Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Friday, July 7, 2017

If you didn't see this one coming...

...you were't looking.  

From the June 22 Lake Oswego Review:
The current regulations, particularly the "Lake Oswego Style" provisions of the Downtown Redevelopment Design District (DDRD) adopted in 1997, have resulted in many attractive buildings, City officials say, but the code can also discourage innovations in building design and sustainability. 
In advance of a July 24 public hearing, the City Planning Department is accepting written comments to help it craft code amendments that address design variances within the DDRD. A public review draft of the proposals is available online at http://bit.ly/2siQKMN. 

I have always thought that having a specific "Lake Oswego Style" (a conglomeration of Craftsman-type styles) throughout the downtown was a bad idea.  We can have a village and not have it look like something out of a storybook.   The downtown is looking like a Disneyland version of "Village-ville", a European-like village in a small(ish) American town where everything starts looking the same.  Different colors and materials, but the mind doesn't wander off to pick up that odd bit of 1060's era office or a 1950s ranch house - reminders of what was here before people decided on a new vision for the town.   

I should be happy there is a crack in the Design Code.  But now that the East End Redevelopment Plan has completed the entire list of projects in the initial plan, and is well into the amended list of projects, the town character is well on its way to being wholly Craftsman style, leaving nothing much of the real history of our town.  Won't new design styles clash with what has been built so far?  How does the City do an about face (if it is indeed that) and incorporate a more liberal view of development design?  It's like trying to alter the flavor or a cake after it has been in the oven awhile.  Can you change the cake and have it be any good? Or are you limited to tinkering with the fillings and frostings that hopefully suit the main cake?  

Why the change in design code for the East End now?  

My best guess is that the big developments in the works are asking for it.  The Halliday project on 3rd and B does not look like they are thinking about the Lake Oswego Style.  The North Anchor development has yet to produce design details that have been published.  

Do codes get changed to suit developers (it's been tried), or should they be changed to accomplish an agreed-upon goal that is separate from whatever a particular developer wants?  What is best for the city as a whole?  

Whether you like the building design below (I do like it), or just want to see a broader variety of styles in town (I do), the how, what, why and what for, need to be answered before the City begins changing codes.  
Images:  Lake Oswego Review 7/6/2017

1 comment:

  1. There have been some design sketches of the proposed hotel that were shown months ago; they did NOT conform to the current code.