Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bowerman pleads with residents to participate

City Councilwoman, Karen Bowerman, has resigned her position on the City Council as of the end of August.  The July 30 Lake Oswego Review has a Citizen's View column by Bowerman giving her thoughts on issues facing the city and a hint about why she is leaving Lake Oswego.

Bowerman: 'Viewing Lake Oswego through the front window, not the rear view mirror'

Lake Oswego Review, July 30, 2015  Citizen's View by Karen Bowerman

The commentary is an important piece for all to read.  In it, Bowerman goes into detail about why citizens are frustrated and angry with city government, and how the city is losing the quality of life that people moved here to enjoy.  From codes to budgets, from citizen involvement to failed planning policies, she discusses systemic problems that need to be addressed and suggests some places to start.

Unfortunately, Bowerman is not sticking around to finish her 4-year term as City Councilor to assist her constituents in achieving hers and their goals.  Why not?

The answer, I believe, can be found in one sentence in her very long piece.  While she urges citizens to "respond to the call of action," she follows with the very personal question we must all ask ourselves: "What will we do with the moments of our lives that still lie ahead?"  Her answer is to move away from a deteriorating vision of what the city was, and how the city is changing for the worse.  In her post-retirement years, it seems logical that she would want to enjoy life and not be in a persistent battle with those who want to see the city turned inside out for monetary or political gain.

But while Bowerman is heading out the door, she calls back to the rest of us to do what she cannot: Stay the course.

In my own semi-post-retirement years, I am facing the same calculus.  How long and how hard does one fight the good fight, while neglecting the things that make life worth living?   Especially if, as Bowerman opines, the City Council ignores citizen input. "After days of citizen testimony, a motion is quickly made and seconded and the vote taken, often opposite the content of testimony given, with no discussion about views presented." 

“This is a plea to our residents: Never, ever let such a city or council response be reason not to participate. This is even greater reason to respond to the call of action! 

In spite of Bowerman's plea, the question for my family will be: What will we do with the moments of our lives that still lie ahead?

A special Thank You to the Planning Commission / Commission for Citizen Involvement.  This group of hard-working volunteers has taken to heart it's commitment to engage eneighborhood associations and assist in finding ways to preserve the character of the neighborhoods and the city at large.  

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