FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon – July 7, 2021 – Love Lake Oswego Parks Committee is pleased to announce that citizen initiative petition 2020IN-1 has obtained enough signatures to qualify for the November 2021 ballot. This initiative petition seeks to revise Lake Oswego’s City Charter “Chapter X – Park Development Limitation” to protect Lake Oswego’s natural parks by limiting development that is inconsistent with maintaining them as natural habits.
Chapter X – Park Development Limitation was overwhelmingly ratified by Lake Oswego voters in 1978; the result of a similar citizen initiative effort to protect Springbrook Park from being developed into a significant athletic facility. Springbrook Park is the only natural park with City Charter protection from development. With 2020IN-1, citizens seek expanded development limitations and to include 15 additional City natural parks.
“This has been 18+ months in the making with so many talented and dedicated Lake Oswego citizen volunteers working diligently through multiple crises — the Covid-19 pandemic, wildfires, polarized politics, and an ice storm — to inform and educate our community about this important effort to protect our natural parks,” stated Scott Handley, the Chief Petitioner. “It’s cause for celebration for every volunteer, for every petition signer, for every Lake Oswego resident, and most importantly for our natural parks and their abundant wildlife. I couldn’t be happier!”
Citizen initiative petitions are an enormous grassroots undertaking that require significant citizen involvement, fundraising, and perseverance. To qualify for the ballot, local citizen initiative petitions must collect signatures from at least 15% of the City’s registered voters within a two year timeframe. This petition needed 4,365 signatures by December 2021, while 4,700 (and counting) have been collected, and it qualified with 4,433 certified signatures. Lake Oswegan’s haven’t seen a successfully qualified citizen initiative petition in decades.
“This is a big deal,” expressed Handley, “We started strong with our trajectory for signature collection to be on track for a November 2020 qualification. Then, the pandemic hit. We paused for 6-months to assess the situation and recalibrated our approach for everyone’s safety. We resumed our efforts to inform nearly every Lake Oswego registered voter about our initiative petition which has resulted in acquiring signatures from ~20% of all Lake Oswego households.”
At the Lake Oswego City Council meeting on July, 6, 2021, the City Council unanimously passed Resolution 21-23, Receiving and Filing Initiative Measure 20201N-1 to Amend Chapter X of the Lake Oswego Charter to Enhance Protection of the City’s Natural Areas. Oregon statute requires City Councils to confirm receipt of local citizen initiative petitions that qualify for the ballot.
Lake Oswego City Council has three options to consider which will be discussed at a special meeting scheduled for August 3, 2021: (a) adopt and endorse initiative 2020IN-1, (b) refer initiative 2020IN-1, or (c) refer initiative 2020IN-1 and refer a competing City-drafted measure to the ballot. The City is considering referring a competing measure to the November ballot and has begun drafting the proposal of this referendum. Regardless, citizen initiative petition 2020IN-1 will be assigned a measure number for Lake Oswego voters’ November 2021 ballot.
Lake Oswego citizens who want to learn more and stay informed heading into the November election can visit the LoveLOParks website and subscribe to our newsletter.
Learn more– https://www.loveloparks.org/citizens-measure
Love LO Parks is a Lake Oswego grassroots citizen coalition seeking to influence Lake Oswego’s city policy and regulations to legally and permanently protect our natural parks from future development while advocating for maintenance to preserve them as vibrant and healthy natural habitats for residents, visitors, and future generations to enjoy.