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.