Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Thursday, September 24, 2015

House prices lead the way to wealth

Owning a home has always been a chief means of wealth creation, but never more so than today where urban growth containment has limited the supply of land and raised the price of houses.

The admonition to buy land because they aren't making it anymore, should now be, buy land inside the urban growth boundary because they aren't letting you build on anything else anymore.

Newgeography, March 31, 2015. By Wendell Cox
Piketty's Wealth Driven Inequality: Virtually All In Housing? 

The Economist headline reads: "Through the roof: Rising house prices may be chiefly responsible for rising inequality"

This is no surprise to those of us who have been chronicling the loss of destruction of middle income housing affordability where urban containment policy has been implemented from Australia to Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Matthew Rognlie, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has critiqued the highly publicized work of Thomas Piketty (Capital in the 21st Century) to suggest that rising inequality is largely due to the accumulation of wealth in housing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Portland, it's all about housing

I sure do love the title of Kim-Mai Cutler's lecture.  I wish I was there.

If Portland were to be more "affordable" than it is now, could we handle even more people escaping San Francisco and Seattle?  We don't have to worry about climate refugees - we are in a drought too - we have to worry about rent refugees.  Let's get the bigger cities on the coast to lighten up their restrictions on growth too, to keep Californians at home.

Hundreds of new apartments rise in the Lloyd District.

Is Portland the next San Francisco? 4 takeaways from Metro's discussion

The Oregonian/Oregonlive September 21, 2015 By Luke Hammill

One of the many signs people in Portland are concerned about the cost of area housing: there wasn't an empty seat in the audience for a Metro panel discussion on the subject, and it was Friday at 8 a.m.

The regional planning agency hosted Kim-Mai Cutler, a reporter formerly of Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal who now writes for TechCrunch. At nearly 13,000 words, Cutler's "How Burrowing Owls Lead to Vomiting Anarchists (or S.F.'s Housing Crisis Explained)" provides a comprehensive look at what's gone wrong in San Francisco, where the median rent price, according to Zillow, is $4,600.

It's not quite that bad yet in Portland, where the median rent is $1,700. But costs are rising fast, and organizations like the Community Alliance of Tenants have declared a "renter state of emergency." Metro invited Cutler with the hope of learning from San Francisco's troubles and preventing the situation in Oregon from growing worse.

Four Take-Away Ideas:

People are moving back into cities, but supply can't catch up.
Suburban homes used to sell at a 9 percent premium above homes in Portland, Cortright said. Less than a decade later, the opposite is true: Portland homes now sell at a 7 percent premium.  And yet, there is still a net positive migration to the suburbs.  To each his or her own.
The panel's consensus: rent control and inclusionary zoning don't work
"It drives up the price of housing everywhere else" by further constraining the market-rate supply, he [Cortright] said.
Cutler, with support from other panelists, proposed a land-value tax. It would be assessed on the underlying value of a property regardless of how well it is used or improved.  Cities could then dedicate those revenues toward building affordable housing. BAD IDEA!  Subsidize people, not housing!  Government cannot house people better than the private market.
The 'elephant in the room,' according to one panelist? Parking requirements
"Stop taxing houses to subsidize cars," he said. 
Cortright was also in favor of abolishing free parking in certain neighborhoods in an effort to get people out of their cars and onto public transit and bicycles.  Even people who ride bikes own cars.  LO is essentially a hilly area with only a couple of limited-schedule and extremely limited-route buses.  People here cannot depend on either bikes or buses.  And some developers know that prospective tenants won't rent from them if parking isn't available.  
What about NIMBYs?
But are efforts to preserve neighborhood "character" causing Portland's dwindling stock of affordable homes?
But he cautioned against characterizing neighborhood activists with broad strokes.
"There are a lot of folks in the neighborhoods who are willing to take on additional homes," Spevak said.  OK, so people who don't want to live in stuffed-to-the-gills neighborhoods are selfish?  Nuts!  Some people prefer urban living, some prefer the suburbs.  Viva la difference!  I don't feel guilty saying this - No micro-apartments or clustered tiny housing in my back yard!  

From The Oregonian/Oregonlive, June 19, 2015, By Brad Schmidt
Portland's housing - 94,000 new apartments 

Portland new housing 2010-2035

Single family
Accessory dwelling units
Portland is projected to add about 260,000 residents between 2010 and 2035, a population increase of nearly 45 percent from the 583,776 tallied in the 2010 Census.

MY VIEW: Homeownership not in Metro plan

Portland Tribune, August 18, 2015, By Nate Bond, President of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland

The Metro Council, our regional planning government, soon will consider a series of recommendations that would maintain the existing urban growth boundary and serve to worsen these problems for our region. Moreover, the recommendations fly counter to what we value as individuals and diminish the hopes of those who want to someday own a home for their families.

More importantly, the recommendations would push many families further from ever owning a home. As a result, much of our work force may be forced to move to the edge of our region, into towns outside of our Metro area to find the housing they want and, ultimately, can afford.

In fact, a Residential Preference Study (conducted by Metro, PSU, City of Portland, Washington and Clackamas Counties, HBA and others) found that 80 percent of respondents would prefer to live in detached, single-family homes — in short, the region’s residents will go to where the homes are. Unfortunately, the current recommendations before Metro do not reflect this reality.

Unfortunately, the recommendations on expansion of the urban growth boundary before Metro Council will force many current and future residents to forget the dream of homeownership, thereby taking us one step closer to the untenable situation faced by our neighbors to the north and south.

Bring reality back into growth decisions

Portland Tribune, August 6, 2015 By Editorial Board

The perennial question of whether the Portland area should grow outward or inward is back before the Metro Council, which is required to decide whether the urban growth boundary is sufficiently large to handle a rapidly expanding population for the next 20 years.

There’s a chicken-and-egg quality to the current Metro discussion: Are councilors using legitimate data to determine how people want to live in the Portland area of the future? Or are they first deciding what they think the future Portland should look like and then manipulating the data to justify that outcome?

Hughes and the council should listen carefully, however, because well-documented research is challenging their hypothesis that people moving to Portland — along with many existing residents — will prefer multifamily housing over the traditional home and yard. This issue needs much more thorough analysis before a region’s growth plan can be based on a shaky assumption.

We also are concerned about the consequences — intended or otherwise — of a decision to pack more people and buildings within the existing boundary.

"Active" transportation too cool not to use

Now we're talking!  My kind of "active" transportation.  I don't really think the Smart Growthers mind if people use human power or electric motors or something else to get around - it isn't our good health that is the goal of using bicycles or walking.  Personal transportation is good as long as it isn't the evil automobile that uses evil, carbon-based fuel, and takes up real estate within the UGB.  

Wall Street Journal, by Andrew Tangel  September 22, 2015

New Yorkers Find New Ways to Roll

Self-balancing scooters, electric unicycles and other personal transportation gadgets take the city

They stand on self-balancing scooters, which are often called hoverboards and resemble small Segways without handlebars. The gizmos come with their own safety risks and at least one other drawback:

“You’re going to get fat!” one passerby told Jeremy Epstein, 27 years old, while he rode his in Manhattan.

If two wheels are one too many, riders such as Keith Fridia, who turns 45 on Tuesday, opt for electric unicycles to buzz around. “One wheel—like the Jetsons,” said Mr. Fridia, a barber who lives in Brooklyn. “I do feel like I’m in the future.”

Riders of Citi Bikes, personal bicycles and foot-powered scooters can get a boost with a ShareRoller, a motorized device that attaches to the handlebars and moves the front wheel.

Use link above to read the entire article and for video.

Portland: Life in an expensive bubble

If Portland is too expensive, logic tells us that people would quit coming here and go someplace more affordable.  So far, there aren't refugee camps of immigrants waiting to be housed.  But as long as people decide to cram themselves into micro-mini apartments, the market will accommedate their needs.  Or, they might want to take up their housing preferences with Metro and their state legislators who control the UGB if they actually want anything else.

So far, left-leaning, green Oregonians have trapped themselves and everyone else in these cramped, very expensive bubbles that many do not like and few can afford.  Will these same people vote for the status quo on election day?

Working class priced out, kicked out in new Portland housing boom
The Oregonian/Oregonlive, Jeff Manning, Spetember 22, 2015

Five-story micro-apartment building with no parking, where a single house once stood. 

Enrique Rios, a 26-year-old Los Angeles transplant, lives with his fiancée and small dog in a 250-square-foot "micro-unit" apartment in Northwest Portland. It is the size of a college dorm room with space for a bed, a toilet and not much else. He cooks meals in a communal kitchen shared with other tenants.

Rios pays $995 per month.

Call them "a-pod-ments," or hipster hovels, there are now hundreds of these micro-units in Portland. They are part of a real estate gold rush that is transforming Portland and is propelling housing costs to levels never before seen.

Despite 22,000 new apartments coming on line in the metropolitan area since 2012, more than half in Portland proper, vacancies remain practically non-existent. That has freed apartment owners to charge eye-popping rents -- think $1,200 for a 400-square-foot studio, as much as double that for a one-bedroom.

The average rent in Portland has jumped 41 percent since 2010 to $1,242, according to Axiometrics, a Dallas real estate analysis firm.

Because of the strong in-migration, vacancies hover at just 3 percent, which gives landlords enormous leverage to raise rents. Portlanders suffered a 15 percent year-over-year average rent increase in the 12 months ended in August, the steepest increase in the country, according to Axiometrics.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nothing too old or too small In SF

SFGate, September 21, 2015
By Amy Graff

This is what $350,000 buys you in San Francisco's crazy housing market

Fixer-upper is an understatement.  This
dilapidated shack at 16 De Long St., in San Francisco's Outer Mission District looks like a read-down.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom "beauty" built in 1906 offers 765 square feet of living space and just went on the market for $350,000.  That's $458 per square-foot, which might be considered a "bargain" since the average price per square-foot in San Francisco is $957, according to real estate site Trulia.

"Distinguished home in need of work" reads the listing with Vanguard Properties.  "Contractor Special."

A close up view

of a miniature world

Slow Nature:  A cool website with images of the world around us that takes time and a close-up lens to see.  It's a wonderful trip into another rhealm.  


Monday, September 14, 2015

Who pays for Mixed-Use development?

Why should you care about MUD?  
Because MUD is everywhere, and unless you want to pay for more MUD, 
you need to know why governments and developers want it.  
If MUD isn't a financially sound development type, why build it at all?

Mixed-Use Development (MU or MUD) is the Central Planners' go-to land use style for urbanization and redevelopment for the transformation of our cities, small towns and suburbs into dense, semi-car-free communities.  Why is MU so popular?

Unlike traditional zoning where different land uses were separated by type (E.g.: General Commercial, Residential, and Industrial zones), Mixed-Use combines multiple uses in one building or alongside one another in the same zone (E.g.: apartments on the upper floors of a building that has retail and restaurants on the ground floor).  Zones don't matter much anymore.

Smart Growth and New Urbanism theories of urban planning promote MU as the dominant form of development to create compact, dense, "vibrant" urban communities where the daily needs of the residents can be met within walking and bicycling distance from their homes.  MU promotes reduction or eliminate automobiles in favor of transit that will connect these transit-oriented communities TODs) to Employment Districts and with each other.  At least that's the theory - the utopian ideal CPs are chasing.

So what is the problem with Mixed Use Development?

1.  This isn't the way the vast majority of people want to live.
2.  MU doesn't work.  MU is not economically feasible without significant public subsidies.

Why can't government depend upon the private market to take care of the supply and demand for MUD on its own?  

1.  Citizen demand for housing types isn't the way government wants people to live. 
2.  Government elites and Central Planners actively spend our tax dollars to control our lifestyles because private industry doesn't care about social engineering, only public demand (profit) for their product. 

When demand for development isn't strong enough, governments are stepping up with incentives to make MUDs happen in order to fit their urban plans.  Common methods of public subsidy/help for private developments are: local Urban Renewal districts (TIF funding), new regulations that require MU or make it easier to build, government grants, tax abatements, fee waivers, cash incentives,
transit improvements, public infrastructure (parking structures, road and utility improvements, etc.) and favorable "partnership" agreements.

The recent (May 2014) Draft Development Feasibility Analysis Report for the Tigard Triangle looked at mixed-use development at various densities and concluded that:


Friday, September 11, 2015

SW Corridor and Tigard Triangle moving along

Metro's transformation  of  the  SW suburbs continues 
Some Favorite Metro Slogans:
"Sharing the benefits and burdens of growth"
"_____, the next great neighborhood"
"Live, Work, Play"
"Leave your car at home"
"Shared Investment Strategy"
"Partners" with Metro
"Supporting local communities"

Metro's plans to create Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) throughout the region are coming right along in Tigard.  The key word is "transit" as in High Capacity Transit (HCT) - Light Rail (LRT) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).  Tigard residents voted to withhold money for HCT design and construction without voter approval, but a technical reading of the measure allows Tigard officials to continue with their planning for the Triangle and the intersecting SW Corridor (SWC) Transit Plan.  (Evidently "panning" isn't the same thing as "design".)

With summer over, the two planning efforts are roaring back to life with public meetings and steering committee decisions scheduled.  Even if you can't make it to the meetings, please take the time to read through the plans.  Lake Oswego officially removed itself from the SWC planning effort, however with Tigard just across the freeway, it is naive to expect the transit and Triangle plans won't include our city in some way.  The Kruse Way and the SW Employment districts are on the cusp of the Corridor and will very likely tie into the HCT on ther west side, along with bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The Tigard Triangle plan includes several Lake Oswego bike/ped projects that are in our Transportation System Plan (TSP).  These are designated as Regional Trails, planned by Metro.  They can't happen without significant funding from Lake Oswego as a "Shared Investment Strategy," and though they are on our Capital Improvement Project (CIP) list, there are no plans to do them.

Planning maps are funny things.  Once a project gets put on a map in one jurisdiction, another overlapping planning effort will pick up the project, and it will be copied and re-copied long after the originator took the item off their planning map.  Maps have legal implications, so getting them right and up to date is imperative, and knowing which map supercedes another in authority is critical.  Just labeling maps with the dates they were created would be a great start!   TIP:  The Comprehensive Plan, including all maps contained within it, is the master land use plan for the city.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Congratulations to LO's new City Councilor!


Charles Collins has been appointed as the new City Councilor to fill the vacancy left open with the resignation of Karen Bowerman last month.  Collins has been on the Citizens Budget Committee and served as its Chair.  He will be a fine asset to this Council.

As Mayor Kent Studebaker remarked at the conclusion of tonight's City Council meeting, the city is fortunate to have so many well qualified and eager candidates that stepped up to serve the city.  Each one is to be thanked for their contribution.

And thanks to the Council for the smooth selection process and the great results!


 Just say "Nope to Dope!" 

From the Lake Oswego website:

Marijuana Facilities

City Council is looking for your input.
Would you advise the City Council to place on the November 2016 ballot a city-wide prohibition on recreational marijuana facilities including dispensaries, processors, producers, and wholesalers, and a city-wide ban on medical marijuana processors and dispensaries?
Send us your feedback, plus read what others are saying, at Open City Hall.  Deadline for participation is 5 p.m., September 15. 

The Council will be considering a draft ordinance at its September 15 meeting. 

I lobbied against legalization of marijuana on this blog in 2014, so it should come as no surprise that I am against having pot shops in Lake Oswego now - or ever.  Included are all the other newly-legal businesses associated with the marijuana industry.  Whatever adults want to do with their bodies is up to them as long as they don't harm others.  But the law itself is giving kids the message that using drugs is OK.  
Some parents will use marijuana in their homes and their kids will be normalized to its use as a recreational drug.  Whatever happened to being an adult anyway?  Is our society bent on being young, carefree with no responsibilities forever?  Believe me, you don't want a generation or more lost in a haze of dope smoke with a compromised future in a strung-out world.  
Use the link above and let the City Council know that you don't want pot in your hometown.  

This is a non-scary site for facts on marijuana with links to more.  

Points to Remember

  • Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.
  • The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds.
  • People use marijuana by smoking, eating, drinking, and inhaling it.
  • Smoking THC-rich extracts from the marijuana plant (a practice called dabbing) is on the rise.
  • THC overactivates certain brain cell receptors, resulting in effects such as:
    • altered senses
    • changes in mood
    • impaired body movement
    • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
    • impaired memory and learning
  • Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental, which include:
    • breathing illnesses
    • possible harm to a fetus’s brain in pregnant users
    • hallucinations and paranoia
  • The amount of THC in marijuana has been increasing steadily, creating more harmful effects for users.
  • Marijuana can be addictive.
  • Treatment for marijuana addiction includes forms of behavioral therapy. No medications currently exist for treatment.

Disclosing conflict of interest

This post is hard.  It's not just abstract, this stuff gets real.  It's what no one wants to talk about.  But before we go on, we need to decide what kind of government we want here.  Can we do better?

The City of Lake Oswego needs a comprehensive definition of conflict of interest, and some way to monitor situations that pose a threat to the public interest.  It is disturbing to see so many individuals and businesses intertwining their interests with city government.  Not surprising, but it shakes one's confidence and trust in what goes on in City Hall.

Since Lake Oswego has declared itself, "open for business," citizens' interests seem to have fallen to the lower rungs of concern.  It is there of course, but as concerned citizens lobby for their neighborhoods and quality of life issues, it is difficult to know if anyone is listening, or if the
City Council and others have already been persuaded how to think.

It takes a very sharp and committed City Council and City Manager to sift out inappropriate influences and associations and be transparent and open to citizen concerns.

As I write this, I thought about the concept of disclosure to ferret out conflicts of interest one might have before they are able to be involved with the city.  This would seem to be SOP.  But as in the case below, everyone knows what the conflicts are up front, but they sign off on a project or plan anyway.

Take the Southwest Employment Area land use planning project for example.

The Comp Plan calls for an EMPLOYMENT AREA, but as the Stakeholder Advisory Committee does its work, the land uses seem to be expanding into housing, retail, entertainment, athletic, restaurant and bars.  Most of these uses have nothing to do with high-density, high-quality employment, but instead an opening of 100 acres to commercial and mixed-use with residential, walkable streets, etc.  I have not heard the term "vibrant" yet, but this isn't over.

The project starts with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee.   

Here is the problem:  Six out of twelve SAC members are in the real estate business as brokers, investors, or both.  (Click on link to see who is on the SAC.) What kind of land use recommendations will come from people whose livlihood is brokering land sales?  You might see more housing and retail and less manufacturing or offices, even though housing has one of the lowest employee-to-land area ratios of all, and retail and food service have low wages.  There is clearly a conflict of interest for people whose income will rise or fall depending upon the results of the committee recommendations.  One broker, Mike Duyn, lives in Washington and was recruited to be on the committee.  Who is Mike Duyn?

Currently Mike Duyn has at least 2 listings in the SWEA, one that he owns.  He and his clients will make a lot more money with more options for developing their land.  As you can read in the flyer for this listing, Duyn has already predicted the result of the zoning effort for the area; there is less employment and more housing and retail/general commercial than one would expect from someone who is advising about an employment district.  Is this a conflict of interest?   Is this why Duyn was recruited for the job? 

This isn't just about Mike Duyn.  There are 5 other real estate brokers/investors working in LO on the SAC.  And this isn't just about this particular committee.  The selection process itself is worrisome if this is the result.   

Monday, September 7, 2015

Third Annual Road Watch

Third Annual
Lakeview Boulevard 
between Summit Driveand Iron Mountain Boulevard 

Lakeview Boulevard is falling into the Springbrook Creek ravine.

Here is the "Before" photo                                       Here is the "After" photo taken on
taken in October 2013.                                             September 5, 2015

In two years, the ground in the photo on the right has eroded so much that a small dog could disappear in the hole between the guardrail and the shoulder of the road.  Even the ivy can't stop the land from sliding downhill.  Beware that there is a potential for injury to pedestrians and bicyclists because the guardrail is so far removed from the shoulder, and because the level of the shoulder has dropped significantly below the surface of the street and is very soft.

This is much worse than in 2013 where the main issues were the deformed guardrail and slumping asphalt.  Of course all of the problems are related and are part of a slope that is failing.  So far, the city's response has been to put down some straw to absorb water runoff from the road and to pave over the cracked and slumping spots.  The straw is going over the edge too.  Ouch!

As you look north towards the Hunt Club, there is another area of erosion (see below).  In these photos, you can see that the eroded soil goes straight downhill to Springbrook Creek.  There are faded markings on the road which makes me wonder if Public Works was planning on doing another overlay on the downhill side of the road.  What would that do?

I'm no engineer, but after the slope is stabilized, the city will need to take care of the storm water on the road.  Is this part of their Stormwater Management Plan?  Where will the water to go - the lake?  Hmmmm.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Californians not welcome

It's the Seventies all over again!  
Only this time, investor sharks are in the real estate pool along with hopeful homeowners.  Guess which one gets eaten alive.

Anti-California stickers found on Portland real estate signs
KGW  Wayne Haverlly

Portland's tight real estate market is leading to some resentment, especially in North Portland where it's tough to buy a house without a bidding war.

It seems people moving here from California are getting the blame.

Real estate signs in North Portland are not welcoming to Californians.  Realtor Quinn Irvine's signa have been slapped with the anti-California stickers in the popular Arbor Lodge neighborhood.

"It really shows what's going on in the neighborhood, lots of anti-development and anti-California feelings because prices are rising so quickly," said Irvine.

A recent KGW News investigation showed that 25-30 percent of the people who move to Oregon each year are coming from California, where real estate values and salaries are much higher.  That trend has been in place about five years and it shows no signs of slowing down.

"Unfortunately Portland's retired hipsters are going to have to get jobs if they want to live in North Portland," said Realtor Mark Charlesworth,
who has had several of his signs removed by vandals

70 to 80 percent of Portland home buyers are not from California.  In fact, the man who just bought Quinn Irvine's listing was an investor from New York.


The reality of the unaffordable Portland housing market:  "Retired hipsters" may have jobs, but with an average income, they cannot afford most starter homes in Portland, even without a bidding war.  

For a home priced at $340,000, with 20% down, a mortgage of $272,000 will have monthly payments of $1,378.00.  Adding taxes and insurance to the mortgage payments would top the classic rule of not exceeding 1/3 of gross take-home pay for mortgage, property tax and insurance payments.  With an average Portland income of $52,657, (not factoring in SS, FICA and other deductions) the total monthly bill for housing expenses should be $1,450 or less.  This leaves $72 per month to cover the tax and mortgage costs (about $864 per year).

US Census Quick Facts.                                     Portland.               Oregon  
Increase in population 2010 a 2014.                               6.1%.                        3.6%
Homeownership rate.                                                      53.4%.                      62%
Multifamily share of home units.                                    38.1%.                     23.2%
Median income per capita.                                             $31,839.                    $26,809
Median income per household.                                      $52,657.                    $50,2 29
Median home value.                                                       $284,900.                  $238,000
Persons per square mile.                                                  4,375.                        40

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Our stunning planet

Digital Globe:  Artist uses Google Earth to photograph our stunning planet, in pics

The Telegraph

Artist uses Google Earth to zero in on fascinating images.  Click on the link to view a gallery of photos.

Deforestation in the Amazon

San Francisco Salt ponds

Brasilia Coty, Brazil

And the new City Councilor is...

...going to be one of these 5 candidates:
  1. Randy Arthur
  2. Dave Beckett
  3. Ed Brockman
  4. Charles Collins
  5. John LaMott
Photo courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, the Council voted to narrow the list of 13 applicants for the vacant City Councilor position to 5.  The top 5 candidates received 4 or more votes - all others received 3 or fewer.  The outlyer on the council was Jon Gustafson who voted for none of the candidates on the above list, while the rest of the council each voted for 4 or more.  

The top 5 candidates will be interviewed at a Special City Council Meeting next week, September 8.  Hopefully a new councilor will be voted on and approved by the end of the evening.  Councilor Gudman pointed out that with a list of 13 questions, at 3 min. for each response, the interviews would last over 3 hours.  Yikes!  Do you have the stamina to watch?

All 13 applications for the vacant council position are in the staff report for this agenda item which can be found on the City Council interactive agenda.  There were a wide variety of applicants, and as I read through them, I mentally made a list of my top contenders.  Some of the new faces had little or no involvement in city affairs, and while I was intrigued with the some of their comments, if I were on the council, I would not select a person who wasn't up to speed with city affairs - especially for a short-term appointment.  

I hope that those who were not selected will get involved in city government in some way This city needs all of its citizens to be engaged and involved, not just the well-to-do and connected. 

The list of interview questions is comprehensive and reads like questions citizens would ask a candidate running for office.  In this case, the Council is the electorate.  This will give you a look at what issues are the hot button concerns in the city.  
  1. How should the funds in our two urban renewal districts be used? Does street improvement and parking seem appropriate?
    How about construction of police and LOCOM facility?

  2. If selected would you run for re-election?
  3. Do you have any thoughts of how the Foothills area should develop? Would that be through
    public or private financing?
  4. From what you know of the process involved in the Wizer Block decision, did the process work well or do you have suggestions for improvement?
  5. Should there be a city-owned building in Lake Grove? If so, what should it be?
  6. Does the City have too much, too little, or the right amount of parks and open space?
  7. Do you support or oppose allowing members of the general public having access to Lake
    Oswego for boating?
  8. Should the Tree Code be modified? If so, how?
  9. If you are familiar with the Sensitive lands program, what do you think of the Council’s
  10. How do you balance individual property rights and societal restrictions? 
  11. Regarding transportation, where should we be spending our resources – roads, pathways, bike trails, mass transit?
  12. You would be a member of the Budget Committee. While the automatic 3% increase in
    assessment happens yearly, the Committee has not increased the tax rate. Do you agree with
    this decision, or favor increasing that rate?
  13. What factors are necessary for the economic health of Lake Oswego? Should we try to limit
    commercial development?