Community Members’ Public Comments – RE: Agenda Item- Resolution 21-29

Over 50 Lake Oswego residents sent public comments to today’s City Council meeting asking City Council to reject a City referendum that would compete with our Citizen’s Measure on the November 2021 ballot.

Here are some of their comments:

Our trees and parks define our city. Without them, we are like every other development: lots of houses and no green space. Why are parks important? To help our children appreciate nature, to get them outside and away from their computer screen, to help all citizens enjoy walking in a beautiful place, to support our wildlife and birds, to allow us an outdoor area to recreate and picnic with our friends and families. Without our trees and parks, we will not be a community that is attractive to anyone other than those wanting to live in yet another development. The city has done enough already to destroy what made Lake Oswego unique, beautiful and attractive by approving tree removals at a record pace, destroying our natural areas and insisting that natural areas all need to be developed into a sports field. Please keep what makes our community different than all the other new developments. There are plenty of places for people to live who dont like trees and nature.

– Lake Grove, Resident Since 2000 

Preserving the natural beauty of the parks and keeping them that way is important.

– Palisades, Resident Since 2005

Developing natural parks in this city has been an opaque process. Citizens deserve a say about the parks in our midst.

– Palisades, Resident Since 2013

We chose LO because of its natural beauty: its protected areas, parks, trees, etc. The natural beauty of LO is what we were drawn to and motivated us to purchase our home and willingly pay it’s much higher taxes.  If we do not actively protect LOs natural beauty, we will in time become just another “formerly beautiful” city. It takes guts, sacrifice, and vision to look into the future of our city whilst remembering the generosity of those that came before us. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2018

I love our natural areas and the measure we as citizens have produced. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2018 

LAKE OSWEGO That’s why in 2018 I decided to move to Lake Oswego. it’s beautiful parks and open spaces.  Please protect our community most beautiful parks and open spaces.

– Palisades, Resident Since 2018

In this crazy and scary world the beauty of the green foliage, green meadows and trees brings us the calm we so desperately need.  Leave our parks alone.

– Evergreen, Resident Since 2012 

Creativity, serenity, beauty, strength, and a sense of safety,  all come from having nature preserves close at hand.  I support minimal “suburbanization” of rural and natural areas. 

– Hallinan Heights, Resident Since 1986

I support the measure because Parks are important in maintaining the quality of life LO offers and benefits the environment.

– Bryant

We moved to Lake Oswego and accepted to pay high taxes to enjoy the beauty of the natural environment of Lake Oswego. We support the citizen’s measure because we want to keep this beautiful environment as it is. We are tired of developers cutting trees to build enormous houses. Developers make money and let us deal with density and pay for bigger schools!

– Palisades, Resident Since 2013

We love our neighborhood parks. We chose this community because of all the greenery and nature that surrounds our neighborhood. We hope to share these beautiful parks with our children . 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2015

We want the citizen’s initiative petition, 2020IN-1 on the November ballot. Lake Oswego is a special city because of our parks. However, we no longer TRUST the City Council to do the right thing on behalf of our parks. The mayor and city counselors LIED to us, about Cooks Butte and shamefully misled the heirs of that property when getting them to support a cell tower. The city coucil do not have the trust of the thousands of Lake Oswego citizens who filed the citizen’s initiative petition – we want it on the ballot. We deserve the vote.    

– Palisades, Resident Since 2003

Our natural parks make Lake Oswego a unique, livable and beautiful small town.  More development that would destroy our parks will ruin our beautiful city. 

– McVey-South Shore, Resident Since 1969

I believe that maintaining our natural parks is essential to have our children grow up with an understanding of the importance of the natural world.  They provide a habitat for the animals that share this place with us. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2015

Support the citizens you represent and their efforts over the last 18 months by not pushing a competing referendum.  

– Palisades, Resident Since 2017

Please reject the competing rushed referendum and do what’s right. Please support the citizen’s measure that garnered over 4,700 signatures. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2016

I think the competing referendum is too little too late and prefer the citizens’ measure on the ballot.

– Palisades, Resident Since 2016

Part of the reason we chose to buy a home in Lake Oswego was so our children could have access to outdoor experiences and activities in a safe environment. One where we didn’t have to drive an hour to get to, We could even walk to sometimes. Please make sure the safe and healthy outdoor environments are made available for future citizens of this beautiful city. Our parks and outdoor spaces were a sanctuary during Covid. Please don’t take them away or leave them continually threatened. These outdoor spaces keep our communities balanced with safe homes, good schools and healthy outlets. Please give us a balancedCommunity for the future. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2005

It’s important that our city parks and natural preserves be small slivers of land put aside to actually *be preserved* in their natural state without exception and ambiguity.  There will always be some group, special interest, political influence, influential person, or profit seeker that believes their cause is the exception to the rule of preservation that warrants development or “improvement.” The only way to truly protect these places is to declare them sacred and inviolate. It is a model for the preservation of nature that we must adopt to preserve some natural spaces on our planet for good. Can we not set aside some small slivers of our space? I see too many ambiguities and exceptions baked into the city’s proposed referendum as it is written so far. Please reconsider it thoughtfully and without precipitate action or, better yet, drop it all together in favor of the citizen’s measure. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2018

A natural park, like Springbrook, allows you, close to home, to be left alone and free.  Because leaving it the way it is is protected by charter, you do not need to worry about anyone’s desires to “improve” what is already just fine as it is.  Given that half the parks are developed parks, the citizen’s initiative simply brings the remaining half into the Springbrook category and gives it charter protection. 

The referendum and the discussion around is a hijacking sham.  Probably worst of all, without acknowledging it, the city is overtly competing with a citizen’s initiative. However it is only obliquely, if at all, directly debating and engaging with the initiative.  It is setting up a bit of theatre with the story line being that the preservation effort is responsive to the citizens, when, in fact, it actually strips charter protections from Springbrook – again, while omitting this fact entirely.  In exchange, it gives assurance that a cell tower won’t be built in Springbrook, which is laughable given that no cell tower would be proposed there anyway.   In short, the referendum is a blatant attempt by the city to maintain control and flexibility to do what it, not the citizens, wants to do with the remaining parks.  It may well arise from the city’s most benevolent and forward thinking sentiments about what it thinks best for the citizens, but 4,700 petitioners have already said otherwise and have signed on to their desire for real limitations.  I think that should give the city pause.  

Finally, the mean truth is that if the referendum is put on the ballot whichever gets the greatest votes – the initiative or the referendum – will win.   A person does not have the ability to vote for leaving things alone.  This is also not discussed.  I commend to you that you: let the initiative play out in the election without the intrigue of the referendum.  This only engenders further distrust.   We already have plenty on our plates right now and people are seeking solutions to very weighty problems, not the smallest of which is climate change.  The referendum is a disrupter.  Please don’t go forward with it.   

– Uplands, Resident Since 1989

Do not undermine the voices of over 4000 Lake Oswegans!  Please use the power granted to you by the citizens of Lake Oswego to administer the tasks that we deem important to us.  We are saving LO natural parks for future generations, who as it turns out, will be left behind to undo the environmental damage we have created.  Your actions succeed in creating a perception that local officials are merely concerned with their own agendas.  Over 4000 voters have acted in respectful democratic engagement by seeking input from countless citizens and speaking directly with each other to craft a petition that sets parameters on what the city is allowed to do with a natural park.  I understand you want to do so much more than what is set into the petition which is why you are hurriedly creating your own rival less constrained referendum.  If you believe in the democratic process, sit on your hands and allow the voters to speak on Election Day. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 1998

I believe the city parks in Lake Oswego represent the best of our city.  My husband and I enjoy walks, communing with nature, watching the birds and other animals, and enjoying the quiet serenity of our natural parks. As we watch the beautiful trees in our neighborhood being cut down for “progress,” we can still enjoy our natural parks. 

– Bryant, Resident Since 1996

Natural areas are healing and restorative.  Allowing impingement of manmade structures and technologies should be kept to a minimum.  The citizen’s measure calls to protect the park in specific and acceptable ways.  The competing city bill is lax and unclear in its protections.   

– Glenmorrie, Resident Since 1979

Please understand the need to keep our natural areas safe and protected as well as uphold your duty to respond to the concerns of your LO citizens.  Please have your upcoming city council meeting open through Zoom to allow YOUR public to participate and have their voices heard.  Many of Lake Oswego residents have put their hearts and energy into working toward putting a grassroots citizen’s measure on the ballot. The fact that there has been little to no recognition from city council to reach out and acknowledge the mission of voters is disheartening and disturbing.  We mattered when you wanted us to vote for you. Why did the city council need to write their own measure?  I believe the City’s measure is not in the best interest of preserving the integrity of our natural spaces.  It is our duty to help this planet keep its wild places and this effort starts in our own collective backyard of our natural areas. Climate change is real. Let future generations celebrate that you did the right thing when it came down to saving what really matters.  Thank you.

– Bryant, Resident Since 2020

Our area is fully built out so we must preserve the green space we have to be able to escape the chaos of city life.   And we have native animals who are also being crowded out as we build additional density.   As a resident near Cooks Butte park I banded together with my neighbors three times to keep the city from building a tower much taller than the trees.    Why must citizens combat the city repeatedly to keep a park natural that was deeded as “natural.”   Why can’t our city leaders respect the wishes of the deed?  Why make citizens mount an effort over an over again? 

– Palisades, Resident Since 1993

Our natural parks are part of why I live in LO, the forested and meadow trails are priceless. I signed the Love LO Parks measure because of its straightforward language around protection of our natural parks, and not development of them. Having the City propose a competing measure does not cure, but fosters concern with the City’s agenda. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2001

Our parks are priceless and need to be protected.

– Westridge, Resident Since 2019

It is important to keep the green space undeveloped.  After the city council attempted to build a communications tower at the top of Cooke’s Butte with very little notification.  I am opposed to the city council attempting to once again give short notice on proposed changes to a grass roots effort. I will be voting in the next election.    

– Palisades, Resident Since 2018

Our parks need to be protected in perpetuity. An erosion in the sanctuary of our protected areas is a an erosion to the Lake Oswego culture. These areas need to be protected.

– Westridge, Resident Since 2019

Natural areas in Lake Oswego are important for many reasons. They support the health and well-being of the people in our community and offer benifits like stress reduction and opportunities for social connection, play and respite from our hectic lives. Green spaces also mitigate the effects of pollution and can reduce a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect, which refers to heat trapped in built-up areas. It is important to maintain natural areas in LO NOW and in the FUTURE.

– Palisades, Resident Since 2018

Surely the Council will respect the concerns of nearly 5000 Lake Oswego residents and their constituents and endorse the grassroots initiative! Maybe the next initiative will be for recall. Citizen involvement should be encouraged not ignored, the arrogance after election to office turns many of us off and away from civil engagement. Please respect the effort, please endorse protection for the few patches of wild in our community.
The natural areas should be treasured: they serve as natural air conditioners, they sequester carbon, serve as laboratories for the curious, muffle city sounds, provide visual interest to our landscape, offer home and refuge to an array of native plants and animals, and they make Lake Oswego what it is. Imagine our city without the small fragments of our natural world. Complex little ecosystems can not be recreated; they can be lost forever. Cherish what we have, protect what we love … once lost only regrets will remain. 

– Bryant

It’s important to allow residents to vote on large development projects that would drastically change our natural parks. 

– Bryant, Resident Since 2017

For over a year, Council had ample opportunity to work with the ‘Love LO Parks” group to work on and resolve the issues which brought about the ballot measure. But Council chose not to engage. The only reason you’re now debating this is because the citizen volunteer measure succeeded.  Had it not, I think you’d probably continue to ignore the issues.  Only now – when the Love LO Parks measure is on the ballot – is the Council taking action. But it’s a case of too little, too late. 

The Love LO Parks initiative is a significant grassroots accomplishment that we should celebrate and support. It represents our community’s values for protecting our natural habitats from development. The measure is written precisely, deliberately and intentionally. It expands upon the current ‘Chapter X – Park Development Limitation’ that protects Springbrook Park by asking voters to further limit development that is inconsistent with maintaining 15 additional natural parks as healthy and vibrant natural habitats. 

Please don’t undermine the citizen’s measure by forwarding a competing City referendum to the November ballot. Thank you for your consideration.

– Resident

I was drawn to Lake Oswego for its excellence in schools and for its many parks. One of those parks is Cooks Butte, which was a gift to the people of Lake Oswego by the Emery family with the provision that it remain a natural park. Despite the Cooks Butte Park restrictions there have been three attempts to develop cell towers in the park. In each instance the people of Lake Oswego organized to protect the park from development and they prevailed. As citizens of Lake Oswego we have now created a ballot measure to restrict the exploitation and development of specific Lake Oswego parks and natural spaces, designating them as Nature Preserves. Now the current Lake Oswego City Council is considering their own ballot measure that undermines the protections outlined in the citizen’s initiative and ignores the efforts of the many Lake Oswego residents that have signed the petition to protect our parks.  Please let the city council know that we will not tolerate such underhanded abuse by their positions as members of the Lake Oswego City Council.  

– Palisades, Resident Since 1993

Our natural parks are a treasure and add to the beauty of Lake Oswego. Please don’t jeopardize them. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2016

It’s our duty to protect our parks and preserve this resource for future generations.

– McVey-South Shore, Resident Since 2010

Our natural parks are the only true legacy the city can give to its people.  We need them now more than ever.  

– Rosewood, Resident Since 2014

The citizen’s measure is a huge grass root effort that uncovered a great concern among 4000+ of your neighbors. There is no reason to not see this through at the ballot box. The opposing referendum is rushed and has no similarly broad base in our community. In fact, it are these tactics that may have many citizens of Lake Oswego sign the initiative in the first place, because they feel city government doesn’t have their interest at heart when it comes to protecting our natural resources. That’s why I signed it. 

– Bryant, Residence Since 2017 

I’m emailing to ask you to reject a rushed competing referendum and support our citizen’s measure that was qualified by over 4,700 voting constituents. My family moved to Lake Oswego from a large city so our young boys could grow up surrounded by nature. LO citizens care about these spaces, please don’t stand in our way of protecting them! We have an opportunity in Lake Oswego to do our part to protect the environment. We might not have the ability to control what happens elsewhere, regarding climate change, but we can do our part by protecting our little portion of the world. I’m sure in your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do, for the current residents and future generations. 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2017

Please keep the measure that we religiously did as told to get citizens signatures to keep our parks as is. Lived here over 45 years, and seemingly more and more of our beloved open spaces are getting taken away from their original purpose… open. If sustainability is the new buzz word it would be nice for the City to really walk the talk!

– Resident

I strongly support the Citizen’s Measure 2020IN-1 to protect our natural parks from development and expand Springbrook Park’s protections to other natural parks. 

I wish the City Council would listen to the many citizens who care about natural parks and care too. I sincerely ask that the City Council NOT put forth a competing initiative to obfuscate and confuse this simple issue of maintaining about 3% of our land in a mostly natural state as healthy and vibrant natural habitats.

These small remnants of natural lands in our neighborhoods provide solace, beauty, shade from the heat island effect of cities and refuges for us and other species attempting to survive a rapidly changing world. If we save these areas, they might just save us back someday. We have plenty of other areas to “develop.”  Let’s not pass this buck. Let’s make the tough choice now to say “enough.” 

– Palisades, Resident Since 2005

Parks are essential for quality of life for both citizens and wildlife. Many residents moved here because of these parks and the city’s wonderful trees. I know development is needed, but it needs to slow down. If our city becomes overdeveloped, people won’t want to live here anymore. 

– Lake Forest, Resident Since 1992