A well-designed downtown condo would be appealing

I have reviewed the plans for the redevelopment of Block 137, and wholeheartedly support it.

On a personal level, I believe that the project looks very appealing. My husband and I have lived in Lake Oswego for over 20 years while raising our children, and are now considering downsizing our empty nest. We have looked in the Pearl District and the up-and-coming North Portland. But it would be nice to keep our ties to this community and live in a green and walkable neighborhood. We would seriously consider buying a well-designed condo in downtown LO.

From a planning perspective, I am impressed that the developers have responded to concerns voiced by some community members, although I am personally not troubled by urban-type development in downtown LO. I am also familiar with the work of ZGF and Ankrom Moisan from when I worked at OHSU. I feel confident that these design firms will create a project that is as attractive and functional as our community demands.

Market-rate condos will support the retail and other small businesses that are so critical to having a viable downtown area. The development, which includes many pedestrian-oriented features, and that abuts lovely public space at Millennium Park, is totally consistent with our goal for over 30 years to have a vital downtown. Let’s do it!

Sandy Leybold

Lake Oswego

(Editor’s note: While the project proposal currently includes 217 rental units, likely a mix of apartments and condos, it could have as many as 228 apartments in the end.)

Take another look at GMO’s record

Susan Laarman raises alarms on genetically modified crops and increase pesticide use (in last week’s letters to the editor).

Mark Lynas, the international leader behind “No GMO,” formerly shared that view. That is, until his groundbreaking speech at Oxford last year when he did a 180-degree turn and now supports GMO. Why the turnabout? Lynas sheepishly confessed, “I never bothered to read the research.”

Lynas has now seen studies showing that from first adoption in 1996 through 2010, GMO crops have reduced pesticide spraying by 977 million pounds and have reduced the environmental impact by 17.9 percent.

Similarly, GMO’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is equivalent to removing 9 million cars from the road. These herbicide-tolerant crops expand conservation tillage, saving nearly 1 billion tons of soil per year.

An analysis of more than 1,700 peer-reviewed studies on the safety and environmental impacts of GMOs concludes “that the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops.”

Lynas adds in a speech at Cornell: “I think the controversy over GMOs represents one of the greatest science communications failures of the past half-century. Millions, possibly billions, of people have come to believe what is essentially a conspiracy theory, generating fear and misunderstanding about a whole class of technologies on an unprecedentedly global scale.”

Lynas is joined by Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace and supporter of Golden Rice, a vitamin A fortified strain. Each year, an estimated 670,000 children will die from vitamin A deficiency and 350,000 will go blind. Yet, in their ignorance, green eco-imperialists have forced the world banks to deny funds to third world countries seeking to grow this GMO strain.

As Lynas says, “When public misunderstanding and superstition becomes widespread on an issue, irrational policymaking is the inevitable consequence, and great damage is done to peoples’ lives as a result.”

Larry Logan

Lake Oswego

Reintroduce flogging as a punishment?

The citizen’s view by Madaline Allen in the Lake Oswego Review, dated Jan. 30 was a horror story of vast proportions and significance and should make any normal person vomit.

Those persons committing these despicable acts of torture on defenseless animals must be severely punished and segregated from society. They suffer from an incurable sickness that propels them to kill children and teachers, the old and defenseless and otherwise commit terrorism.

My proposal is to reintroduce flogging as a punishment, anywhere from two lashes to 100 or more lashes. Our advances in intergalactic capabilities can be used to create a penal enclosure on the surface of the moon. There is no escape from there. It will hold all of those with an incurable defect that leads to such violence.

Community service is a joke.

“I’m mad as hell and want something done about it!”

John F. Beau

Lake Oswego

Marriage comments are criticized

Former scoutmaster Clifford Mansley objects in the strongest possible terms to gay marriage. “Marriage should be reserved by the government for male and female partnerships,” instructs Mansley, because only heterosexual couples with compatible state-sanctioned baby-making parts “can give birth to the next generation.” Only heterosexual marriages “encourage strong, moral values in these children,” right?

The bond of a homosexual marriage “can never be the same as that of a man and a woman in marriage,” blusters Mansley, who might be advised to take the authoritative tone down a notch. ... Besides, “Gays in Oregon have all of the advantages, and in fact many more, than married couples.” This statement of fact is so factually factual that Mansley need not offer any evidence to support it or link it to any reality known to Oregonians. It’s true because, hey, scoutmaster’s honor.

Mansley ends by babbling the requisite right-wing talking point that “Marriage is not a right, it is a privilege.” Well, you can’t argue with that, except that yes, you can, because like most righty talking points it is gibbering nonsense — and here is a reality check to prove it. “Privilege (noun)” as defined by is “1. a RIGHT, immunity, or benefit ... 2. a special RIGHT ... 3. a grant of a special RIGHT ... 4. the principle of enjoying special RIGHTS ... 5. any of the RIGHTS common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government.”

Welcome to our constitutional government, Mr. Mansley, where marriage is a privilege — a right common to all citizens. Double snap!

Next: Mansley proves his consistency by demanding immediate government nullification of all childless heterosexual marriages. Also, pigs fly.

Burl Ross

Lake Oswego

‘Arc of history is ... bending toward justice’

We appreciate the opportunity created by Mr. Mansley’s letter (“Marriage is not a right, it is a privilege ...”) to address misconceptions about marriage equality. The writer’s assertion that “Gays in Oregon have all of the advantages, and in fact many more, than married couples,” has no basis in fact. The state’s legal prohibition against marriage for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples is a significant barrier to true equality and needs to be repealed.

The writer treads dangerous ground by aligning marriage with procreation. One need only consider friends and family who are voluntarily childless or marrying beyond childbearing years. Certainly the absence of children does not diminish these marriages. Conversely, the loving and committed gay and lesbian couples we know wish for children with the same intensity as anyone else, and are just as committed to raising “successful future citizens” (Mr. Mansley’s words).

The proper government interest in marriage is to ensure equal protection under the law for all citizens, including all committed couples who seek marriage rights and responsibilities. It is in society’s interest to encourage family units with strong bonds, people who take care of each other.

We are among the majority of Oregon citizens who welcome the fact that the arc of history is — in this instance — bending toward justice. 

Ralph and Penny Holcomb

Lake Oswego

Members of the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ

‘This project is simply not right for Lake Oswego’

(The following is an open letter to city of Lake Oswego officials):

I want to reach out to you to share my voice in opposition of the proposed Wizer block plan as it currently exists.

While I do believe that updating the Wizer block will enhance the overall beauty and appeal of LO’s scenic downtown, the current proposal by the developers would do the opposite. Adding new retail and dining venues in the space will be wonderful and welcomed, yet the proposal as it stands is far too big (with five stories) and dense (228 rental units) in scale. 

There is already a lot of traffic congestion in the area and parking spaces can be difficult to find for current residents of Lake Oswego. I do not support the proposal to build rental units in lieu of condominiums in this area; to be clear, I do not support adding 228 units of any kind on five stories in this space. 

Also, the potential of having 400-plus persons and their pets residing in one block doesn’t even seem feasible. My family spends a lot of time around Millennium Plaza Park and it’s hard to imagine having 400-plus additional people there all the time. This will take away from the quaint feeling of downtown Lake Oswego, which is what many of us love about our community. 

I also do not support using $5-$6 million of our tax dollars/city funding for this development that does not enhance the property values for homeowners in the Evergreen or First Addition neighborhoods. These funds could be utilized to support our wonderful Lake Oswego schools.

It’s quite frankly hard to digest that this funding will not go to our schools, but rather for a proposed project that so many Lake Oswego residents do not support. In fact, many residents are not even aware of the proposed scale.

This project is simply not right for Lake Oswego.

As stewards of the community, I ask that you please protect Lake Oswego and not allow this project to move forward. 

Elizabeth Holder

Lake Oswego

Vampire Love

I walk the streets at night

(Avoiding natural light)

Among villagers all too blind

To the deed I have in mind.

In her downy bed, sweet Claire

Lies sleeping unaware

Till the middle of the night

When she feels a gentle bite

That will mark my Valentine

Eternally mine.

James Fleming

Lake Oswego

Clock is ticking on global warming

Our world is facing a slowly growing but extreme emergency due to climate change.

Our atmosphere now contains about 400 parts per of carbon dioxide, which is 50 ppm greater than the 350 ppm recognized as safe. As a result, the average temperature of the planet has warmed by 0.85 oC since pre-industrial times. The effects of global warming at the 0.85 oC threshold already include: island nations being forced from their homes due to rising sea levels; ocean acidification threatening the survival of many types of fish; record high temperatures in many parts of the U.S.; record low temperatures in many parts of the U.S., possibly due to weakening of the polar vortex; greatly increased frequency of severe storms; increased severity and frequency of droughts, threatening agricultural productivity; melting of the arctic ice, exposing methane-rich permafrost, threatening to pour huge amounts of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere, greatly exacerbating global warming.

The international community has agreed that, to retain a habitable planet for our children, we must stop the global average temperature from rising more than 2 oC above its pre-industrial level. Calculations show that we can add no more than 500 gigatons (Gt) CO2 to the atmosphere to obey this limit.

But the fossil fuel companies already have sufficiently proved reserves of coal, oil and natural gas to inject 2,860 Gt CO2 into the atmosphere when burned. Hence, 83 percent of those fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. And we may have only 10 years to stop this pollution. A carbon tax, with the proceeds largely rebated to consumers, would greatly facilitate replacement of fossil fuels by renewables and is the most efficient way to attack this problem.

Michael Litt


Abortion letter logic convoluted

I am fascinated by the convoluted logic of one of the statements in Marylin Shannon’s letter (“Sign petition to help end taxpayer funding of abortions,” Jan. 30) regarding her petition.

“Whatever your position on abortion, certainly you can agree: Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for elective abortions.”

If you parse that quote, it, by itself, shows how blind she is to the idea that anyone could ever disagree with her.

First, she assumes that elective abortion is such a unique medical procedure that it must be considered alone and differently from all other medical decisions.

Second, she assumes that taxpayers should be allowed to pick which line items of the budget they agree to fund.

Whatever your position on petitions, certainly you can agree: Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for selective opinions.

L.D. Modell


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