I am a supporter of the Block 137 project because I believe that it will result in long-lasting economic benefits for Lake Oswego and enrich our community as a whole.

The development of downtown Lake Oswego will generate increased economic activity in the city. From new residents spending money at LO businesses, to attracting additional patrons to the area as a result of the new retail stores and restaurants, the influx of added spending will help to support local storeowners.

As the country continues to pull out of the recent economic crisis, the creation of any jobs in a community of this size is notable. It is my understanding that this development will bring anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 temporary construction jobs. Additionally, the added retail and restaurant space could add an additional 100-120 full-time jobs to our downtown.

Block 137 will also increase annual property tax revenue from $50,000 to more than $600,000. In addition, the building will produce a one-time construction excise tax of almost a quarter of a million dollars, which will directly benefit an already strained Lake Oswego School District.

With the developers bringing the added revenue to our city, isn’t it only fair that they benefit themselves? Asking them to cut the number of residences — a concession that they already made once — removing stories from the buildings or demanding additional parking when they already have allotted 30 percent more spaces than required by code is somewhat shortsighted.

My fear is allowing this project to fall through, could result in the purchase of the space by a big-box retailer, which would be much less attractive to the village environment look and feel appreciated by so many families in our community.

If you think parking might be bad with a few shops, wait until Black Friday rolls around at one of these chains. And if you think the current building, which incorporates all of the building styles reflected by the code is unsightly or dense, wait until you see what the addition of a large chain would do to the community. We are a unique bedroom community that should, in my view, support innovative design, entrepreneurship and small business.

I would urge the community to take a hard look at the pros and cons of the Block 137 development and consider the gain from the addition of this project to our downtown core and support the evolution of the Lake Oswego Village.

Michael Sander is a resident of Lake Oswego.

Contract Publishing

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