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Monday, October 15, 2012

Lake O. is going nine-story-condo crazy

A reader down in Lake O. (Motto: "Keep Out") writes with the latest on the "urban renewal" shenanigans being perpetrated down that way by none other than Homer Williams himself:

Evil is afoot in Lake Oswego, and it's not even Halloween yet. Last Monday the LO Planning Commission held two public hearings on Comp Plan Updates relating to Connected Communities and Foothills Mixed Use (FMU) Zone and Related Amendments. It's a mouthful, and in the past, would have been a snoozer. However, this time it is anything but.

The documents posted on the hearing webpage (link) are loaded with hidden surprises. If the targeted agenda item (Foothills development) weren't bad enough, there are policies, goals, and wording about more awful stuff to come. If this gets passed and an urban renewal district is formed (and bonds are sold or other funding found) before Jack Hoffman's tenure is up (remember, Lake Oswego is a part of Clackistan), only idiots will want to live here. Maybe some planners? Here are some highlights:

* Development in the mixed use zone will have a height restriction of 90 feet, or about nine stories, with a lot coverage of 100%.

* The floodplain that engulfs most of the area has been determined to be not an issue after all. A new technical report says Foothills can fly under Metro's codes if there is no net flooding posed by development.

* The new FMU zone is to replace zoning designations of I (industrial), R-0 (high-density housing), P (public), PNA (Public and Natural Areas), and maybe another. Focus on the P and PNA for a moment -- this means Tryon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Tryon Cove Park, Foothills Park, and Roher Park, including the water sports facilities and river frontage.

* Wording suggesting Foothills is planning on becoming an "eco-district" with reference to the Portland Plan.

* A wide plaza of steps leading from downtown to the district called a "vertical park" and that will be donated to the city (for maintenance and liability is my guess). Trading riverfront natural area for concrete?

* Foothills Special District is to be a multi-modal area with access to transit options of all kinds. Right now that includes walking, biking, auto and bus. Maybe a streetcar sooner than later. Space is being planned for a rail transfer station.

* Policy/goal statements that put mixed-use zoning along the Kruse Way Centerpointe business corridor to include high density residential, retail to support the housing, and access to regional transit. Another transit-oriented development.

This is just a portion of the transformational plans and codes that will change our small town forever. People who wanted the development trusted Williams, Dame & White when they assured us that the buildings would not top five stories and you wouldn't even see them from downtown (maybe the rooftops if you were on State Street). And what is the plan for our parks? And the waste treatment plant? Are these to be turned over to developers to meet their goals? The plan doesn't say. The limited facts are buried in the text.

This entire process is reminiscent of the way the South Waterfront District was bullied through the Portland planning process. Developers attempted to calm angry citizens with the proposed design of skinny buildings that would allow sight lines to the river. There was supposed to be a park, and other pre-development promises that after the fact were trampled in the dust as they rushed towards a bigger and more lucrative payday. WDW even uses the same tag line for Foothills as they used for South Waterfront -- "the city's next great neighborhood." Lake Oswego citizens are nothing more than an obstacle to their building on a riverfront piece of land they can get for a bargain with gullible, desperate-for-a-legacy politicians who think WDW mean anything they say.

These are terrible documents, but Lake Oswegans (and anyone who might have to deal with slimy developers) should read them and be prepared to testify at the hearings. They were adjourned but not concluded, and will resume on the 22nd. Read Projects LU 12-0033 and LU 12-0032 on left side of page. The agenda packet is only half of the pie.

There is definitely a foul smell in the air here, and it is coming from City Hall. Comparatively, the sewage treatment plant that Homer doesn't like smells like a rose.

We see that there's an election about to be held for mayor and a member of the city council down there. This ought to be criterion no. 1 in deciding how to vote in those races. We hope that they save the town from these developers. They've already stolen Portland's future, and we don't want to pay for any more streetcars, no matter where they go.

Comments (12)

I don't know where to begin.
I don't even live in Lake Oswego, but what I read in the above is simply overwhelming! At times I visit LO just to get away from the crap they have pulled in Portland. I really think the library they have now is wonderful. I don't like to see any area taken over and degraded/destroyed by this agenda.

* Development in the mixed use zone will have a height restriction of 90 feet, or about nine stories, with a lot coverage of 100%.
They call a nine story a height restriction!!
Again, no respect for the character of a livable place, certain ones just want to blaze through areas and redo and more redo.
In my opinion the people are being tricked and the money grabbers are being treated.

I am disappointed that the LO Planning Commission missed an opportunity to shorten the Foothills Mixed Use zone acronym down to just the 'F.U. Zone'. That would have been classic.

"The floodplain that engulfs most of the area has been determined to be not an issue after all"

A flood plain is to be protected at all costs, unless we want to use it. Then it's "not an issue". But Joe Schmoe wants to build a shed on a flood plain and OH MY GOD, the Earth is gonna be shattered!

"becoming an "eco-district" with reference to the Portland Plan."

Since when did the Portland Plan have anything to do with outside of Portland? Now, must McMinnville and Stayton and Skamania meet "The Portland Plan" requirements too?

"Space is being planned for a rail transfer station."

What the hell is this?

"put mixed-use zoning along the Kruse Way Centerpointe business corridor to include high density residential, retail to support the housing, and access to regional transit"

The problem is that Kruse Way has already been this, for many years. And what transit does Kruse Way have? An oddly routed 38 bus that takes the absolute slowest path from that part of town to Portland, ends up in Tualatin (rather the Tualatin Park & Ride, which is barely "Tualatin" at all), through Tigard's industrial area.

You'd think that a good, high capacity bus line connecting Tigard TC with Lake Oswego TC would be wise...but...the bus from Beaverton to Tigard goes to PCC Sylvania, then back down the hill, then to Lake Oswego without touching Kruse Way.

But...hey, instead of fixing the broken bus routes, we HAVE to build a streetcar line! Instead of just re-routing buses along more logical routes (PCC Sylvania doesn't even really need a TriMet bus route; PCC runs its own shuttle system that could easily accomodate students and connections to TriMet at Barbur and Tigard TCs.)

It is all about the developers, politicians, and unions.
You cant really blame them. It is getting so darn expensive to live here.
Remember, if the peasants can still afford to own cars, we simply are not taxing them enough.

I hope those opposed to the rezoning, densification, excessive heights apply the State/City's Greenway regulations that requires a step down in height to the river and projects be similar in scale and height to nearby existing buildings.

Now tell me where in LO there are nine story buildings along the river or even nearby or anywhere?

Where are the environmental organizations opposing building in a flood zone and not adhering to the Greenway Regs? Where are LO's own Planners and Pols ignoring their own Goals and Regs?

They should begin with a good LUBA appeal and take it all the way through the courts, for surely Homer would appeal any decision not in his interests.

When did the Portland Plan become the Lake Oswego Plan? Last I heard Lake Oswego hadn't been annexed into Portland yet.

Seriously, how do these same kinds of people who keep trying to pull this stuff keep getting elected all over the place? It's like Whack-a-Mole.

When did the Portland Plan become the Lake Oswego Plan? Last I heard Lake Oswego hadn't been annexed into Portland yet.

I thought the "Portland Plan" all along was "We're green, because we just export all of our pollution elsewhere" Tyron Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility - owned by the City of Portland, located in Lake Oswego.

Or the Fanno Creek pumping station, located in unincorporated Washington County where it is all but freely allowed to heavily pollute Fanno Creek in Beaverton and Tigard.

Or of course Portland's garbage which ends up in Arlington (and some in McMinnville), or that coal fired power plant in Boardman.

Or the noise pollution from Portland International Airport that ends up in Vancouver (along with the CO emissions of those planes).

Erik H, how could you forget Portland's slop-bucket waste sent to Banks?

lw - North Plains, not Banks. They're about 10 miles apart, and trust me, the smell is significantly different.

This election cannot happen soon enough - at least a few races in Clackamas County offer a glimmer of hope, though perhaps false hope.

Thanks for the correction. I have a job east of North Plains by Banks, and when the wind blows from the east I can smell Portland's slop buckets.

r u kidding? this has been in the works for years. nice to see that it still merits the ridicule it deserves. Ask Ormsby

2012 Oct 17 Wednesday 12:50 U (12:50 PM PT)

Ridicule. By me on Streetcar, Foothills,
Traffic on OR 43 (aka State St, Riverside Dr, plus eight other names)? With cut through traffic in Dunthorpe (Birdshill + Riverdale)
and in First Addition within LO?

Truth is what it is, where and when you
can find it.

Being discussed at
Birdshill CPO / NA meeting tonight at
7:00 pm PT. Location Forest Hills ES
1133 Andrews Road, Lake Oswego, 97034.

Issue: 35Ifurpahg = Issue: Foothills Urban Renewal Plan Ad Hoc Group. See the e-mail from Metro to Lake Oswego, exhibit G-4. Ask candidate Greg MacPherson the reason for his vote to relax V/C ratio in and around MMA(s) during his time on LCDC coordinating with ODOT on 2011 Transportation Planing Rule (TPR) change.

Skip aka Charles Ormsby
Birdshill CPO / NA Chair


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