Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Free is not a good price

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but if ever there was... Monday was the time to bite.

An offer of donated land in the Glenmorrie area
along Stonebridge Creek came before the
City Council.  The land is at the end of Poplar Lane - out of the way for most people, parking for only a couple of cars, and work to maintain the forest and control ivy in perpetuity.   On the plus side, it is a beautiful place, there might be a possibility to connect to Old River Rd., and on the future it may look like a good deal.

On one hand, I am very pleased to see that the City Council considered the cost of long term maintenance before approving a purchase or project.  This type of calculus should occur for every new or repaired facility the city owns, but it is not yet (hint) a requirement for capital improvement projects.

Even "free" upgrades to streets and sidewalks in the downtown urban renewal area should have long-term price tags on them.  When there is TIF money to build a new Sundeleaf Park, future maintenance and repairs come out of the oversubscribed General Fund.  When SDC money pays for new park amenities like in Iron Mt. Park, it will be the General Fund that pays to patch roofs and rebuild damaged pathways.  What we buy and build and how we build things makes a difference in the long run and should be part of the design, planning and budgeting process.

And yet... The land donation in question is - was - an offer hard to refuse and too hard to agree to.  In the interest of saving money in the long term for land the city would own forever, the Council, in a 4 to 2 vote, said no.  No:  Studebaker, O'Neill, Manz, Buck.   Yes:  Gudman, Gustafson.  Collins was absent.

On the other hand, I am disappointed.  It sounds like a beautiful place.   Perhaps the Sisters of the Holy Names will take a look and see things differently.

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