Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tigard OKs light rail

The Tigard Times, November 17, 2016 By Mark Miller
Light rail measure narrowly passes in Tigard 

It would appear that the ayes have it on Ballot Measure 34-255. 
“Yes” leads with 50.3 percent of the vote on the local measure, which would authorize Tigard's city government to support a MAX light rail line through Tigard, according to unofficial election results on the Oregon secretary of state's website, as of Thursday afternoon. 
    The vote on Measure 34-255 was required due to Tigard voters' adoption of a charter amendment in March 2014 that states that the municipal government opposes any high-capacity transit project within Tigard city limits “as a matter of public policy” unless voters authorize its support.

The planned MAX line is the centerpiece of the Southwest Corridor Plan, a Metro-led planning effort that envisions changes and improvements to transit services in Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, parts of Beaverton, Southwest Portland and adjacent communities. Current plans call for it to run from downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village, serving stops in Tigard along the way.
The project could cost as much as $2.8 billion, with about half of that money expected to come from federal sources. 
Tigard's city charter prohibits the city from levying a tax or fee to pay for light rail construction without another public vote — which would be separate from Measure 34-255 — and Mayor John L. Cook has said he expects Metro to seek voter approval for a levy in 2018.
I bet citizens in Tigard think the light rail is for them and that it will relieve traffic congestion on Hwy. 99W.   They may even think a train will take them to Portland faster than driving.  They would be wrong on all counts.  
When Metro begins a transit (or other land use) plan that involves local jurisdictions (what they like to call "partners" because Metro has no authority to implement a plan in any city without its approval), usually the city's approval comes with local tax dollars and debt.  
Metro gives lip service to their locally-preferred transportation plans and makes citizens think their input counts.  Just like the Lake Oswego streetcar, it doesn't matter if another mode of transit was better or that residents simply preferred something else - if development is wanted, rail transit is what the plan will be.  The rest is PR.  
Metro knows that developers want to see a permanent commitment to transit in an area before they sign on.  Having expensive train tacks nearby that aren't going to disappear anytime soon is preferable to a BRT system that can be converted back to auto traffic if the demand doesn't meet projections or changes.  Developers say, build it and we might come, depending on what the transit will be.  Oh yeah, and we want some funding too. ;-)
Metro's goal of spreading Smart Growth planning and density into every corner of their boundaries depends on selling it to the cities.  It is no secret that Tigard and Metro want more dense development in the landlocked Tigard Triangle; The area has many issues, getting in and out of the area is only one.  People do not abandon their cars because Metro and Central Planners want them to.  Even if the train does not come into Lake Oswego, Tigard's expansion will have major impacts on development in the areas closest to I-5 as was planned all along.

5.6 Porential Development Impacts
A development analysis was not conducted for the BRT alternative. Experience in the region has not shown a substantial increase in development based on the presence of high quality bus service without exclusive right-of-way or a fixed guideway. The key factor in development decisions as observed for both light rail and Streetcar is the permanence of transit service based on a fixed guideway. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Be quiet and thankful."

Benjamin Franklin: On the Internal 
State of America 
[c. 1785] 

   There is a Tradition that in the Planting of New England, the first Settlers met with many Difficulties and Hardships, as is generally the Case when a civiliz’d People attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness Country. Being so piously dispos’d, they sought Relief from Heaven by laying their Wants and Distresses before the Lord in frequent set Days of Fasting and Prayer. Constant Meditation and Discourse on these Subjects, kept their Minds gloomy and discontented, and like the Children of Israel there were many dispos’d to return to the Egypt which Persecution had induc’d them to abandon. At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another Fast, a Farmer of plain Sense rose and remark’d, that the Inconveniencies they suffer’d, and concerning which they had so often weary’d Heaven with their Complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the Colony strengthen’d; that the Earth began to reward their Labour and furnish liberally for their Subsistence that their Seas and Rivers were full of Fish, the Air sweet, the Climate healthy, and above all, that they were there in the full Enjoyment of Liberty civil and religious. He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these Subjects would be more comfortable as leading more to make them contented with their Situation; and that it would be more becoming the Gratitude they ow’d to the divine Being, if instead of a Fast they should proclaim a Thanksgiving. His Advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every Year observ’d  Circumstances of public Felicity sufficient to furnish Employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.

                                                                   Be quiet and thankful.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Election Final - finally

How much money 
does it take to be elected to the City Council in Lake Oswego? 
  • Does money matter in an election?  Yes.  So does exposure and large organizations that sponsor one's candidacy.  
  • Incumbency matters.  Familiarity and lack of conflict are on citizens' minds.  
  • Evidently lack of city involvement is no impediment to being elected. Surprise.
  • Another surprise - the low expense per vote for John LaMotte, a relative newcomer.
  • Partisanship matters.  LaMotte, Gustafson and Kohlhoff came with a defined, well-heeled support group that was not concerned about brining party and political divisions into the races.  Domination was their goal - they achieved two out of three. With Joe Buck, there are now 3 committed progressives on the city council.  Can they set their agendas aside to represent all the citizens of the city? 
  • Special interests also matter.  It doesn't hurt to have the Lake Corporation send letters endorsing a candidate - especially if he/she also lives on the lake and support the same causes- or have supporters with specific business interests.
What is a reasonable amount a candidate should have to collect and spend to enter and win an election in a city of 37,000 people?  Personally, I think anything over $20,000-$25,000 is too much.  
In this campaign, the extra money went into some pretty ugly mailers that we could all do without.  They set the stage for Kohlhoff's job to be more suspect than cooperative.  It is concerning that Studebaker relied so heavily on Elaine Franklin for campaign advice since she has, is and will likely continue to work for developers who have and may want to do business in Lake Oswego.

One way the candidates could save a bundle is to not use marketing firms and fancy photography services.  The end products were no different than those produced by semi-amateurs.  

This is a city election - keep it local - keep it real - keep it nonpartisan.

The Final Tally 

From the November 17, 2016 Lake Oswego Review


(Results will be certified as final and official on Nov. 28; percentages below do not include write-in
Kent Studebaker....10,012 (48.7%) 
Jon Gustafson.........8,001 (38.9%)
Dave Berg................2,555 (12.4%)
City Council
John LaMotte.........11,692 (26.3%)
Theresa Kohlhoff....11,497 (25.9%)
Skip O’Neill............11,303 (25.4%)
Charles Collins........9,934 (22.4%) 

From Orestar - Secretary of State Elections Division (USC)


Kent Studebaker............46,184              Per Vote...........4.61
Jon Gustafson................49,098.             Per Vote...........6.14
Dave Berg.......................8,392*.            Per Vote...........3.28

City Council
John LaMotte................ 9,415.               Per Vote...........0.80
Theresa Kohlhoff..........43,577.              Per Vote...........3.79
Skip O'Neill....................4,020.               Per Vote...........0.36
Charles Collins................9,663.              Per Vote...........0.97  

* Final expenses not yet posted - number here is total contributions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

LA's idealistic affordable housing measure

Here is one example of the unintended, but predictible, consequences of ideology dominating logic, economics, a sense of fair play, human psychology and motivation.

Why would any investor, builder, developer, landlord, or property owner want to get involved with government schemes that will destroy their incomes? Why do the proponents of housing price control measures think it is OK to limit someone else's income, but not their own?  If Person A thinks limiting Person B's income and profit will make housing more affordable, Why don't they volunteer their own incomes for the cause?   (All 64% of them.)

Because it is easier to put the responsibility on somebody else - a group of businesses that cannot fight the overwhelming tide of public sentiment that wants to see something done, but wants someone else to do it.  

In the case of housing, it is always the housing suppliers that the public wants to bear the burden for high costs, even though they are the solution, and not the cause of the problem.  I fear that a lot of misguided and economically-challenged people have no clue about how things work in the real world.  Just because they want something to be true, and no matter how good it sounds, there will always be a reality that rarely agrees.

All the idealistic, utopian planning and wanting cannot make the world to spin backwards.  

L.A. developers grapple with affordable-housing measure passed by a wide margin

Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2016. By Andrew Knouri

Amid a Los Angeles building boom, voters this week overwhelmingly approved new labor and affordable-housing requirements for developers, who have warned the rules could be costly and crimp construction.
  Measure JJJ, which passed with nearly 64% of the vote, requires developers to pay higher wages and build below-market rate units if they get exemptions from key planning rules — a common occurrence in Los Angeles, where the city's zoning is considered outdated.

The measure was pitched by advocates as a way to add more affordable housing in an already expensive city where many new apartment and condo projects are aimed at the luxury end of the market.

“This is pretty devastating,” he (Al Leibovic) said. “It really throws all of our plans to construct an additional 700 units in the city of L.A. into question.”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A house divided

Some would like our government to be divided - in chaos, angry, fighting - in a constant state of emergency.  This is done in the name of change.  Of anti-Americanism.  Of division and hate.  We see it in the streets of Portland and elsewhere, and some people are cheering.  Where do WE want our country and CITY to go now.  

 How do we put the city back together?  

Municipal elections are supposed to be nonpartisan to avoid political and social divisions within a city, but with this election, what was once only assumed, has been confirmed:  An audacious Progressive group staged an effort to garner a majority takeover of the Lake Oswego City Council.  They received help from the Democratic Party structure.  Partisanship is a way for one group to dominate others with one set of ideas - not a charitable or thoughtful way of working with others or representing people who don't agree.  You can't be more divisive than that.  Or more controlling and potentially corrupt.   

HOWEVER -- If all we do is be "civil" to one another and "agree to disagree," we are not really listening to one another, and cannot come together.  

Here is an article from Capital Research Center, a Conservative organization with a message that is bi-partisan - good for everyone to read and take to heart.  

Dear Progressives: Let’s End the Divide and Start Talking Again

Ultimately, we can never unite unless conservatives and progressives start talking again. The message from Clinton supporters in this aftermath is that they cannot understand how Trump supporters came to their views. This needs to change. Because of this vacuum in knowledge, motivations for Trump supporters have been fabricated or exaggerated.

Going forward, let’s recognize that goodwill. Let’s start making the most charitable interpretation of our opponent’s intentions we can imagine. Let’s start listening to what the other side has to say: really listening and discussing, not hearing and disputing. That means making an active effort to engage with opinions opposed to your own. That’s the only way we can bring our two nations back into one and ensure 240 more years.

Click on link for the whole article.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It feels like being on a roller coaster!

Getting sick of politics?
Here are some ups and downs that are a lot more fun!

Top 7 New Roller Coasters of 2016! 

Front Seat On-Ride View!

To annex or not annex

City Manager, Scott Lazenby, has initiated a study
of the benefits (and drawbacks) of annexation for two of the city's 6 unincorporated neighborhoods that lie within the Urban Services District.  Rosewood and Lake Forest neighborhoods have been singled out for the study and potential annexation.

Note:  In a June 6, 2016 report to City Council from Lazenby, the word "annexation" does no appear - the project is now being called "Sewer Extension Options."

The unincorporated neighborhoods are: Birdshill, Forest Highlands, Lake Forest, Rosewood, Southward Park and Skylands.  No serious reason was given for why these two neighborhoods were selected, though many believe it is because of their low property value and the lower income/political clout of their residents.  The official reason given for wholesale annexation rather than done as lots redevelop or septic systems fail is that it is easier to extend city services like sewer lines all at once.

The reason for large-scale annexation is speculated to be to grab new property taxes from these areas to support the city's looming PERS costs.  If this is true, it is a foolhardy "solution" to a financial crisis since residential property costs the city more money in services (roads, sewer, fire and police) than it brings in.

In fact, annexation is no solution at all - more urbanized land, even with anticipated new development, would be a net drain on the city's General Fund, putting the city in worse financial shape than before.  The full effects wouldn't be felt right away, so the influx of dollars would at first give short-term relief to a city financial crisis, but this would not last.  Think of it as a Ponzi scheme - eventually the ability to annex dries up but the need for new money does not.  Any bureaucrat who seriously suggests that annexation is a good financial bargain for the city is either fooling themselves or the citizens.  Annexing would, however, give a city more bonding authority (more debt) than before as well as over-burden existing sewer systems.  (See links at bottom for more information on impacts of [involuntary] annexations.)  Last thought on the subject - it would take hundreds of new homes to pay for one staff person's cost of benefits.  Do we cut costs, or fool ourselves into spending like there's no end to the money supply?

This year, home builders and owners of land within the urban reserves successfully lobbied the state legislature to remove the ability of citizens to choose whether or not they would approve annexations. Some argue that the state intervention into city affairs is contrary to Oregon's doctrine of Home Rule.

This sets the stage for cities to annex large areas at will.  West Linn, in opposition to the new law,  has chosen to continue  having voters assist in making annexation decisions.  To stay within the law, they have instituted a mandatory,non-binding advisory vote on all annexations, giving back to citizens what the state took away.  Future councils could ignore such votes, but that would face political repercussions.

What will Lake Oswego's City Council do?  Will they be more concerned with what citizens want, or with the idea of more money coming into the city - ignoring the money going out?  Many citizens living in the unincorporated areas feel they are living in semi-rural areas and do not want to be part of Lake Oswego or pay higher taxes, fees and sewer lines many cannot afford.  Can LO afford new roads, stormwater facilities and sewer capacity? (See LO Cost of Annexation and Related Fees below.).

Note:  Zoning and density significantly impact tax revenue. Mixed use, commercial uses, taller buildings, smaller lots and expensive homes are preferred.

West Linn Tidings, November 3, 2016. By Patrick Malee
[West Linn] Council adopts new annexation policy

Moving forward, the council will retain sole authority over annexation proposals - in keeping with the new law - but it will also have the ability to call for an advisory vote to assess public opinion.

Shortly after the 2016 Legislature passed Senate Bill 1573, which placed the power to approve annexations solely in the hands of a city’s representative body and prohibited the voter-based procedures seen in West Linn and other cities, the West Linn City Council expressed strong opposition to the bill and vowed to take action in response. 
That action took shape Oct. 10 in the form of a new policy that was approved 4-0 by the council (City Council Jenni Tan was not present at the meeting). Moving forward, the council will retain sole authority over annexation proposals — in keeping with the new law — but it will also have the ability to call for an advisory vote to assess public opinion. Annexations are a two-step process in West Linn, and the initial land use hearing process — which has historically taken place at the City Council before a public vote — will remain in the hands of the council under the new ordinance. 

Lake Oswego, Cost of Annexation and related Fees

Involuntary Municipal Annexation: The Ugly Truth.  Barbara Hunter, Foundation for Economic Education, 9/1/07

Sorting Through The Property Tax Burden,  Tax Policy Center: Urban Institute and Brookings Institution

Cost of Community Service Studies, Dr. Staley, Macinac Center for Public Policy
"Thus, while farm, forest and open lands generate more revenues than expenditures, COCS studies find that "residential land uses . . . are a net drain on municipal coffers: It costs local governments more to provide services to homeowners than residential landowners pay in property taxes."

Calculating the Cost of Community Services Ratio,  Penn State University 

Fiscal Impacts of Different Land Uses, Pennsylvania State University
"In other words, residential land generally costs local taxpayers, while commercial, industrial, farm, and open lands help taxpayers by paying more than they require back in services. These results are consistent with other states’ experiences and with other Cost of Community Service studies from across the country.."

A close-up view of our world

Fabulous photos - Make sure you don't miss the video section!  Weird and wonderful.


Celebrating 42 years of images captured by the light microscope

Nikon’s Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. The Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in microscopy and photography. The video competition, entitled Small World In Motion encompasses any movie or digital time-lapse photography taken through the microscope.

To find out what these images are of, visit the website (link above) and see the 2016 Photography Contest Winners.  

Post election financial update

Post-Election Financial Activity 
and Cost per Vote

Not allof the candidates' accounts are finalized, so the figures here are estimates only.  A few candidates' financials appear to be done, but it's not over until the deadline for posting is reached.

I am including In-Kind Contributions to the total for each candidate as a couple of them are extremely high and represent so much of their contribution total.  In the cases of Jon Gustafson and Theresa Kohlhoff, their campaigns benefited greatly from In-Kind contributions from the Friends of Lake Oswego to which they both contributed.

Note:  I am using only contributions rather than expenses since expenses are not known yet and do not include generous in-kind contributions which count heavily in how much was spent by each campaign.


Kent Studebaker
Contributions        45,229        
Votes                        8,545
Cost / Vote                             5.30

Jon Gustafson
In-Kind from Friends of Lake Oswego:  15,734
Contributions        48,840         
Votes                        6,846
Cost / Vote                             7.13

Dave Berg
Contributions          8,142          
Votes                        2,106
Cost / Vote                             3.87

Charles Collins
Contributions          9,825           
Votes                        8,476
Cost / Vote                             1.16

Theresa Kohlhoff
In-Kind from Friends of Lake Oswego:  18,594
Contributions         44,172 
Votes                         9,660
Cost / Vote                             4.57

John LaMotte
Contributions          14,297                        
Votes                        10,039
Cost / Vote                              1.42

Skip O'Neill
Contributions           4,625
Votes                         9,715
Cost / Vote                              0.48

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

DRC decision on Evergreen development

Images are examples of zero lot line homes on 2 lots, and a single home on one skinny lot

The Design Review Commission finished the Public Hearing relating to the Evergreen Neighborhood Association appeal of the permits for 4 zero-lot line homes on 5th St.

The meeting was televised, and I only caught the last portion of the discussion, but enough to know what the issues were that turned the decision to a No vote on the Permit Approval.  If the builder wants to continue with these plans, he will have to appeal the decision to the City Council.   If he does, I am certain the Evergreen Neighborhood Association will be there to object all over again.

The DRC got this one right.  They concluded that the degree of the requested variances was too much for this residential area.  It was not necessarily that there were six variances requested, or that any one was particularly bad, but that all together they did not present a situation where the end product would be "equal to or better than" the existing code.

Several commissioners felt that variances are for minor adjustments to code, like moving a setback a foot or two for a specific reason, not to maximize the volume of a structure by requesting changes to almost all of its dimensions.  The concept of "equal to or better than" is subjective and presents a hole in the codes that builders and staff can drive a truck through - if there is no criteria for what is acceptable.  Is "better than" a function of monetary value, aesthetic design, or neighborhood compatibility?  One commissioner felt this request looked more like a major, not minor development.

  • The builder had argued that the lots presented a good "transition area" between commercial and single family residential areas, but the zoning code did not justify this reasoning.  
  • The Evergreen Neighborhood overlay was considered seriously; one commissioner stated that the Planning Commission and neighborhood residents had worked many hours over many months to finalize the overlay, and they did not want to undo the benefits the citizens and city had worked so hard for. 
  • It was agreed that there were plenty of examples of quality homes that can be built on skinny lots that would not need variances, so need was not an issue. (In fact, a local architect produced examples of  homes that could be built on substandard lots for the Planning Commission to consider last year.)

The Neighborhood Association will have to wait and see what the builder will do next.  It is obvious he put a lot of time and money into the project as is, but he was also encouraged to do so by our Planning Department that did not require him to abide by city codes.  We need clarity on what the Planning Department can and cannot do with the codes - how to interpret them, and when to allow variances - if any are allowed at all.

The day after

Getting Beyond  Election Day

Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2016 By Steven Bullock
What Ben Franklin Could Teach Us About Civility And Politness 
Politeness sought to escape the bitterness of continuing conflict. Instead of harshness, arrogance and anger, politeness encouraged sympathy, good humor and common ground.

Respecting other people led to goodwill. Continued cooperation was better than grudging consent. Franklin determined never to contradict other people’s statements in conversations. He would instead present his opinions modestly, with due regard to others’ attitudes and feelings.

Politeness sought to escape the bitterness of continuing conflict. Instead of harshness, arrogance and anger, politeness encouraged sympathy, good humor and common ground.

But Franklin did not believe doing the right thing always conflicted with the polite thing. He expressed pleasure at seeing important issues discussed “with decency and politeness,” “without party views, or party heat.” Such interchanges required what we call today “emotional intelligence,” awareness of other people’s attitudes and concerns.


I hesitate to present this next article just because of the title and references to Trump and Clinton within it. The subject is not about the presidential candidates however, but about political correctness and how it substitutes for deference.  It goes on to explain how "conservative" has become a bad word among some, how this came to be, and why conservativism is a force for good.

To some, the article may put liberalism in a bad light, but it makes a comparison between the two concepts in order to explain why one is currently dominate and the other is forced into the shadows.  These ideas are an important step in understanding and respecting how others we do not agree with think.

We may agree on where we are going, but not how to get there.  If we choose the wrong path, we may not get there at all.  As Ben Franklin suggests, with politeness we may discover how to resolve our differences without one point of view dominating the discussion.

Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2016 By Shelby Steele 
Trump, Clinton and the Culture of Deference

Political correctness functions like a despotic regime. We resent it but we tolerate it.

In the broader American culture—the mainstream media, the world of the arts and entertainment, the high-tech world, and the entire enterprise of public and private education—conservatism suffers a decided ill repute. Why?

Deference has been codified in American life as political correctness. And political correctness functions like a despotic regime. It is an oppressiveness that spreads its edicts further and further into the crevices of everyday life. 

"the great Business of Elections"

Dedicated to those who believe that the wisdom of the Founding Fathers is, and will always be, relevant and not subject to the whims of the day.    Up Sucker Creek

Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2016
Notable and Quotable

Samuel Adams

From an unsigned essay by Samuel Adams, published in the Boston Gazette on April 2, 1781, as quoted in “The Writings of Samuel Adams: Volume IV” (1908):
I hope the great Business of Elections will never be left by the Many, to be done by the Few; for before we are aware of it, that few may become the Engine of Corruption . . . Heaven forbid! that our Countrymen should ever be byass’d in their Choice, by unreasonable Predilections for any man, or that an Attachment to the Constitution, as has been the Case in other Countries, should be lost in Devotion to Persons. The Effect of this would soon be, to change the Love of Liberty into the Spirit of Faction. Let each Citizen remember, at the Moment he is offering his Vote, that he is not making a Present or a Compliment to please an Individual, or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn Trusts in human Society, for which he is accountable to God and his Country.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

LO GIG is already OOD

OOD: Out of Date

What makes Lake Oswego think it can compete with a giant and win?  Arrogance can be very costly.  
To see which companies offer internet service in your zip code, click here:  BroadbandNow

How soon will technology be available for wireless internet connections? More or less than 30 years?

Lake Oswego, OR has a total of 25 Internet providers including 

Comcast will launch gigabit service in Oregon early next year
Oregonlive, November 1, 2016  By Mike Rogoway

Google's out. But Comcast says it's in.
The cable TV company said Tuesday it will begin offering superfast internet service in Oregon and Southwest Washington "in early 2017."
Comcast's speeds will run up to 1 gigabit per second, 25 times faster than the federal broadband standard, in this market and several others across the country.
Very few homes need gigabit connections, equivalent to 1,000 megabits per second. Those speeds are faster than almost any web service can support. Netflix, for example, says 25 megabits per second is fast enough for streaming its top-end, ultra-high-definition video.
That may change, though, as a proliferation of household devices put more strain on residential connections, especially in homes where multiple family members are online at once. And the proliferation of faster speeds may motivate companies to create new services that take advantage of those connections.
CenturyLink has already begun replacing its old copper phone lines in Portland with high-capacity fiber, and offers gigabit service in much of the city and in some suburbs, including parts of Lake Oswego and Vancouver.
Comcast's new 1 gig service, by contrast, doesn't require new wiring (it does, in some cases, need a new modem). It uses a technology called DOCSIS 3.1 that is compatible with Comcast's existing cable TV system.

Evergreen fights back - again

Here are Comments from Evergreen 
Neighborhood Residents
regarding a proposed (appealed to the DRC) that is proposing 6 variances that would increase lot coverage and building dimensions and waive certain neighborhood codes.  The bitter betrayal of the planning department when they approvied the Wizer Development in opposition to a Neighborhood Plan is an open wound.  Should their entire neighborhood be up for grabs?

Issue: If RIDs and variances are so easily approved, it reduces our detailed, neighborhood-specific development codes to mere suggestions.  It also opens wide the opportunity for unevn application of code, a common complaint.  

Many believe the incentive for the planming staff to ignore codes established to protect neighborhood character is to boost property taxes by maximizing the size and value of new homes.  The city is facing hefty PERS cost increases and desperately needs an influx of money into the general fund.  New tax money is job protection.  Reducing setbacks and crowding big homes onto lots takes away from our relaxed, suburban and small town feel, and removes more and more big trees from neighborhoods.  Many feel we are losing our town.

Please do not approve this proposed development. What is the purpose of having a code if it can be so easily countermanded? In this case the requested exemptions are major ones, allowing structures out of proportion to the rest of the neighborhood and altering the character of the area.

I urge you to do what the DRC is mandated to do. Be our watchdog. Ensure that development is within the guidelines designed for our area. We moved here over ten years ago specifically because of this neighborhood. Please do not change its character and integrity.
 I am not against all proposed projects in or around the neighborhood, however I strongly believe they should follow att city codes and our neighborhood overlay.  If a land developer is allowed to significantly violate, or get a variance on codes involving setback, lot coverage and wall height and neighborhood overlay, then why are these rules in place at all?  
If it's the developer's job to ask for the moon, then it's our job to reign on the developer with applied designed standards that have been long established from countless volunteer hours spent over similar projects in this community.   

This is a gross example of rule bending.  Please allow no exceptions.
Many of us are concerned that the City is disregarding its own planning codes, codes designed to benefit all of us and not just developers, by allowing variances to the property at 360 Fifth St.  
During the recent past some of the LO planning decisions have been made other than complete an with the various codes and not reflective of our wishes.
Our neighborhood and Lake Oswego in general, r twin value because each home has character and is not part of a development project.  These regulations exist to preserve the character of the neighborhood and to prevent it from becoming a development project.
PLEASE Lake Oswego Planning Staff, DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.  We already have much to contend with that is ruining our neighborhood character, the reason many of live here!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Residential Infill Design Hoax

Residential Infill Design
What it does to a neighborhood.

Evergreen Neighborhood
Development issue:  lot coverage, house size/mass, setbacks, roof projections, wall extensions..

Developer is requesting changes to the development code to allow Residential Infill Design changes to build 4 townhouses that would cover 41% of the lots and allow other exceptions to code that would increase the size and mass of the homes and undo the regular codes and the area code overlay.

RID is a process that allows changes to existing development codes for new development on pre-developed land.  This means, all codes are up for grabs!  Neighborhoods are wondering, why do we have codes or overlays at all if they can be challenged and changed so easily?    

For all documents related to the case, see Project Number: LU 15-0053

There is no reason why the variances need to occur, and the Evergreen NA has proposed options similar to another development on 6th Ave. (Use Link below to read an explanation of Evergreen's objections and counter proposal.)  The developer does not agree.  The permit has been approved by the planning department, however case has been appealed to the Design Review Commission, and deliberations will be held on Monday, Nov. 7.  (Meeting is televised on TVCTV and on the City website. - I think.) The testimony portion of the hearing is done.

Evergreen Neighborhood Association's objections to this development are thorough and well-reasoned.  What happens here will set the tone for all kinds of abuses of code in every neighborhood every time something new is built.  In this atmosphere, there is nothing anyone can count on  anymore.  The war between the Planning Department and Citizens continues.  What will the new council bring - more havoc or peace?

The Planning Department makes the code, the Planning Department interprets the code, and the Planning Department grants variances to the code.  Now we will see what the DRC does.  If the case is appealed further like the Wizer Block development permit, the City Council may hear the case and make the final decision.  How will the City Council treat these kinds of developer applications now and in the future?  How will citizen concerns stack up against developers' desires to upend our codes?  Why do you think local elections are so contentious these days?  It will only get worse.  Developers and builders are fighting over every scrap of land in the city no matter what is on the lot now.  It's ugly out there - one would say uncivil.  If the City Council wanted to bring peace to the land, they could stop all RIDs and variances now and do a review of why they are needed at all.  Don't hold your breath.  

From the Project website:

Applicant Request:

The applicant is requesting approval of the six following RID Review design variances in order to construct two pairs of zero-lot line dwellings:
  •   Reduce the 25-foot front yard setback to 20 feet (Units A and D) and 24 feet (Units B and C);
  •   Reduce the 15-foot combined total side yard setback for each pair to a 10-foot combined total;
  •   Reduce the 30-foot rear yard setback to 20 feet (Units A and D) and 16 feet (Units B and C);
  •   Increase the maximum allowed lot coverage for all lots by 479 sq. ft. (from 25% to 41%);
  •   Allow 100% roof projections into the Evergreen Overlay front setback plane (Units B and C); and,
  •   Allow wall plane extensions (22 feet for Unit A and 12 feet for Units B, C, and D) beyond the 60-  foot long wall plane maximum.
In order to construct the dwellings, the applicant is also requesting the removal of two trees, a 34-inch spruce and 52-inch cedar. 

Did you help pay for this?

Are you proud 
of how your hard-earned money was spent?  
Do you wish you had burned it instead?  
  • Each mailing costs about $7,000* depending on size of piece and how many addresses it gets sent to. 
  • Color glossy mailer count:  FOLO - 8  incl. 3 negative ads;  Studebaker for LO Mayor - 5 incl. 1 negative ad;  Friends of Jon Gustafson - 2;  Friends of Theresa Kohlhoff - 1.  Jon LaMotte and Dave Berg - 0;  O'Neill, and Collins  - Unknown.  
  • Attention: The attack ad that appeared to come from Dave Berg (same colors, font, design, etc.) was a hoax done by Friends of Lake Oswego. See Dave's website: DaveBergForMayor.com     Note: Organizers and contributors of this PAC are NOT Friends of Lake Oswego!
* Full campaign accounting won't occur until after the election.  Look for In-Kind Contributions for unpaid campaign assistance and advertising.

This is all I do anymore - just report about trash.  It really makes me feel bad.  Most people will have voted by the end of the weekend, so thankfully there can't be much more left, although the bad feelings and rancor will continue well past the election.  Great job keeping it civil!

Shall we go through the names of who contributed to the nastiest of the lot?

Local supporters of Gustafson and Kohlhoff whose names are on one of the [NOT] Friends of Lake Oswego attack ads are:

  • Joe Buck, Lake Oswego City Councilor
  • Judie Hammerstad, former Mayor, Lake Oswego
  • Ann Lininger, Democratic State Representative
  • Darlene Hooley, Democratic US Congresswoman, retired

All the mailers I received this season 
plus the Mt. Park letter sent by the Studabaker campaign:

Kent Studabaker  |    Jon Gustafson and Theresa Kohlhoff   

[Not] Friends of Lake Oswego
Those responsible for the attack ads that sullied people's reputations 
should step up and apologize - loudly and publicly!   
Integrity , humility and a sense of shame demand it.