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LOCAL Directors met with Council members in August 2013 to give them feedback on their achievements for the first six months of their term and make some recommendations for future Council action items. In December, Directors met with Mayor Studebaker and new City Manager, Scott Lazenby, to provide them with the following recommendations for the new year (subsequently sent to all Council members). LOCAL Directors are encouraging the Mayor and Councilors to consider the following mid-course corrections and future actions:

 

  • Re-focus staff time toward changes to sensitive lands regulations that are acceptable to Metro and DLCD. Set timeline for completion with monthly reviews of staff progress. Utilize $80k budgeted for environmental consultant to work with staff on changes and appoint councilor Hughes as liaison. Make removal of sensitive lands from private properties a specific goal for completion by September 2014. (A Council working session was held on January 7 with a full discussion of meetings with Metro and laying out a time table for staff to return to Council by June 2014 with further action steps. Councilor Hughes, who is most knowledgeable on the issue is the primary interface with staff.)
  • Change the Development Code to reduce density (height limits) of commercial-zoned blocks. (The Safeway block and North Anchor potential re-developments are of particular future concern, regardless of the outcome on the Wizer block
  • Place on the ballot, a City Charter Amendment to limit the allowable increase in Lake Oswego’s debt above $ 5 million (with increases tied to the CPI) without a citizen vote.
  • Change the City Charter to prohibit the creation of new Urban Renewal Districts or adding to the debt limit of current URD’s without a vote of the citizens. Evaluate the pros/cons of shutting down current URD’s.
  • Appoint a qualified, independent, paid engineer to be Chair of the Oversight Committee for the Lake Oswego/Tigard Water Project considering the magnitude of this $240 million project. Have such a person be accountable to the Tigard and Lake Oswego Councils.
  • Establish smaller, financially digestible phases for the Boones Ferry Project rather than one big, engineered Project.
  • During the next budget process, focus on the biggest issues and savings and redirect funds where they are most needed, recognizing that the City is facing a substantial debt burden.
  • Hold City Staff more accountable for following the directives of Council. Direct City Manager and direct reports to institute quarterly as opposed to annual goals, objectives and performance reviews for all staff. Too often circumstances change during the year and make original annual goals outdated or irrelevant, making staff less accountable for their individual performance.
  • Hold periodic Town Hall Meetings to inform citizens and gather their viewpoints on the most prominent issues facing our citizens. (A roundtable Town Hall Meeting was held on January 7, 2014. It served as an excellent opportunity for citizens to question the Mayor, Councilors and senior staff, was attended by over one hundred citizens and hopefully will catch on to allow citizens to be heard on a more in-depth basis than 3 minute testimonies at public hearings).
  • Utilize the expertise of our citizens on ad hoc advisory groups for major projects/issues that may in many cases be more extensive than staff or hired consultants. Examples might be the rezoning of the WEB property or being more efficient and timely in street repair. Using their expertise and research capabilities, encourage citizens to submit more detailed “white papers” on issues rather than sole reliance on limited 3-minute testimonies at Council meetings.
  • We also asked them how LOCAL can be more helpful to Council in disseminating factual information, gathering opinions and influencing the direction of the City.

    We trust this information has been informative and helpful to you. You can help LOCAL by contacting other citizens you know and encourage them to sign up for future reports by registering on our website.

    We welcome your comments and encourage you to email us about your concerns and issues info@locitizens.com.

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