Living in Lake Oswego for over 30 years, raising my family here, and serving the community the last three years as a City Councilor, I care deeply about the City and the health, safety, and happiness of all its citizens.
It is clear our citizens care deeply about our City as well. One of the outstanding features of our community is our trees: we have been recognized as a Tree City USA. One of the areas of concern and frankly, of frustration, that many of our neighbors have voiced and I have listened to, is the current imbalance the preservation of our natural resources faces in the wake of development. Our current development code is silent in this regard, leaving our Tree Code adrift and standing apart from our land use approval process. The development codes of many of our neighboring cities do a much better job in this regard. Most importantly, and what is most alarming is that we are losing big trees at a time when their enormous carbon storage qualities are most needed. These trees can live to the end of the century and that storage cannot be replaced by simply planting new trees. Eventually yes, but not now when they are so needed.
As Mayor I would bring our neighborhood and sustainability folks together with members of the development community and key staff members to relook at our codes with an eye to reasonably rebalance the preservation of natural resources, especially our big trees, with the economic needs of growth and development.
Another pressing need as we see our City grow and prosper, is our increasing congestion. One of the concerns I have listened to from our businesses is that given the high cost burden of our housing, both rental and owned, nearly all of our work force has to live in other areas and try to commute to work, which is time consuming, expensive and difficult for many, making it hard to attract the needed millennium worker.
Additionally, this situation adds to congestion. Hwy 43, a main ingress and egress to the City during commuting times, serves other communities and carries their traffic as well. By not sitting back, but by my opting to serve on regional transportation advisory committees such as MPAC and C-4, and ODOT's R1 ACT, Lake Oswego has the benefit of being part of the conversation as to transportation options and their financing.
One such option is working with Tri-Met to obtain the routing of high - speed bus service (called Basic Rapid Transit) during, at least, our peak computer times. For awhile we have been isolationists, letting others control our destiny. As Mayor, just as now, I would insist we have an active voice in our transportation future.
As mentioned above, the affordability of housing effects our supply of younger workers and our economic growth. We know from the reports from our over 50’s committee, that our older population is having greater difficulties with aging in place due, in part, to rising costs of maintenance of older homes or to down size and remain in the community in a smaller, less costly home or rental unit due to the lack of supply. We know the homebuilders and real estate folks have successfully lobbied the legislature to pass HB 2001 to open up single family zoning to duplexes, tri-plexs, and four-plexs to provide for additional supply. While many of our citizens feel this to be contrary to their investment and life expectations in single family neighborhoods and cities are uncertain as to what the long - term effects may be on previous planned needs of infrastructure systems, it doesn’t appear at this time to be likely to cause an immediate change on a large scale. Nevertheless, we need to proactively analyze the probable effects and consequences and provide reasonable regulation to mitigate the negative consequences while adhering to the law. Ironically, we may also end up being happier as the city becomes more diverse, intergenerational and inclusive.
We have begun to take up some of these initiatives. As Mayor, I would continue these planning efforts. Likewise, I would like to have a dialogue with the community about a construction excise tax and further SDC (system development charge) relief to provide funding and incentives for affordable rental and housing units as well as funding a small grant program for maintaining homes for our senior population. Diverse communities such as Bend and Milwaukie have successfully employed such funding devices. I have also been working with Metro and Clackamas County to obtain funding for affordable housing on city property, e.g. the Boones Ferry mobilization site. We have a very successful planned unit community in Mountain Park with a variety of housing types. Foothills off of Hwy 43 on one side and the Willamette River on the other offers an opportunity to provide a planned, transit - oriented community with an affordable housing mix and high - speed bus service. As for any Foothills development, we also need to have a community dialogue and vision the possible with the practical. I am willing to lead that charge.
Our community has sought a community pool for over thirty years. It is the number one recreational priority from our community surveys, including our latest one. I campaigned, in part, for City Council as a community pool champion. I have not changed my support and have been active in dialoguing with the School District to explore combining resources to make it happen. Others on the Council are likewise involved in moving it forward. The finalization of its exact location, what the structure of a partnership with the District will look like, and the degree of our financial involvement are in the working stage. We have a limit to our resources and must be cost conscious in our choices. I will continue to listen to our citizens as to the best ways to work to make it happen as your City Councilor now and as your Mayor in 2020.
I invite you to go on Facebook, Instagram and here on my website for more information about my work, governmental, leadership, and educational qualifications and background. I certainly invite you to share your ideas with me as well. Thank you for caring about our City.