Today at the City Council meeting, Scott Handley spoke during Citizen Comment to bring closure for everyone who supported the Save Cooks Butte effort. Below is the City Council video and text of his comments.
I’m Scott Handley, a resident in the Palisades Neighborhood. I am here today representing 900+ residents who signed the petition to Save Cooks Butte. Over the last 12 weeks, I listened to these residents’ many frustrations with their City’s disregard for the community it represents on a number of topics. Their disappointment was resounding when hearing this was the 3 attempt by the City, over the last 25 years, to exploit a provision in the Cooks Butte deed when this land was clearly intended, and reinforced multiple times, to remain a nature preserve. Natural areas, like Cooks Butte, belong to the community. They are part of our culture, our values. They are quickly vanishing in our society and need to be preserved and protected.
We acknowledge this Council’s motion last session authorizing City staff to inform Clackamas 800 Radio Group that due to the withdrawal of consents by the Emery family, the City is unable to allow a telecommunications tower to be constructed at Cooks Butte Park. Case closed.
We now encourage the City to never put itself in a similar position where the citizens are unable to discuss major developments or issues with their elected representatives that impact our community, our way of life. We expect our public servants to represent and balance the values of our community over those of special interests. We expect frequent, open, honest two-way communication between citizens, our elected representatives, and other City officials. We expect better and more plentiful notice to the community, not just a few residents or conveniently and seemingly tucked away in a City Council session. We expect transparency. Only then, can we build a framework of trust upon which we reach common ground.
I hope this is a lesson for this Council, City officials, and those that follow, to recognize the community as a partner. And, will engage the community early and often before making commitments that may be at odds with the residents of the Lake Oswego community.