THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

Lake Oswego: ‘Not in MY back yard, you don’t’
Lake Oswego to Jennings Lodge crossing, pedestrians and bicyclists
Here’s the map showing the small area being studied for a possible pedestrian/bike bridge across the Willamette between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove. (Courtesy of Metro)

Back when the new Sellwood Bridge was under construction – paid for entirely by Multnomah County residents, although over half of the drivers using it are from, or bound for, Clackamas County – we had a conversation with an acquaintance, a community leader, who lives in Lake Oswego. He was angry that the new Sellwood Bridge was not being built with at least two lanes of traffic in both directions.

When we pointed out that Tacoma Street, to which it connects, has only one lane in each direction, he suggested that it would be easy to take out half a block of businesses, either on the north or south side of the street, to widen it into a highway. Further, he said, Johnson Creek Boulevard should be at least four lanes wide all the way to S.E. 82nd – from which point eastward it already has multiple lanes east to I-205.

He seemed entirely unsympathetic about Sellwood residents not wanting a four-lane highway running through the middle of their community. “It’s the obvious solution to getting people across the river and to I-205.”

We pointed out that if there were a highway bridge across the Willamette River at Lake Oswego, obviously not only could Lake Oswego residents cross into the eastern part of their own county, avoiding a detour of miles and also avoiding the Sellwood Bridge, but the communities on the east side of the river would at last have a clear and direct route west to I-5 and Highway 217 with relatively little additional construction – since, if it connected at “A Street” and proceeded west on Country Club Road, it would already be a signalized four-lane highway all the way west to the I-5 freeway. And only one building would have to be removed to make way for the west end of the new bridge at “A Street”!

This was an option he immediately ruled out, and would not even discuss. In our own interpretation, then, he would much rather tear apart multiple neighborhoods in Multnomah County for his driving convenience than improve access to his own community. Others we have spoken to about this, however, think perhaps our interpretation is a bit harsh. Maybe.

However, the City of Lake Oswego’s new position on a related matter – the push by residents of Clackamas County to have a pedestrian and bicycle bridge connect Lake Oswego to the east side of the river at Oak Grove, between Milwaukie and Jennings Lodge; an idea supported by over 60% of Clackamas County residents as well as by Metro – certainly seems to point to such “NIMBY” intransigence.

In the interest of not unintentionally imposing our own conclusions about the situation in reporting on what is happening in this case, we are going to report the current situation by reprinting a news story published in the January 29 issue of the Clackamas Review, our sister Pamplin Media newspaper to the south, written by its editor, Raymond Rendleman:

Lake Oswego forces bridge study out of city

Recognizing new “political realities”, Clackamas County officials are looking outside of Lake Oswego to potentially construct a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

Currently, there’s no way for people to get to the west side of the Willamette River along a 9-mile stretch between Sellwood and Oregon City.

The remaining members of the committee to advise local jurisdictions on the potential bridge – which include Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas, Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, and Metro Councilor Christine Lewis – concluded that a wider study area was needed, during their January 28 meeting to accept a report on the bridge study between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove.

Lake Oswego was not represented at the meeting – because its City Council voted in November to withdraw from the process, and remove Lake Oswego City Councilor Jackie Manz from the committee.

Engineers have identified feasible bridge alignments between Oak Grove and Lake Oswego that could also accommodate lightweight emergency vehicles, such as police cars and ambulances, in addition to people walking and biking across the river.

But a change in Lake Oswego's elected leadership would be necessary to support either of these other potential bridge locations – from Oak Grove's Courtney Avenue to Terwilliger Boulevard or Foothills Park.

At the January 28 meeting, the three remaining committee members agreed to take no further action on the proposed bridge alignments, given Lake Oswego's recent withdrawal from the process. The three recognized that the “current landing points are not supported by the communities at this time”.

A scientific survey in September showed 63% support for the bridge project, with especially strong support in Oak Grove and Milwaukie, but no additional scientific survey was conducted to confirm public support at the end of the project.

Metro has committed $500,000 to fund the bridge feasibility study, but county officials will have to contact Metro staff to determine whether it would be possible to extend the scope of the public process outside of Lake Oswego. So far, the feasibility study determined that the bridge could be constructed on a total budget between $28.1 and $51.5 million for Lake Oswego bridge locations to Oak Grove that are between 2,440 feet and 3,775 feet long.

On October 15, the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners decided against a transit lane on the proposed Oak Grove-Lake Oswego Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge. The transit option proposed by Metro would have significantly increased the cost of the project by requiring a larger bridge and adequate road space on the bridge’s landing points.

                             ________________________

Thank you, Raymond, for that interesting update. There is no way to cross the Willamette River in anything but a boat between the Sellwood Bridge and Oregon City, and it seems pretty clear that the City of Lake Oswego (or at least its current leadership) likes it that way.

Consequently, the Sellwood Bridge remains, as it has been for many years, the busiest bridge in the whole State of Oregon PER LANE (including the Interstate Bridge!) on weekdays; and over half the drivers crossing it are coming from, and/or going to, Clackamas County.

Until an actual vehicle bridge is built somewhere in the middle between Sellwood and Oregon City for cars and trucks as well as pedestrians and bicyclists, you can expect the extreme congestion that Sellwood experiences on and around the Sellwood Bridge in weekday commute hours to continue – and now you know why, and who to thank for it.


Letters to the Editor

Rhody Garden fights theft and vandalism

Editor:

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a jewel in the city of Portland. It is also one of Portland’s best kept secrets. If you have never visited, make the short trip to 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue (across from Reed College) and walk the garden paths, enjoy the solitude, discover what’s in bloom, listen to the waterfalls, and observe the wildlife. This garden is a place to slow down, to regenerate, and to take in the beauty all around you.

Crystal Springs, although in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, is largely a self-sufficient garden managed by the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. Crystal Springs relies on gatehouse receipts, special events, donations, memberships, its early and Mother’s Day plant sales, and its fall fundraiser to cover the ongoing upkeep, repairs, and improvements to the garden. We do not receive any money from taxes or the city to cover our expenses and improvements.

Last year we installed a number of new retaining walls to replace the old ones that were starting to collapse. Currently we are re-landscaping the Jane Martin Memorial garden and improving drainage for the countless springs bringing water to the garden. In addition to some behind-the-scenes improvements made, there are several other projects considered mandatory that are in the queue.

Unfortunately, in the past year Crystal Springs has experienced some major theft and vandalism in the garden. Our John Deere Gator was stolen and never found. Earlier this year we had all the Tassel Ferns in the garden stolen, and other ferns chopped down or destroyed. These incidents are the most severe in the history of the garden. The cost to the garden has been between $16,000 and $17,000.

Because of the damage and replacement of equipment, as well as installing enhanced security measures, the garden has changed a few procedures at the gatehouse and garden. The gatehouse will now be open year-round and an entrance fee will be charged starting at 9:00 a.m. till closing. Closing times will vary depending on the season; in March and April, the garden will be open till 6:00 p.m. Entrance for adults (ages 19-64) is $7.00; for seniors (65+) and students (ages 7-18), admission is $5.00; children ages 6 and under are free.

These changes are made for the security and preservation of the garden, and to ensure the garden can be enjoyed by all for decades to come. This year the American Rhododendron Society will hold its national convention in the Portland/Vancouver area, soon followed by American Public Garden Association conventioneers. Both groups see Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden as one of the highlights of their time here.

We are grateful to all our neighbors in Southeast Portland who patronize and support Crystal Springs, as we celebrate our 70th anniversary this year. Come rediscover this renowned botanical gem in your own neighborhood.

Dan McLaughlin, Chair
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

 

More thoughts on “Residential Infill Plan”

Editor,

About that Portland Residential Infill Plan – I am in complete agreement with Mr. Wygant [Letters, January BEE], as I believe most people on the Eastside are. We are being railroaded into accepting this plan that no property owner has had any input in approving. Our homes are our biggest investments, and our neighborhoods dictate our quality of life.  I don’t understand why there isn’t a much louder outcry about what we see going on around us.

There are so many things wrong with the current plan. First of all, will someone tell me how many thousands of apartments have been built in the last 10 years and why? What study has been done to justify the explosion of building? Is there an end number that they are trying to achieve, and if so, what is it?

If you go on “http://www.apartments.com” right now for the Portland area there are over 7,000 apartments available. So why are our City Council and Mayor allowing contractors and the real estate industry to continue this leveling of residential homes, neighborhoods, gardens, and trees? Has there been an environmental impact study done on our resources to accommodate all of this influx of people? Water?  Sewer? Transportation? I bet not.

We need a way to organize and fight this. Does anyone have any ideas? Mr. Wygant? Mr. Pamplin?

Teddi Carbonneau
Southeast Portland


Sellwood-Moreland “Main Street” plan ready for community input

Editor,

The draft Sellwood-Moreland “Main Street Design Guidelines” are available for review! 

After more than a year of work by some very dedicated volunteers, and input from over 150 neighborhood residents and small business owners, we finally have a draft plan to help us grow while we keep the small town charm of our neighborhood. It’s our goal to encourage new buildings that fit easily in the neighborhood alongside buildings that were built and designed at the turn of the century. 

We do want more homes for our growing population, and more retail space for our unique locally owned businesses. We are fortunate to live in a very special neighborhood, and we all want to see it grow and move forward without losing its character. Please take a look at the plan posted online at – http://www.sellwoodmoreland.org – and join us for our next community meeting: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 4th, at SMILE Station, 8210 S.E. 13th Avenue, a block south of Tacoma at Tenino Street.

Vikki DeGaa
SMILE Land Use Committee

 

“Raid Your Garden for the Woodstock Plant Sale”

Editor,

We need BEE readers’ help for this year’s Woodstock Neighborhood Plant Sale, which benefits the Woodstock Community Center. The plant sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 9th, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd Avenue.

This sale depends primarily on donations from generous gardeners in the community. We are looking for perennials, as well as vegetable starts, herbs, ground covers, native plants, ornamental grasses, houseplants, and small trees and shrubs. We encourage you to contribute plants from your garden, potting them in March or early April in preparation for the sale.

Proceeds from this sale support volunteer efforts to provide routine maintenance, including custodial service and supplies, for the Woodstock Community Center, as part of an agreement with Portland Parks that has helped keep the Center open since 2004.

Mark your May calendar – you can drop off your contribution at the Woodstock Community Center on May 8th, between noon and 7 p.m. If you need empty pots now, or an alternate drop-off time in May, call Terry Griffiths at 503/771-0011, or Sandy Profeta at 503/771-7724.

Sandy Profeta
Woodstock

Learn about your food

Editor,

I’d like to invite BEE readers to meet local farmers and find out the benefits of “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)”. Specifically, this opportunity is on Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in The Redd, in the Ecotrust Building, 831 S.E. Salmon Street. This is a free event. Have you ever purchased a box of produce to be delivered to your door each week? This is a great convenience, but where was the produce grown? Attend this event and find out! Activities include cooking demos, kids’ activities, and “CSA farm matchmaking”. Attendees can purchase local produce, pasture-raised meat, wild fish, garden starts, flowers, honey, and eggs. Learn more online – http://www.portlandcsa.org

Anne Schneider
Board Member, Portland Area CSA Coalition
via e-mail




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Obituary
Bill Wiest
Retired Reed College Psychology Professor and Woodstock resident Bill Wiest died December 19th at 86 years of age.

William (Bill) Marvin Wiest

May 8, 1933 – December 19, 2019

Former Reed College professor and longtime Woodstock resident William (Bill) Marvin Wiest passed away at age 86 on December 19. He was born in Johnstown, Colorado on May 8, 1933, to parents Katherine Buxman Wiest and William Walter Wiest. He was the second of four children.

Both of Bill’s parents’ families came to the United States as German immigrants from Russia. The Wiest and the Buxman families had been farmers for many generations in the Volga and Black Sea regions of Russia.

When Bill was a year and a half old, his parents moved from Colorado to California’s San Joaquin Valley. He began his academic career in a two-room country schoolhouse near the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He often rode his horse, Parade, to school.

After grade school he attended Immanuel Academy, a Mennonite-supported high school where he was Senior Class President, Editor of the Annual Yearbook, Captain of the Football team, and Senior Class Valedictorian. 

After graduating high school, Bill attended Tabor College, a private Mennonite-funded college in Hillsboro, Kansas. Bill earned part of his college tuition with a summer job driving trucks, transporting the fruit that his father grew on the family farm to the famer’s markets in Los Angeles.

Bill met Thelma Bartel in high school in 1950 when Thelma was fourteen, and they dated and wrote letters while he was in college. They were married in Dinuba, California, in 1955, after Bill graduated from Tabor College.

While at Tabor Bill was awarded a scholarship to attend Kansas University at Lawrence, Kansas, where he received his Master’s Degree in Psychology in 1957. In August of that year, Bill and Thelma moved to Berkeley, where he began his studies to earn his PhD at the University of California campus there.

In 1961 Bill and Thelma and family moved to Portland, where Bill taught Psychology at Reed College for 34 years. In the early seventies Thelma earned a nursing degree from OHSU, and worked as a nurse for 24 years. Thelma said Bill was always generous and ahead of his time – one such example being that he suggested he should always wash the dishes so she could study and work.

While living in Woodstock, Bill was an avid gardener; and he and Thelma traveled extensively, often to visit family.  Bill loved music and loved to sing. He had a fine tenor voice and was a lifelong singer, having performed in the Tabor College Choir; in a quartet with friends; in the Reed College Musicum choir; and with a choir of the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland.

Bill’s immediate family and large extended family loved him for “his compassion, intelligence, and humor”, and his positive influence on all of them.

In 2015, soon after a Mediterranean cruise celebrating his and Thelma’s sixtieth wedding anniversary, and including their three grown children, Bill was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor situated at the base of his tongue. The cancer was treated with radiation, and never came back, but Bill suffered fairly severe side effects from the radiation that lasted for the rest of his life.

The couple lived in the Woodstock neighborhood for fifty-five years, until they moved into Courtyard at Mt. Tabor in May of 2018.

All three of his children, one grandchild, and Thelma were with him during his last days and moments.  Bill died peacefully at home at Courtyard on December 19th, 2019 – sixty-nine years to the day after his first date with Thelma. Bill is survived by his wife Thelma, his three children, six living grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. 

On January 4, 2020, a memorial service was held in the Reed College Chapel attended by hundreds – including some of his siblings, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, from Arizona, California, Canada, Maine, and the Netherlands. Elizabeth Ussher Groff

 


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