The Story of Betty and Joe
(and what may happen when they replace their leaky roof)
Betty and Joe Williams had lived in Lake Oswego for over 45 years in the same house. They raised their 3 children in the home, they knew all their neighbors, and they adapted the one-level ranch home to their future needs because they planned on staying there for as long as they could. This was the house their children would come home to for the holidays. And this is where they wanted to live until they didn't. Next year they would finally get rid of the old
Betty and Joe were worried. They heard from friends that the city was considering a new rule that anyone putting on a new roof over 1,000 sq. ft. would have to put in an expensive stormwater
Jim and Margaret Summers down the street were planning to replace
might cost about the same as regular concrete, so the added expense wasn't the issue. Was there any maintenance to do for a permeable driveway? Why would the city want them to record the driveway pavers with the deed considering that NOTHING - certainly not a driveway - lasts forever? They were pretty sure they could still visit their children and grandchildren in Texas this year, but best not to count on anything until all the costs were known.
When were the rules going to be voted on anyway? Should they call one of the city counselors?
Betty and Joe wondered how their retirement budget, which they thought was generous 10 years ago, was going to survive the escalating water and sewer rates, and now this "rain tax" that only some people would have to bear. The financial landscape ahead looked scary. Perhaps the government wanted everyone to live in a box in the city and turn the suburbs into forest preserves that a lucky few can walk or bike in, as if bureaucrats and environmentalists know what was here before humans touched the landscape. Where would the next generation live? Young people can't afford this!
Betty and Joe and their neighbors' houses had already lost value with all of the new building requirements and high cost of living facing property owners these days. The stricter the rules, the less desirable the property was. They all agreed that Lake Oswego had changed and it was no longer the city they once enjoyed living in.
The old relaxed demeanor of the town had given way to a fancier, more controlled way of life, with so many rules that neighbors were now spying on neighbors. What ever happened to live and let live? Why does everyone want to control us and our land, they thought. Just thinking about this mess made
Now they understood why those people were fighting against the Sensitive Lands on their property. But what could they do, Betty and Joe thought? Only rich people would be able to afford houses in the future. The City Council still has the choice to fight to turn back the clock - if only. Or, the citizens could vote for a new mayor and council members who would. It may be too late for them and their roof though.
Merry Christmas to all they cheered, but no Happy New Year, they mumbled as they headed for home that night, heads down and footsteps slowed by the huge financial and regulatory burden they all carried.