Letters for Dec. 4
The Lake Oswego City council voted Nov. 5 to kill further involvement in the feasibility study funded by Metro for the Willamette River Crossing. The vote occurred, without prior public notice, following a motion by Councilor LaMotte to withdraw Lake Oswego from further participation in the study. Little discussion ensued before Mayor Studebaker called for the vote. Not all the councilors voted in favor of killing this study, however.
Acclaim goes to Councilors Kohlhoff and Nguyen, not because they support the crossing — they may not — but because they demonstrated the leadership to respect the process that had the support of most of the public based on a scientific survey conducted by the project.
The crossing would have been a bicycle and pedestrian link between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove, providing Lake Oswego residents access to/from the excellent bicycle commuting infrastructure on the east side of the Willamette (Trolley Trail and Springwater Corridor), which provide a safe means of reaching Downtown Portland, Milwaukie and Oregon City by bike. Residents on the east side of the Willamette would have a means of reaching employment in Lake Oswego, particularly in the Kruse Meadows office complex.
Lake Oswego has notoriously poor investment in bicycle infrastructure, and there is no safe way to connect to Portland by bike. I know. I commuted by bike to NW Portland for over 10 years; getting in and out of Lake Oswego was the least safe part of that commute.
When traffic congestion is increasing and climate destruction is calling us to reduce our carbon footprint, improved bicycle access should at least be studied, not prematurely shelved.
Let's continue to look toward a future Lake Oswego that seeks to improve traffic, transportation, and climate for its residents — and future generations. Let's thank Councilors Kohlhoff and Nguyen. And let's keep these goals in mind when City Council elections are once again before us.
Gladstone's 'facts' also need checking
Jacque Betz, city administrator for Gladstone, wrote an opinion piece last month claiming that city staff conducted some "fact checking" and found numerous errors in my recent opinion article about the water and sewer rate increases. Perhaps their "facts" should have been checked as well.
First let me say that I am not employed by the city nor any governmental association. I do math straightforwardly and relied on competent people that work for our city to obtain some of my numbers. The only faulty part of my numbers was the addition of 5% each year as an inflationary increase. That doesn't implement until year three where we will then see yearly increases of 2% to 5%.
Ms. Betz claims I made an error when I stated residents paid $43 per month in 2015. In early 2015 the rate was $43.24, but after an increase later that year, it went up to the $45.45, which was the number Ms. Betz used. In February 2015 the water/sewer bill was $86.48 billed every other month which equates to $43.24 per month (simple division). We are currently at $68.05 monthly, an increase of 57% as I stated. There wasn't an error in that calculation. Just to clarify, unless my finger and toe counting failed me, we have seen a 57% increase since February 2015.
Next Ms. Betz says I misstated the proposed increases. In communications on the city website, a city council meeting packet and a city handout at the open house, the verbiage states a 25.9% increase in year one and 26% in year two. These were on papers distributed by city staff, so if I was wrong on this, it was because I trusted the information delivered from the city.
Ms. Betz goes on to say that increases would raise rates by as much as $35 per month. But by the same figures on the sheets that the city handed out and posted on their webpage and survey and council packet, it jumps the rate from $68.05 to $85.67 in year one and then to $107.95 in year two (I'm not sure where Ms. Betz's $103 figure comes from). That's an increase of $39.90, if my toes and fingers haven't failed me. But the city just minimized the increase at no more than $35, once again just a little less than fully honest.
As far as the Oct, 8 city council meeting and how people spoke about this then-proposed increase — the issue of a bond was brought up and anyone can watch the meeting and see how quickly it was dismissed.
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