Letter to the Editor- Welcome 2020 by helping protect LO natural areas

Kirsten Sommer offers the community to start the new year on a positive note and protect Lake Oswego’s natural areas that are vital to our well-being in this week’s LO Review.

“This new decade brings us the opportunity for positive change via protection of our existing Lake Oswego natural areas. The community organization, “Love LO Parks,” has a proposed ballot initiative, 2020IN-1, that “Protects Lake Oswego’s Natural Parks.” To be included on the May 2020 ballot, we need 4,365 LO voter petition signatures. With no cost to taxpayers, this initiative is being pursued not as a political statement, but from a compelling need to reliably protect our natural areas. We treasure our expansive developed parks for athletic, recreation and social gatherings. Our natural areas are also precious, but are too limited in footprint, too intertwined within our neighborhoods, and remain vulnerable to the oversight of unknown future city leaders. 

As Metro pushes for urban and suburban infill, we’re experiencing acceleration of higher density housing in both Lake Grove and downtown. This greater density provides challenges to infrastructure and pressures undeveloped areas. The time is ripe for this natural park ballot initiative. Studies show that spending even short periods of time in forests and natural areas benefits our health, including inflammatory markers, blood pressure, immune function and focus. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website has a collection of studies supporting these findings. Our natural areas are critically important to our well-being and are utilized daily by many of our neighbors. Lake Oswego voters must ensure the future integrity of our natural areas through legal protection. 

Happy 2020! If you’re a registered LO voter, start the year on a positive note for local natural area protection by visiting https://www.loveloparks.org/petition, download the petition, sign and mail to the address indicated. Our natural areas are healthy for the planet, us and our children. Let’s help protect them!”

Kirsten Sommer
Lake Oswego