Citizens’ Measure 3-568 builds upon Springbrook Parks development limitations for 15 additional natural parks. Springbrook Park is the ONLY natural area protected.
For decades, the City of Lake Oswego has failed to enact sensible development limitations in the Lake Oswego Code for our natural area and open spaces. The code pertaining to Parks and Natural Areas (PNA) and Sensitive Lands (SL) fails to adequately prevent Conditional Use Permit applications, leaving many natural areas and open spaces vulnerable and at risk to habitat destruction from City development inconsistent with a maintaining natural areas. The Conditional Use Permit process requires the community to be actively involved in City Council sessions and subsequently engaged in a lengthy, costly, time-consuming, and reactive development review process just to defend our natural areas — that should, otherwise, be guaranteed protected from such activities. And, while some natural areas have deeded covenants and restrictions, these are also limited or are vulnerable to the City and special interests.
For decades, the Parks and Recreation department, has documented the Lake Oswego community’s interest in preserving these natural areas and open spaces in their Comprehensive Park Plans. In many cases, these plans map out actions to our City for protecting the finite resources…while the City continues to fail to act to protect and preserve them. Why?
Parks & Recreation Department Park Plans
Lake Oswego Open Space Plan (2001)
Lake Oswego Parks Plan 2025 (2012)
Once again, recent events at Cooks Butte and Woodmont Park has exposed the vulnerability to our natural areas. Since the City has failed to enact sensible development limitations in our City Code and has failed to develop many park-specific master plans, some people will continue to see opportunity to develop them.
That’s why Lake Oswego citizens must take action to protect these natural habitats before they are developed! We can protect our natural areas by adding sensible development limitations for our natural parks directly into the City Charter. Charter protections will protect these natural areas until the community decides otherwise by our vote, and not the political agendas and career aspirations of constantly changing Mayors, City Council members, and City staff.
Our path has been forged already by the Lake Oswego community:
In 1978, Springbrook Park was under threats to urbanization and development. The City planned to develop this natural area into high-density housing and then into a major athletic facility. The residents and community were unhappy with those plans and enacted by ballot measure “Chapter X – Park Development Limitation” in the City’s Charter.
Chapter X has since protected Springbrook Park. Recently the City, once again, planned to expand the Tennis Center into Springbrook Park — violating Chapter X. The City, being reminded of this legal protection, had to reconsider and back off. Unfortunately, Chapter X specifically only protects Springbrook Park. And, specifically only from Athletic Facilities, parking lots, and paved roads. These protections have not prevented the City from maintaining Springbrook Park.
These protections should not be exclusive to Springbrook Park. Such protections are emphasized in decades of City parks plans:
- Open Space Plan. Adopted in 2001, this plan laid out a blueprint to protect heritage landscapes while no action has been taken by the City.
- Parks Plan 2025. Adopted in 2012, this plan highlights the overwhelming importance of these natural areas to the community through their outreach programs.
It’s time for Lake Oswego citizens to codify legal protections guaranteeing these natural areas can never be developed upon without voter approval, keeping these natural habitats available for generations to come. It’s the right thing to do!
Measure 3-568 enhances and expands Chapter X with additional development limitations, additional natural areas and open spaces, and provides pathways to include more natural parks in the future — should our community choose.
The enhanced Chapter X explicitely defines a “Nature Preserve” and those parks subject to that definition. Nature Preserves are subject to the following allowed and prohibited sensible development limitations compatible with natural habitats:
- The City MAY provide:
- Trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding
*National, state, and local trails use tightly packed decomposed granite (or similar natural material) to provide accessibly compliant trails in wilderness areas.
- Benches and interpretive displays
- Picnic and sanitary facilities
- Boardwalks to access particularly fragile habitats
- Trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding
- Park maintenance and stewardship for purposes of ecological restoration that:
- provides a safe and healthy natural area that is accessible for public enjoyment
- provides a healthy habitat for wildlife
- eliminates invasive species
- restores native species
- mitigates fire hazards
- Maintenance of City infrastructure:
- pre-existing facilities or pre-existing structures
- any existing parking lot, road, or trail for motorized vehicles
- Implement pre-existing adopted Park-specific Master Plans that may contain development, that would otherwise be restricted by the proposed charter amendment’s development limitations, such as:
- Canal Woods, Bryant Woods, & River Run – Not Implemented
- Iron Mountain – Implemented in 2020
- Stevens Homestead – In Progress
- Woodmont Natural Park – Implemented in 2020
- Any Athletic Facility
- Any Telecommunications Facility
- Any parking lot, road, or trail for motorized vehicles
- Cutting any tree for the purpose of facilitating the construction or development of :
- any Athletic Facility
- any Telecommunications Facility
- any parking lot, road, or trail for motorized vehicles
- New trails with hard surface materials made from asphalt and concrete.
- Constructing or developing any facility or any structure above ground that would impair or be inconsistent with the natural conditions.
- Cutting any tree for the purpose of commercial logging.
Last updated: Aug 15, 2021