🌎 Celebrating Earth Day 2024

We celebrate Earth day as a reminder to be better stewards of the natural environment and strive to lessen our impact on all living things that call it home.


Lake Oswego has a long history of families recognizing the devastating impacts of humanity’s appetite to develop the wilderness around us. So much so that families, such as the Emery’s, Stevens’, Meyers’, Freepons’ and so many others, deeded many of Lake Oswego’s natural habitats — Stevens Meadow, Cooks Butte, Woodmont Park, and Freepons Park —  to the City of Lake Oswego with the intent they remain forever natural.


Lake Oswego has a long history of community activism following in these families’ footsteps to preserve Springbrook Park, Canal Acres, Cooks Butte, and Bryant Woods — among others — from City and private developer interests. Whether it’s high density housing, athletic facilities, telecommunication towers, roads or parking lots, our community has constantly pushed back against threats to develop and destroy our natural areas.


Lake Oswego has a long history of park stewardship; community volunteers work tirelessly to protect, maintain, and preserve many of our natural area parks. Nine recognized park Friends Groups work throughout the year with City park staff to maintain and restore habitats in over a dozen Lake Oswego parks.


Lake Oswego has a long history of attempts to develop natural areas…sometimes successfully. Many times, the City has expressed that mitigation is equivalent to preservation. But, our community knows better. Mitigation is rarely successful at restoring a natural habitat back to its previous splendor; destroying what was once a thriving ecosystem and reducing the public’s enjoyment of its once natural surroundings for decades, if not forever.


Lake Oswego residents mobilized and executed their Oregon Constitutional right to amend their City Charter through an initiative petition in late 2019; their goal was simple: to enact legal safeguards to protect 15 natural areas — Nature Preserves — from all future development that was inconsistent with preserving them as natural areas. Garnering more than the required 15% of all registeredvoters signatures, no small feat, the initiative petition was successfully brought forth to all Lake Oswego voters with Measure 3-568.

At the behest of a few closely connected citizens who refused, from the beginning, to accept our citizens’ efforts, City Council forwarded a toothless referendum to compete against the citizens’ measure in an effort to keep control over developing natural areas.

Having been well-informed throughout the citizens’ initiative and measure campaigns, the majority of voters (62%) ratified citizens’ Measure 3-568 on November 2, 2021. In a historic moment, voters chose to place 15 Nature Preserves into their custody; all future development not explicitly allowed (and what should be a very rare occurrence) would require a vote of the people — leaving a legacy of nature for future generations to enjoy all their natural splendor.


Recent development threats at Waluga Park – West and Stevens Meadow have emerged demonstrating a defiant City culture that is willing do whatever it takes to further development at the expense of our natural environment — disrespecting our community’s explicit intent to preserve our natural areas as enshrined into law. 

While the fate of these two Nature Preserves remains unknown, there is one known constant: our community’s heritage, activism, stewardship, and initiative to preserve them. Perhaps, City Council will join us with a demonstration of their leadership by beginning the process to transform our City’s development-biased culture into one of respect and preservation for all of our charter-protected Nature Preserves.

On this Earth Day, let’s enjoy what makes our community special and brings us together — our Nature Preserves!

Happy Earth Day!