Lake Oswego Real Estate Is The WEB Sale

Lake Oswego Real Estate Is The Web Sale Legal

I am not a real estate attorney which is why I am asking whether the WEB sale is legal? What I am, however, is a real estate broker who has worked in Lake Oswego since 1975 and a resident of the west end of Lake Oswego, namely, Westlake since 1988.

In my past life,I also worked for the City of Portland (Water Bureau), City of Wilsonville (Planning Department) and the City of Los Angeles (Public Works, Recreation and Parks and Civil Service Departments).  As a normal course of all of those positions, I was required to attend City Council hearings and meetings.

Lake Oswego City Council

The other evening I watched the Council proceedings on T.V.  It was, and I embarrassed to admit, the first and only Lake Oswego Council proceeding I’ve ever witnessed. Unfortunately, I have been stewing over the sale of the WEB ever since.  This post is not a political post, but is being written as a resident, real estate broker and former government employee.

Questions Regarding The Sale Of The WEB

In every government I held a position, there were policies in place that needed to be followed on how to dispose of City property.  My understanding is that the City of Lake Oswego’s policy is extremely vague.

Question: Inasmuch as this property is a government building, was voted on by the citizens of Lake Oswego to purchase, was funded by the citizens through their tax dollars, do we not have a right as Lake Oswego residents to vote on 1) whether or not to keep the building, 2) how to dispose or develop the building and 3) whether or not to accept any offers and, particularly, the offer that was ultimately accepted by the Council members?

As a real estate broker, representing a seller, my job is to get the highest and best price for the seller.

Question: Why was the WEB not placed on the open market to solicit the highest and best offer for the building?

Watching the proceedings, it was stated many times that the building was never offered for sale on the open market to solicit the highest and best offer. Also at the proceedings there was a letter of intent presented to submit a second offer at the current asking price which wasn’t even considered. No effort at all was made to see what the highest and best price would be for the WEB that buyers would be willing to pay. Did the city council uphold their oath to undertake the best interests of its citizens?

Question: When I place a property for sale, I always complete a competitive market evaluation for my sellers to assist in determining a fair market value for the property. Why was there no appraisal done on this property?Why weren’t we informed as residents as to the value and worth of the WEB?

Apparently, and I could be wrong, there was never even an appraisal done on the property. And, in fact, only at this meeting was there a commercial broker present to testify on the “real value” and the current price the City was asking. The entire Council seemed oblivious and ignorant as to what the”real” value of the WEB is. Why was there no appraisal done? Why wasn’t there an appraiser available to testify as to what the WEB is actually worth? 

Question: Why weren’t HOAs present to testify as to how any development would affect those areas/neighborhoods surrounding the WEB?

I was shocked to see a lady testifying on what effect any development would have on the surrounding areas/neighborhoods when in fact she wasn’t even a resident in any of those affected neighborhoods?

Question: Why wasn’t or isn’t the Lake Grove Redevelopment overlay part of this development? What is the City’s master plan as it relates to this area and site?

The city was in rush to get this “deal” closed. They handed the buyer a zone change allowing the buyer to build or do anything he wants to the property with no conditions placed on future development. Yet, is there not a city master plan?  Is there not a Lake Grove overlay that also encompasses this area? One of the members of staff acted as if he didn’t know what business the new buyer was in when he was questioned by the Council. I researched the buyer on line and they build hotels. I can’t believe you would even consider, let alone accept an offer, without knowing who the buyer was and what their intentions were for the development of the property.

Question: The Council stated there was no money to take care of Lake Oswego’s infrastructure and since this building is vacant, has had no designated use, they needed the sale to provide for other services in our town.

The City of Lake Oswego purchased 3 properties that I am aware of in excess of $3 million that are sitting empty. They purchased those 3 properties with taxpayer monies for the North Anchor project. Yet, the citizens have voted against a new library, have voted against the North Anchor project yet no mention was made that these buildings are sitting idle, that the money was wasted, that the money could be used to fund projects and the WEB. The City of Lake Oswego is intent on building a new library and city hall on those properties spending even more money and at yet greater expense to the taxpayers of our town.

Question:  Why is there no real estate broker on staff for the City?

Again, every government agency I worked for had a licensed restate broker hired to protect the interests of the taxpayers, market the property, solicit offers, and to follow the legal procedure to sell government buildings. Also, I have been recruited by many cities as a real estate broker for those types of positions. I am amazed that the city sells government owned land without any real estate knowledge, expertise or advice.

Question:  Do amenities increase the value of real estate?

Yes they do. In fact, First Addition, Evergreen, Old Town, etc. are all areas that are already high in real estate value because all amenities are located in the downtown core for them to enjoy. When I moved to Westlake, it was not as popular as it is today. It was pretty much an area that was “hard sell” since there was nothing families could use or enjoy. Once Westlake Park was developed, along with the walking paths, my area grew in popularity and now families enjoy this area.  Lake Grove is never considered, has little to no amenities, and it is being controlled to stay that way by the city.  Amenities add value. Lake Grove is part of Lake Oswego and more amenities are needed and should be developed in the west end. Most of the taxpayers of this city live in the west end. Most of the businesses who pay taxes are in the west end, yet the city completely ignores this part of town!


In closing, yes, I am disappointed that the WEB was sold and at a loss; however, I am far more interested in whether the city acted in the best interests of its citizens and whether the sale is legal. There should be a policy in place, that is adhered to, when selling city owned property. There should be, in my opinion, a city attorney legal opinion on whether the sale is legal at any time decisions are made about any city property.  There should also be a licensed commercial real estate broker on staff to handle any and all real estate business, be it sales or purchases. And, lastly, there should be more citizen involvement and transparency by the city. I understand there are so many questions being asked by our citizens that the city is setting up a web page about the sale of the WEB.

All I can say is that it was far better I watched the proceedings from home rather than in person as I have foot in mouth disease. I know for a fact I would have jumped out of my chair during the hearing.

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I have worked in Lake Oswego as a Real Estate Broker since 1975 and have lived in Lake Oswego since 1988 and know all the neighborhoods! The real estate market is “hot” here in the Portland metro area and Lake Oswego. I am ready to assist you with all your real estate needs! “There is no substitute for experience.”

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