Does Lake Oswego really want to protect its parks?

In this week’s LO Review, a Letter to the Editor submitted by Jean Eves — a long time Uplands Neighborhood resident and advocate for Springbrook Park — touches upon the reality and sentiments that countless Lake Oswego residents have shared about the City’s never-ending development appetite and disregard for citizens’ concerns. It’s these very concerns (Springbrook Park, Tennis Center, Bus Barn, Foothills Park, Cooks Butte, Rassekh — to name a few) that were shared with us nearly 24-months ago that manifested in our pursuit for strong legal protections that limit development in our natural parks — Measure 3-568.

With Jean Eves’ permission, we have reproduced her letter below for your convenience and for those who don’t subscribe to the LO Review:

“The city of Lake Oswego describes itself as “good stewards of our environment.” Its history of undermining our natural parks tells a different story.

In the 1950s the property between Rainbow Terrace, Uplands and Wembley Park was owned and logged by a sawmill operation. In 1969 the Pennington family donated 28 of the 52 acres that make up Springbrook Park to the city to be used as a natural park. The property sat for 20 years without the city doing anything to it.

The Friends of Springbrook Park (which Ruth Pennington was instrumental in forming) rescued the adjoining 24 acres from high-density housing with a special election in 1973. The mayor and City Council put full-page ads in the Review to defeat the acquisition. They failed to sway voters, and the property was added to the existing park parcel. The initiative to add the adjoining acreage declared it as a natural park, but the city ignored that and built an indoor tennis center on the land.

The city attempted more unnatural development of Springbrook in 1978. They failed to sway voters when 75% voted in favor of a charter amendment. Amendment X was passed to further cement Springbrook Park’s status as a “natural park.”

The Friends of Springbrook Park reestablished in 2003 as people saw a need for a Natural Resource Management Plan to balance the two important goals of the park: conservation and usage. The city once again was trying to add on to the tennis building. They were thwarted thanks to Amendment X.

Here we are in 2021, and the city asks us to trust their ballot measure to “protect” our parks. Can we really trust the motivations of city employees who have spent decades rebeling against the wishes of the citizens of Lake Oswego?”

Jean Eves
Lake Oswego