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LoveLOParks is a local Lake Oswego citizen grassroots led and funded effort to protect one of the many great amenities our City has to offer — our natural parks — from future development that is inconsistent with maintaining these lands as natural habitats. Our natural parks define our City’s character and are nestled into the very fabric of our neighborhoods. We want to keep it that way for generations to come.

Our grassroots movement is rooted in decades of City plans, exploits, and development of our natural areas; many times, requiring significant community involvement through a tedious and costly “public” process. We formed our grassroots effort in the Fall of 2019 soon after Saving Cooks Butte for the 3rd time from a significant telecommunications facility. Majorie and John Emery deeded Cooks Butte with the intention for this heritage landscape to remain forever wild and free from commercial development. Fortunately, with the assistance of the Emery family, Cooks Butte remains a natural beacon across Lake Oswego’s skyline today.

While soliciting support to Save Cooks Butte, we learned:

  • residents across Lake Oswego were frustrated with the City’s decades of development ambitions at the expense of our natural parks, and they were concerned for these natural habitats’ future.
  • the City’s development code for Parks and Natural Resource Areas (PNA) and Sensitive Lands (SL), as well as our community citizen involvement process fails to sufficiently protect our natural parks from development.
  • the City has failed to produce park-specific master and management plans for a majority of our natural parks after decades of acquiring these lands; such plans would further define the intent to protect these parks as natural habitats.
  • citizens in the 1970s protected Springbrook Park from high-density housing and a major a major athletic facility by a citizen-initiated measure being overwhelmingly ratified 3:1 by voters, producing Chapter X – Park Development Limitation in the City’s charter. Springbrook has been protected for over 40 years; most recently, City plans for the Tennis Center expansion.

From listening to our friends and neighbors, it was clear we needed reasonable legal assurance that future residents would not have to bare the effort and cost ever again to express their will to protect these natural habitats from City development. Lake Oswego residents, not City planners nor a revolving City Council, needed a stronger voice. Charter protections are the only mechanism that requires the City to consult voters before planning development, as proven by those charter protections afforded Springbrook Park. Our proposed amendment to Chapter X – Park Development Limitations in the City Charter was born.

Between September 2019 and November 2019, we set out to produce a robust set of charter protections through outreach to residents, neighborhood associations, PRAB (parks, recreation, and natural area advisory board), LONAC (Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Committee), friends of parks, the Director of Parks and Recreation (Ivan Anderholm), a land-use attorney, and at our publicly advertised open house at the Lake Theater. Those interested provided input and suggested which natural parks to include, including the Director of Parks and Recreation.

In December 2019, our citizen initiative petition 2020IN-1 for a charter amendment was certified and petition circulation efforts commenced. We shared our citizen initiative with City Council, receiving interest from Councilor, Theresa Kohlhoff, while others were less enthusiastic to meet nor discuss legal protections limiting the City. Since then, City Council has never attempted to reach out to learn and understand our efforts.

Since December 2019, we’ve organized and grew our coalition to several hundred volunteers, donors, and followers from all around Lake Oswego; we’ve been working tirelessly collecting petition signatures.

In September 2020, our coalition assisted the Hallinan Heights neighborhood in influencing City Council to acquire a 2-acre private and heavily wooded parcel adjacent to Hallinan Woods to protect it from development. This parcel was purchased in August 2021.

While the pandemic, wildfires, and ice storms disrupted the pace of our petition circulation efforts, we persevered to bring this important natural park protection initiative to our fellow citizens for a vote.

Citizen initiative petitions must collect signatures from 15% of a city’s registered voters within 2 years to qualify. Since Lake Oswego has ~29,5000 registered voters, we needed 4,365 signatures; by early June 2021, we collected over 4,700 signatures and qualified on June 23, 2021 with 4,433 validated LO signatures. Since qualifying, we’ve continued to receive more petitions reaching over 4,800 signatures.

We are on the November ballot – Measure 3-568!

By Labor Day weekend, two prominent Oregon environment and conservation organizations, Oregon Wild and Sierra Club’s Oregon Chapter, endorsed Measure 3-568 after carefully reviewing both our measure and the City’s competing measure.

We hope to earn your vote this November.

Thank you,

LoveLOParks Steering Committee
Scott & Joey Handley, Betsy Wasko, Michael Louallier, Kirsten Sommer, & Brad Home