Mayor Kent Studebaker has expressed disappointment with opponents’ decision to take the Wizer Block plan to the Oregon Court of Appeals (“Wizer Block foes take fight to Court of Appeals,” May 7). The developers, the city and a number of Lake Oswego Review opinion articles will no doubt echo this sentiment by reinforcing previous messages to move on. They believe our efforts are a waste of time and money, and they’ve often asked where the money to fund this ongoing battle is coming from.

The answer is that it is coming from many Lake Oswego citizens who remain vehemently opposed to this project. The development team and the city have stated repeatedly that they’ve worked closely with the community and listened to our voices. This is absolutely not true.

This is a Portland-driven urban project that has been supported by our city staff and has compromised their objectivity when they became advocates for this massive development. Their role was to protect our city’s values by honoring a carefully thought-out and well-documented long-term vision. Now, however, the city is pursuing its own agenda, leaving us no other option but to take our claim to court if we wish to protect the town we love.

The massiveness of this project is not complementary or compatible with adjacent developments. If it’s too big to fit on one Portland city block, then it’s too big for Lake Oswego. Three buildings, each almost the size of a football field, do not constitute a believable interpretation of “small-scale structures” — a critical requirement for meeting the definition of “village character.” The developers have had to resort to installing problematic hydraulic lifts to stack and pack cars, just to meet minimum parking requirements. But it still won’t provide adequate parking for residents.

Yes, we are all tired of hearing about this case. But what’s at stake is our city’s future and the quality of life of our citizens. The large influx of new residents in an already bottlenecked area will add to unavoidable gridlock, competition for parking and the loss of the quiet, relaxing feeling that has made Lake Oswego the rare jewel that it is in this country.

Fortunately, we have a very intelligent population of citizens who recognize that this push for massive urban development and density is driving our town in the wrong direction. We wouldn’t be able to continue this battle if it wasn’t for the town’s active response against it. We join the Evergreen Neighborhood Association, along with the support of 22 neighborhood associations which comprise the Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition. Our ongoing stance should send a clear message to the city of just how strongly many of our residents oppose this project.

The majority of Lake Oswego citizens want to uphold our long-term vision and move forward to the Court of Appeals, where our legal counsel is confident our case is justifiable. As a result, we still have a chance to strategically develop the Wizer Block in a way that will retain the quaint charm of our city. And that is a battle worth fight for.

Lita Grigg is a Lake Oswego resident and the founder of Save Our Village.

Contract Publishing

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