Schrader downplays talk of 'blue wave' in the fall election
U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader visited Lake Oswego last week to hold a Town Hall at The Springs at Carman Oaks senior living facility and tour the nearby construction site of The Springs at Lake Oswego.
Schrader, a Democrat who is currently in his fifth term representing Oregon's Fifth Congressional District, began the event with a short introduction in front of a group of Carman Oaks residents, who were joined by guests from The Springs at Clackamas Woods.
Questions about Congress
Schrader told the audience a bit about his background as a veterinarian and discussed some of his recent work in Congress.
"It's been very challenging of late, to say the least," he said, although he insisted that "we don't hate each other" in Congress.
Most of the rank-and-file members of Congress would prefer to work cooperatively, he said, but the leadership in both parties seems unwilling to follow suit. He added that the media tends to exaggerate the level of acrimony between Republicans and Democrats.
Still, Schrader said he was pushing for more bipartisan leadership in Congress and said he's working to prevent Nancy Pelosi from remaining as the Democratic Party leader in the House.
Schrader downplayed predictions of a "blue wave" of Democratic ballot victories in the November congressional election — he didn't say, for example, whether he thought the Democrats would win back control of the House. But he said he does expect the gap between the number of each party's representatives in the House to shrink, and that he hopes a more evenly-populated House will spur its members to work in a more bipartisan fashion.
Schrader also discussed the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents when undocumented families cross the southern U.S. border — a policy Trump reversed after a national outcry. Schrader offered a measured assessment of the overall border situation, but criticized the separation policy.
"I don't think it's appropriate to separate mothers from children," he said.
Schrader spent about 30 minutes answering questions from the audience on a number of topics, which ranged from plastics pollution and euthanizing sea lions to protect salmon populations to financial issues such as the national debt and the ongoing costs of programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Schrader said those programs are "not under attack" in the short term, but expressed concern about their long-term financial stability in the face of a rising national debt. He was also sharply critical of the massive tax cut that passed as part of last year's major tax reform bill, which he said was unnecessary and would only exacerbate the country's debt problem.
"The economy is humming along without the bloody tax bill," he said.
Touring The Springs
After the Q&A, Schrader joined Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker, The Springs Living Chief Operating Officer Jay Leo and construction director Dennis Gaffney for a virtual tour of the future Springs at Lake Oswego and a visit to the construction site.
The new Springs development at the corner of Boones Ferry Road and Kruse Way broke ground last year and is expected to open in the fall of 2019. The four-story building will include 216 apartments and a host of amenities and community features, including a rooftop deck, dining areas, a gym, swimming pool, theater, chapel, art center and dog park.
The apartments will come in one-, two- and three-bedroom options and include both independent and assisted living options. During the virtual tour, Springs staffers said the variety of options would help residents find a living situation that fits their needs, especially in the case of couples who might be facing different age-related challenges.
According to Leo and other Springs staff, the new facility's leasing office — which has been open since January —has already leased 47 percent of the future facility's independent living units. Nearly all of the applicants currently live within 5-7 miles of the site, Leo said.
At the site, Gaffney said the project's construction crews have already poured more than 8,000 yards of concrete for the building's foundation and are now working on the framing of multiple stories. Rough winter weather caused some brief delays during the pouring phase, he said, but the crews have since been able to make up time and the project is still on schedule.
"It's a genuine pleasure to work in the community of Lake Oswego," Leo told The Review, adding that the number of applicants the company's staff has seen so far has only increased their enthusiasm for the project.