As 32+ year residents of Lake Oswego, it pains us to think that we can no longer trust the Lake Oswego City Council. Rather than work in concert with the community they represent, City Council chose to place a competing Parks Measure on the November ballot in a blatant effort to misdirect and confuse Lake Oswego voters.
Please don’t be fooled by the City’s attempt to re-frame the Citizen’s Measure as a verbiage issue. It’s much more than that—it’s a City power issue. Let’s use the history of Cook’s Butte Park as one example of the City’s “we know better than you” attitude and its park measure intentions:
On April 3, 1975, the Emery Family granted a deed for the 42-acre Cook’s Butte portion of their property to the people of Lake Oswego. This grant was offered and received under the stipulation that it “be preserved in as close to a natural state as possible.”
Eighteen years later in 1993, City Council decided that siting a large, 150-foot cellular communications tower would be an appropriate “natural” use of the park. A horrified 81-year old Marjorie Emery filed an affidavit expressly stating that a communications tower wasn’t what she and her husband intended for the Cook’s Butte property. City Council backed down.
Eight years later in 2002, a new City Council tried again. After community-wide public outcry, the three surviving Emery children filed affidavits stating firm opposition to building a large communications tower at Cook’s Butte. City Council backed down again.
Fast forward to 2019. Thinking all was forgotten, yet another City Council proposed siting a larger 200-foot communications tower at Cook’s Butte. Another citizen-led fight with City Council ensued. Again, the Emery children, now joined by grandchildren and great-grandchildren, signed notarized documents vehemently opposing the tower construction. For the third time in 26 years, City Council backed down again.
Three times the City Council attempted to violate the wishes of the Emery’s and the terms of their grant. Three times the Emery’s said, “NO.” It begs the question: “What does it take to protect our natural parks long-term from each new version of our City Council?”
Unfortunately where parks are concerned, it takes the hard work of writing a ballot measure designed to save us from those we elect to listen to us. So, a grassroots citizen initiative campaign was started in 2019. Lake Oswego citizens held meetings, collaborated, collected donations, hired competent and well-versed attorneys, wrote a well-crafted ballot measure, sent mailers, signed petitions, collected and verified signatures, and finally placed Measure 3-568 on the November 2021 ballot.
What did our City Councilors do? Five weeks ago, they rushed a competing Measure onto the ballot. Interestingly, their measure does NOT limit the City’s ability to place a communications tower on park property. If City Council can’t be trusted to limit commercial activity in one natural park, how can we trust them with the rest of our parks?
We believe that 26 years of broken promises is enough. We cannot rely on the last of the surviving Emery’s to keep saving us. Let’s act with honor and do what each succeeding City Council won’t do. Please vote NO on City Council’s Measure 3-575. Then join us in asking the City of Lake Oswego to keep its promise and respect the wishes of its citizenry. Please vote YES on Measure 3-568. Do it for yourself, your community, and the next generation. Thank you.
Mike and Debbie Wilkins
Lake Oswego Residents