Immigration law isn’t simple

A recent letter writer seeks to expound on the law and how it is really quite simple. After having studied the law and practiced the law for many years, I have found that it is really quite complex. Which may be why we have lawyers and courts and judges. And no area of the law is more complex than immigration law, both in terms of its application and its human consequences.

Were it as simple as a speeding ticket, perhaps life would be easier, but it simply is not. There is no such thing as an “illegal” person. There are folks here who have no status and who are undocumented. They are, of course, subject to being deported. However, again, it is not quite that simple.

Undocumented persons may, nonetheless, have standing to claim a right, for example, of political asylum, which, if found to be appropriate, would give them status. Such might be the case for many of the refugees fleeing Central America and entering on our southern border. Each case must be determined on its own merits by an immigration judge.

It should also be noted that most folks who are undocumented arrived under some sort of status, be it as a tourist, on an educational visa or on a limited work visa, and overstayed. They did not enter the country without documentation. Add to this the historic use of migrant labor from Mexico and the complex family arrangements such use has created, and equity alone demands some resolution other than simply shipping those without documents off to their country of origin.

So, whether our letter writer likes it or not, immigration law is complicated, despite his reliance somehow on pirates and movies he has seen.

Ronald Talney

Lake Oswego

Wizer plan will help businesses

As a downtown business owner and past president of the Downtown Business District, I understand retail businesses need a solid influx of customers to remain viable. Our city leaders understood that when they put the code in place for our downtown blocks. The current design of the Wizer Block is what they envisioned — a mix of commercial, retail and residents. New residents and top-of-the-line businesses will stimulate interest in Lake View Village — and the downtown core.

Preparing any community for change ruffles feathers, but part of leadership is weighing pros and cons and taking a stand. I am taking a stand in favor of the proposed redesign of the Wizer Block.

Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden famously said that, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” We should understand this window of opportunity. When City Council members have the chance to vote for this current project, I am confident they will show leadership and follow the code. The code as it stands is what brought us to this point downtown; it was designed that way.

Lisa Shaw-Ryan

Lake Oswego

No ‘village on steroids’

Please register my vehement disapproval of the revised Wizer Block plan. In my opinion, it would forever change the village character of Lake Oswego, and instead create a “Village on Steroids.”

Katie Williams

Lake Oswego

Citizens won’t benefit

It seems to me that there are three constituencies involved in the Wizer Block project:

1. The owners and developers of the project;

2. The merchants of the area; and

3. Citizens of Lake Oswego (particularly of the greater downtown area).

As a 26-year resident of the area near downtown and a frequent visitor to the shops on First Street across from the proposed development, I would agree that the owners/developers of the project and the shop owners would benefit from the presence of 207 apartments across from their respective shops. However, those of us in the third category, who now frequent those shops, would find it nearly impossible to find parking or sitting space in the shops or in Millennium Park.

So although shop owners will continue to have a robust business, it will be unlikely that it would come from those of us who now frequent those businesses.

Tom Ruddy

Lake Oswego

Castles support Gudman

We did not vote for Jeff Gudman for City Council in 2010, but we will this time. We’ve gotten to know Jeff in the past four years, and have found him to be a man of integrity. He does his homework, actively seeks out a diversity of views and tries to find solutions that work across all sectors of the community. We don’t always agree with him, but we know we’ve been heard!

Jeff’s financial background has served him well in understanding the economics of city government and caused him to seek out ways of getting the highest level of services for the dollars that are available.

We are also impressed with his accessibility and respectful, good natured dealings with the people he encounters. Conversations with Jeff always seem to start with a good laugh and end with the feeling that he has seriously listened to what you had to say.

Having been on the council for four years, he has an in-depth understanding of the issues and how to get things done effectively. We value his store of knowledge and collaborative spirit and want to see the city continue to benefit from them. Please join us in voting for Jeff Gudman.

Jan and Duke Castle

Lake Oswego

Plan will revitalize downtown

Our family enjoys visiting the shops and restaurants in downtown Lake Oswego. The redeveloped Wizer Block will offer many additional reasons for people in our community to spend time and money downtown. Local businesses will benefit because additional retail and commercial offerings will stimulate pedestrians’ interest in the area. The multifamily housing slated to be part of this development will help address Lake Oswego’s need for a variety of housing types.

The developer and his team have redesigned this project to comply with our city’s design and development standards. They have reduced the proposed height and number of housing units and have made other significant changes. If the current project conforms to Lake Oswego’s development requirements, I encourage our city councilors to support it. Lake Oswego’s future will be strongest if we create a vibrant downtown, offer residents a variety of housing types, and apply our laws and regulations in a fair and predictable way.

State Rep. Ann Lininger

Lake Oswego

Support for property rights

The opposition to the Wizer Block development illustrates a stunning hypocrisy in Lake Oswego.

One person running for the City Council highlights the issues of property rights. This candidate says: “I am a firm believer in property rights.” But in reference to the Wizer Block, this same candidate states that “... the scope and scale are out of synch with the village characteristics of the neighborhood.” What these two statements mean is, “Don’t mess with my property, but I have the complete right to mess with yours.”

If a development meets the city’s codes and zoning and master plan, it should be approved. Just because someone does not “like” it is not a reason to not approve a development, especially when the opposition to this development espouses support for “property rights.” Mr. Wizer has the same property rights as the rest of the community.

If the development was asking for zoning changes and code variances, that would be different. But in this case, all of the city’s requirements have been met.

Tom Atwood

Lake Oswego

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