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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Condos needed to save Lake Oswego"

The folks pushing further condo-ization of Lake Oswego (with streetcar, of course) have an interesting sales line: Without more high-density development, the city won't have enough property tax revenue to fund the existing level of essential services.

It's Linchpin City all over again.

And so handing out huge chunks of public dollars to developer weasels and the streetcar construction mafia are going to save it? Good luck with that. [Via COLA LO.]

Comments (10)

Someone needs to inform them that if you tie up new development in urban renewal districts and/or give them tax abatements, they don't pay for diddly squat in services for 20 or more years.

But here's my favorite line by far:

"The projection of approximately 12,000 streetcar riders per day by 2035"


"ignores the fact of what is going to happen in the next 20 years without a streetcar."

Yeah, schools may be adequately funded and potholes fixed and the Sellwood would still be standing.

Can't these Bozos at least some up with new and more convincing arguments?

Haven't we heard this whole METRO area will become Soylent Green-ville in 50 years without streetcars enough?

The Oregonian had an even more strongly worded opinion piece by Doug Fish, L.O. Chamber of Commerce board member:


Well, for those of us who live along the tracks (my house adjoins the tracks in the Dunthorpe/Birdshill Neighborhood), when you buy a house next to a public right of way, you should accept the fact that you don't control that adjacent land; the public does

So, hypothetically, that railroad was a freight line until the early 1980s. What if...just saying...Portland attracted a major ethanol plant in SoWa, or that a major industrial company took over the Zidell Marine property and needed freight rail access. Would Mr. Fish bend over and allow freight trains with potentially four Dash 9-44CW, and 100+ cars of corn syrup, to rumble right through his driveway? After all, it's a railroad that predates his home!

And what if Highway 43, another "public right-of-way" were deemed to be widened...since it's a public right-of-way, wouldn't that then negate his views of property impacts?

But the cost to Lake Oswego for the street car line has been estimated at less than $20 million. It's a bargain at twice the price, and it won't come from the city's general fund

In other words, screw everyone else. Would Mr. Fish remain silent on projects that require funding from Lake Oswego, but which L.O. gets little to no benefit from? What's his view of the CRC? Sunrise Corridor? I-5 to 99W Connector? Newberg-Dundee Bypass? After all, those projects are a bargain to those who live in the immediate area as they won't pay the full price - we all do.

But let's be realistic; this street car will still be running in 100 years

Name a road, much less a railroad, that is still running in 100 years. The old electric trains - the Red Electrics - only ran through Lake Oswego from 1914 until 1929 - 15 years. Highway 43 was once The Pacific Highway, until McLoughlin Boulevard was built in the late 1930s/1940s and Highway 43 became nothing more than a secondary route (although to this day it does retain its low numbered ODOT highway number 3 - 1 being Interstate 5, and 2 being Interstate 84 west of Irrigon and U.S. 730 east of Irrigon to the Washington border.)

The long-range benefits are just too immense to ignore for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Exactly how is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Remember...there are still folks who were alive in 1914-1929 when the Red Electrics stopped at Oswego station (back when Oswego and Lake Grove were different communities).

if we don't do this now, it will never happen

Thank you, Scott Thomason. Opportunities come and go...just because we pass up the opportunity today doesn't mean that a better opportunity might not come tomorrow. And we are still trying to figure out why we have to do a Streetcar today...that basic question has yet to be answered.

To bring small-scale, non-polluting, quiet mass transit

Well, buses are even smaller scale and more personal; Streetcars are powered by PGE's coal-belching Boardman Coal Plant, and modern buses (especially hybrids) are very quiet.

Another reason to favor buses over any type of rail lines - bomb scares. Today's bomb scare at the Multnomah County courthouse apparently stopped the yellow and green Max lines from moving south of Pioneer Place. The buses, on the other hand, were routed around the Courthouse onto Broadway, resulting in a bit of a delay, but still able to get to their destination.

Beep-beep! See ya, Coyote!

LO City Councilman Hennagin must not be attending the same, PDOT PDC, Metro, TriMet meetings that some of us have been attending. The agencies say that "we are looking at all the options for Hwy 43 equally"-Express Buses, Trolley, Hwy 43 Improvements, and No Build.

It's funny how these officials even ignore and PR against their own described and directed agenda. They should be called on it. Where is the fairness?

Anyone that claims that they are looking at "all the options" knows that they stack the deck.

The anti-BRT/pro-rail folks consistently throw out that BRT (bus rapid transit) is just as/more expensive than light rail to operate...but what they don't tell you is that they compare one very expensive BRT project (Los Angeles' Orange Line) to the least expensive light rail lines. Infrastructure projects in Los Angeles - regardless of mode - are very expensive due to high litigation and real estate costs; L.A.'s light rail (and heavy rail) lines are also among the most expensive of their type in the nation. Meanwhile, BRT lines in cities like Everett, Seattle and Eugene have been extremely cost effective both to build and operate (while Seattle's light rail line is also among the most expensive thanks to a large tunnel and lots of viaduct work).

Tacoma's "light rail" line (actually a Streetcar) has a cost per boarding ride of over $7.00 - that's twice that of a Portland bus; and even the Portland Streetcar is more expensive to operate than a bus. (It helps that every TriMet bus rider has to pay a fare, but Tacoma's Link and much of the Portland Streetcar allows riders to ride for free.) You won't see any of that in the official reports...

They'll just tell you that bus is more expensive than rail..but ask to see the raw data and it's nowhere to be found...when will Portland wake up to "Railgate"???

Erik H., they might wake up to "Railgate" when a similar petition like Clackamas Co and Milwaukie requiring voter approval of urban renewal comes to Lake Oswego. There are group(s) in LO working on it. Lake Oswego will propose UR to help finance the proposed trolley. Let the voters decide and not a City Council influenced by those who directly profit from UR and Trolleys.

Lee -- you mean LO Mayor Jack Hoffman? His law firm represents the streetcar manufacturer. Along with his obvious zeal for streetcar travel he has a financial stake in the game. Unlike most Lake Oswegans Jack lives in downtown LO and works in downtown Pdx - perfect for a daily ride on the streetcar. And let's face it, buses are just NOT cool enough for Lake Oswegans. LO fired its last Dir. of Economic Development and directly hired Brant Williams - friendster to the Foothills (and SoWa) developers and a member of the Pdx to LO Streetcar consortium. The people who have something to gain from a streetcar are well represented on all committees and councils -- and the rest of us wondering what just happened.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

For those interested in communicating a resounding NO to the proposed streetcar to Lake Oswego, PLEASE attend tonight's Public Hearing, Monday, January 24th, from 5 to 7 PM, at the Lakewood Center, S. State Street & Middlecrest Road.

Your testimony will be part of the public record included in the report to the Federal Transportation Agency. Let the Feds know this proposed project is a boondoggle and does NOT have the support of the citizenry.

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