Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Where will our children live?

Have you heard this one before?  

How can "our sons and daughters afford to live in Lake Oswego?"

Anyone who is for large-scale, dense development in Lake Oswego is guaranteed to say this at one time or another.  Kind of pulls at your heartstrings doesn't it?

What about this one?

"We need more sidewalks for people to push their strollers on."

What about Patrick Kessi saying the Wizer Block will be marketed to young professionals (who can afford the high rents he's going to need.)

It's as if economics and sociology have been thrown out the window, but it's really a ploy to get the public off track.

People who propose affordable apartments (i.e.:  dense development) are either naive or are pulling your leg.  If you want your kids to live nearby and they can't afford a place of their own, the age-old solution is to put them in your basement.  Problem solved.

If it's apartments you want, the market sets the price, not you or your sons and daughters.  Who guaranteed anyone a place in the city?  Everyone I know lived somewhere else more affordable when they were starting out and worked their way up to a home in Lake Oswego.  Lake Oswego progeny should have the same privilege of learning what it is to aspire to something more.  It's too bad, but affordability of homes anywhere in the region is more about the UGB and government regulations than anything else.

So who is going to be pushing all of those strollers in our unaffordable neighborhoods? If we're only talking about attracting high-income young professionals, presumably affordability isn't an issue, so No. 1 is off the table.  That leaves sidewalks.  If No. 1 is true, there won't be many strollers to contend with.  If No. 2 is true, well, let's just wait and see if wealthy young professionals (with small children) will want to rent an apartment; besides, apartments in Town Centers have sidewalks.  Neighborhoods not so much, but that is part of the "neighborhood character" and charm the city and citizens want to preserve.

The 3 principal areas left in the city that are up for grabs regarding housing density are:

  • The Southwest Employment Area - currently zoned as Light Industrial which does not allow housing.  Land use planning is currently under way to see what are the best uses for the area.  Zone changes and non-conforming uses could be used in the interim. 
  • Foothills -  currently zoned as Light Industrial which does not allow housing.  Zone changes will be done when land is acquired and development begins.  
  • Kruse Way Employment Area - the commercial zoning already allows dense housing to occur, but new, streamlined codes could intensify the housing mix.  A new "Plan" to see how the area can be revitalized and be used at its highest and best value may change things (just a guess).  
Who will be crying loudest about "our sons and daughters?"  Land owners, real estate brokers, developers, high-density proponents, planners, politicians, and others who have bought into the affordability or density scam.  (Who is making money from all the density?)  The phrase has already popped up at the very first meeting of the SWEA Advisory Committee by a Commercial Broker, Mike Duyn, who moved out of Lake Oswego years ago.  What is his interest in the district?  

Get involved!  Ask city council candidates the tough questions about population growth and streetcars.   Let your Planning Commission and City Council know what you want to see about land use decisions, codes, and funding.  

It's our city after all!  

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