Park Protections

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Springbrook Park is the ONLY natural area protected. Our initiative adds 15 additional natural parks to the City Charter.

The City of Lake Oswego has had decades 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 the development of structures and/or facilities inconsistent with a natural area. 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.

The Parks and Recreation department, over several decades, 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 has failed to act to protect and preserve them.

Parks & Recreation Department Park Plans
Lake Oswego Open Space Plan (2001)Plan
Lake Oswego Trails & Pathways (2003)Master Plan
Trail Map
Lake Oswego Parks Plan 2025 (2012)System Plan

Time’s up! Recent events at Cooks Butte has exposed, once again, the vulnerability of our natural areas. The City has failed to enact sensible restrictions in the City Code and has failed to develop many park-specific master plans. Without legal protection, some people will continue to see opportunity to develop them.

That’s why WE must take action to protect them NOW! 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 but our vote.

Our path has been paved 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 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.

This chapter has since protected Springbrook Park. In fact, 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 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 to codify protections guaranteeing these natural areas can never be developed upon, keeping Lake Oswego’s legacy as the Tree City intact for generations to come. It’s the right thing to do!

Our prospective initiative enhances Chapter X with additional limitations, additional natural areas and open spaces, and provide a vehicle to include more parks in the future.


The revised Chapter X defines a “Nature Preserve” and those parks subject to that definition. Nature Preserves are subject to the following allowed and prohibited development limitations:

  • The City MAY provide:
    • Trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding
    • Benches and interpretive displays
    • Picnic and sanitary facilities
    • Boardwalks to access particularly fragile habitats
  • Park maintenance 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
  • Maintain:
    • pre-existing facility or pre-existing structure
    • any existing parking lot, road, or trail for motorized vehicles
  • Implement pre-existing adopted Park-specific Master Plans, such as:
    • Canal Woods, Bryant Woods, & River Run
    • Iron Mountain
    • Stevens Homestead
    • Woodmont Natural Park
Not Allowed
  • 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: Jan 16, 2020

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