Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Under the radar

Trying to move things along behind the scenes.

The building permit for the Wizer Block Development has stalled at the Development Review Commission.  When deliberations did not look they would be favorable for their design, Evergreen Group asked for a continuance.  The DRC granted the continuance with NO new deadline to complete the permit process.  This effectively shut down the public hearing process because it was never concluded.  When the hearing is reopened, if the applicant brings an amended packet (altered design), the hearing is re-opened to all public comment (again).

It is my understanding that the DRC can institute a deadline at any time, but to my knowledge, the permit application is still in limbo.  

So, what has to Evergreen Group been doing for the last several months?  Their main objective is to come back to the DRC with a revised design that will resolve the Commission's concerns,mor more to the point, get the darned thing approved no matter what.  The word on the street is that the principal developer, Patrick Kessi, has been quietly been working a "hearts and minds" campaign to win acceptance for his monster development.

USC has not been privy to the tete-a-tetes, mostly with people from the downtown area. So far, I don't think Kessi has convinced anyone that tweaking the old model with a wall pushed a foot or two this way or that while keeping the structure in its 3-buildings form will make any discernible difference.  If that is truly what Evergreen Group is doing, then I would say they have missed the boat on this project altogether.  You can't out Portland into Lake Oswego by slapping up a few stylistic details on a block of woot and steel and calling it good.

Here's some free advice for Mr. Kessi:  Downsize the project so it is truly compatible with its surroundings.  Bring the neighbors into the design discussions.  Understand that people don't move to Lake Oswego because its a mini-Portland, they move here for its small town feel, and part of that is being a good neighbor.  The last thing you want to do is piss off the neighbors with a monster building in their midst before anyone has even moved in.  This demonstrates clearly that the investors care little for the communities they build in, only the profit they can take out of them.

A radically different design will be the only way to win the hearts and minds of the natives.


  1. I have spoken to a few people and heard one or two make public comments about their meetings. It is exactly what you hypothesized - about a 200 apartment project with no fifth floor and no living space on the first floor; other than that, just the same big thing.
    How can the Development Code be changed to prevent such proposals in the future? A lower height limit? A three story limit? Adjustments regarding massing? Some changes are needed and needed now BEFORE any further development.
    There is talk of seeking proposals for the B&1st development (LORA Director at the LORA Budget meeting). Changes need to be made before any North Anchor proposals are submitted. I have not found any changes of significance in looking at proposed code changes but I'm not all the way through them.

    1. The time is VERY SHORT, but the Planning Dept. is going through Community Development Code changes now. Previous posts have discussed code issues. Dates are set to take their proposals to the Planning Commission and then they would proceed to City Council for final approval. The time is NOW to make a difference. This is urgent! Try to be proactive as well as reactive. What do you want? The public shouldn't always be in the position of saying what we DON'T want - then it's too late.