I found the Nov. 10 editorial on Witham Oaks remarkably short-sighted. The primary question posed in the editorial was "can we afford it?" The alternate question is, can we afford not to?
The editorial raises points suggesting that in fact we can't afford to miss this unusual opportunity to secure open space within the city. For instance, Oregon State University's plan for increased enrollment will increase the density of our city, putting more pressure on our limited open space. The intimation that this would be a site for affordable housing is pretty silly. Considering the cost of the property and its development, no rational developer is going to build "low cost" housing there.
The city's long-term plan does list this property as for residential development, but for goodness sakes, let's be open to adjustment of such plans when it makes sense to do so. The editorial is correct that there are some financial costs to the city in the management of such property but these costs are neither large nor immediate. The possible change in revenue from the Hewlett-Packard property tax appeal and the current (but likely temporary) economic down-turn are not rational reasons to forgo this one-time opportunity to keep as open space and area that is in the city, easily accessible and offers a multitude of benefits to our city.
Once open space is developed it is gone for good. Let's increase the quality of our city by retaining Witham Oaks as open space.