Citizen’s Measure Explained

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Lake Oswego citizens began circulating citizen initiative petition, 2020IN-1, to protect our natural parks from future City development in December 2019. For the past 18-months, over 100 residents have volunteered thousands of hours and donated to our efforts to inform and educate the Lake Oswego community about the protections we seek for these natural areas. Citizen initiative petitions for local elections must collect signatures from at least 15% of the City’s registered voters to qualify for the ballot. We needed 4,365 signatures and collected over 4,700 and counting.

Clackamas County Elections certified 4,433 Lake Oswego registered voters signatures on June 23, 2021, thereby qualifying our citizen initiative petition 2020IN-1 for the November 2021 ballot. Our Citizen’s Measure (measure # TBD) amends the Lake Oswego City Charter’s Chapter X – Park Development Limitation to protect 15 additional natural parks with additional development limitations to preserve them as natural habitats accessible for public enjoyment.

Citizens are pursuing protections due to repeated City attempts to develop one or more of our natural parks. For example, Cooks Butte was deeded to the City in 1975 by the Emery family for the purposes of remaining a natural habitat. The City has pursued development a top Cooks Butte 3 times (1994, 2002, and 2019) for a major telecommunications facility. Citizens strongly opposed each attempt and with the Emery’s assistance development was prevented.

The current Chapter X – Park Development Limitation was placed on the ballot by citizen initiative and ratified in 1978 to “preserve Springbrook Park as a natural area” and prevent the City from developing it into a major athletic facility.

Chapter X currently:

  • applies ONLY to Springbrook Park
  • prohibits athletic facilities, parking lots, and roads or trails for motorized vehicles
  • allows trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding 
  • allows picnic and sanitary facilities
  • applies these restrictions to any park property acquired by bond in the future where voters designate such property subject to this Chapter

A YES vote on our Citizen’s Measure maintains (black text) and enhances (blue text) Chapter X’s development limitations:

  • applies to Bryant Woods Park, Canal Acres, Cooks Butte Park, Cornell Natural Area, Glenmorrie Greenway, Hallinan Woods, Iron Mountain Park, Kerr Open Space, Lamont Springs Natural Area, River Run, South Shore Natural Area, Springbrook Park, Stevens Homestead, Stevens Meadows, West Waluga Park, and Woodmont Natural Park
  • designates these properties as “Nature Preserves”
  • prohibits athletic facilities, parking lots, and roads or trails for motorized vehicles
  • prohibits telecommunications facilities, asphalt and concrete hard-surface trails, and above-ground facilities or structures that would impair or be inconsistent with natural conditions
  • prohibits tree cutting for purposes of commercial logging
  • allows trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding 
  • allows picnic and sanitary facilities
  • allows benches, boardwalks, and interpretive displays
  • allows maintenance for ecological restoration that provides safe and healthy natural areas that are accessible for public enjoyment, provides a healthy habitat for wildlife, eliminates invasive species, restores native species, and mitigates fire hazards
  • allows maintenance of existing facilities, structures, parking lots, roads or trails for motorized vehicle if not altered in any manner that would further impair or be inconsistent with natural conditions
  • allows implementation of pre-existing park-specific master plans that may specify development that would otherwise be restricted by this Chapter
  • applies these restrictions to any park property acquired in the future if designated as a “Nature Preserve” by the conveying property owners, the City, or voters

Our Citizen’s Measure subjects future City master plans for these parks to these development limitations.

Our Citizen’s Measure allows natural park trail construction using ADA compliant materials, such as decomposed granite (or other suitable materials), and boardwalks that are more compatible in natural areas and used broadly in national, state, and city wilderness areas across the country.

Our Citizen’s Measure DOES NOT impose any additional taxes.

A NO vote on our Citizen’s Measure retains the existing Chapter X protections for only Springbrook Park and continues to expose the other natural parks to future City development.

HOWEVER, should the City go forward with their referendum for a competing measure, our Citizen’s Measure must receive MORE ‘YES’ votes than the City’s referendum. Citizen’s MUST vote YES on our Citizen’s Measure and NO on the City’s referendum to enact the Citizens Measure’s development limitations.

Our Citizen’s Measure ballot title will be:

CAPTION: Restricts improvements on certain Lake Oswego park properties

QUESTION: Should the Lake Oswego City Charter be amended to restrict improvements on certain city park properties?

Our Measure’s ballot title was assigned by the City Attorney when our citizens initiative petition was approved for circulation in December 2019 and cannot, unfortunately, be changed. We believe it was written intentionally to stall our petition signature collection efforts and to confuse Lake Oswego voters. Citizens have not been confused. You can read more about this in our frequently asked questions.

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