LLC, and their consultants are not taking this well.  You don't let go of a $92+ million project (with sizable payouts easily.  A recent addition to the team is Christie White - a principal in the development firm, Williams, Dames & White, developers of the Foothills Redevelopment Plan.   The combination of the two forces from different development firms suggests a strongly shared goal of overcoming public reaistance to the oversized projects they propose for Lake Oswego.  The same supporters of the streetcar and Foothills are back again, with support for the large development on the Wizer Block, and lots to say about people who don't agree.  Typical.  The supporters tend to be downtown business owners, political types and "movers and shakers" who have been planning for this for decades.  They forget that a city is made up of citizens.

Their response to the negative public opinion has been to create a very slick, professional website that looks like a creature created by an attorney and a PR pro. The arguments and fact sheets are laid out like an attorney wrote them, trying to persuade a jury by skewing the evidence in favor of the client.  I am not sure who the intended audience for the website is, but I'm sure they are smart enough to see through the glossy images and prose to see it for what it is - just another campaign ad from a hired gun.  They missed the mark by a mile to think the big shots from the big city have more to say than the public.  How can you compare heart vs money?  

As a follow-up on the connection between W& K Development and Williams Dame & White, increased density supports a streetcar, and a streetcar supports increased development.  It would be foolish and dangerous to think that either the Foothills Development or the streetcar have gone away.  The proponents of each are no doubt hoping that in the 2014 election cycle they will gain a majority of supporters on the city council to push their projects through.  Remember that the streetcar and Foothills are "inextricably linked", so that when one died, the other was at risk.  Only the elimination of the Urban Renewal District and the public funding of the project kept it from being built.  And Kessi's block 137 is in a similar position, needing the city's funding to make the project happen.  What ever happened to developers taking great risks for their great rewards?

Past posts to see:
  • The Heart of Lake Oswego
  • The Shape of Things to Come
  • Changing Plans for the East End
  • Wizer Block Back on the Block
  • It's Happening Next Door
  • The Picture They Don't Want You to See
  • Where The Sun Doesn't Shine


  1. You might add that the Evergreen Neighborhood Association (not just a small group of neighbors) is on record against the development as proposed.

  2. I wasn't sure if the NA officially objected to the development - as proposed. Thank you for the information.

  3. Being opposed and several dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks! If ENA is opposed it needs to have a strong position based on codes, not just an emotional "we do not like it". One thing people do not understand is that there is NO, yes no, L.O. code that controls density. So, being opposed to density is OK but what will be told to a quasi-judicial DRC hearing which must by law focus on facts and code?

  4. The Lake Oswego Development Agency (LORA) needs to be terminated. It has lived for more than 20 years, denying to the General Fund-and, other public entities such as the LOSD, millions and millions (and millions) of dollars.
    Its end would remedy much of what's wrong!
    Does anyone know if the citizenry can bring forth such by a Charter Amendment? If so, a citizen/voter initiative should provide the means.

    1. The short answer to your question is YES. Tigard has a limitation of urban renewal districts without a general vote as does Clackamas County. To get one passed here it just takes someone to organize the effort to do it. The lawyer who helped the Clackamas County voters write their amendment would be a great place to start for information and help.