Will Homer's tentacles reach from Lake O. to Portland?
A concerned reader from Portland's southwestern suburb writes:
Last Tuesday night, the Lake Oswego City Council entertained Williams, Dame & White representatives and all their consultants (Otak, Walker Macey, DBG, and about four others), who gave an update on all their planning to date for the Foothills Development. At the end, Dike Dame said, very intently, that he would not "want to look at a sewage treatment plant and he wouldn't want to smell one either."As a Portlander, I'm not up for paying for a streetcar and a major sewage treatment plant just to make Dike and his partner Homer Williams any richer. We're already paying through the nose for the garbage they foisted on us in Portland. Since they are the puppeteers of the Portland City Council and the PDC, their L.O. boondoggle definitely bears close watching, even from up here.
The Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is in the industrial area earmarked for condos and commercial development. Mr. Dame probably didn't know that there are plans to beautify the plant [and other areas nearby -- JB]; however, it probably doesn't matter much. Sometime between now and the start of construction, the plant will probably be declared insufficient to meet the needs of anticipated growth and the taxpayers will be forced to fund a new one somewhere, so that Mr. Dame and his high-end clients will not have to see it....
LO ratepayers are expected to pay about 30% more for our sewer fees when the city finishes with a new, expensive main pipe being installed in the middle of the lake running straight to the Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant on Foothills Road. The Sanitary Sewer Department operates and maintains 200 miles of collection system and ten pump stations, all of which eventually empty into the Tryon Creek plant.
The plant is owned and operated by the City of Portland. Considering how the politicians in Portland love streetcars and development, any changes to the site (plus eventual streetcar construction) would most likely entail costs borne by Portland tax and rate payers. Of course, no one is talking about a new plant yet, but it's just a hunch considering what Mr. Dame wants.
The development is being promised as a place for aging Lake Oswegans to retire and young singles and families to gain entry (affordable) housing in town. Knowing that the industrial area is entirely in a 100-flood plain, laced with existing infrastructure, sited at the bottom of a steep incline and bordered by 2 PGE substations with only one access point onto Hwy 43 -- the entire enterprise screams expensive, luxury housing. High-rise housing is more expensive to build per square foot than low-rise, but high density will be needed to justify a streetcar and high construction costs.
Dike Dame also said that a streetcar from Portland to LO would be key to gong forward with development. He would have to have a commitment from the city that it was going to spend money to get the streetcar to LO and would move the sewage treatment plant, among other concessions (cut and fill the floodplain, consolidate or move the substations and put in streets, utilities, etc. -- not too much to ask). At the end, the 4 council holdovers from before the last election outvoted the 3 new council members to keep the plan going. Naturally, all the current plans were done with a city grant, so WDW has not spent much, if anything, on this development scheme. I guess we should be grateful they would even consider our town for their next project.