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In our opinion, history shows the City of Lake Oswego has been an untrustworthy partner and poor steward of this remarkable gift, Cooks Butte, bestowed upon the citizens of Lake Oswego. The City has tried multiple times, over the last 25 years, to break their agreement made with John and Marjorie Emery and their promise to keep this land undeveloped and in its natural state for the enjoyment of Lake Oswego citizens, forever.

Here you can read for yourself the historical accounts that document the Emery’s intended use for this remarkable gift to the citizens of Lake Oswego:

The Gift

April 3, 1975The Deed

1st Attempt: The City & GTE

July 29, 1994The Affidavit

2nd Attempt: The City & Clackamas 800 Radio Group (C800)

Sept 18, 2001John and Leslie Emery’s Letter
Sept 26, 2002Walter Emery’s Letter
January 22, 2003City Manager’s Letter

The Park Plan

July 1, 2008Cooks Butte Park Management Plan

3rd Attempt: The City & Clackamas 800 Radio Group

October 21, 2015C800: Site Review: Cooks Butte
August 10, 2016C800: Site Acquisition: Cooks Butte
March 15, 2017C800: Awaiting LO City on Cooks Butte
June 14, 2017C800: Working Cooks Butte Site Plan
June 26, 2017City Pursues Walter, Les, & John Emerys’ Consent
July 12, 2017C800: Awaiting Permission From City
October 18, 2017C800: City Reviewing Lease
December 5, 2017Resolution 17-69
April 18, 2018The Lease
August 29, 2019The Public Notice

Note: Residents and the community at-large did not become aware of any telecommunication tower proposal until the notice was sent to select residents on or around August 29, 2019. The more we learn, the more we find the dialog with the City and C800 has been going on for many, many years without community involvement.


The Deed

April 3, 1975

“It is understood and agreed, and by acceptance of this deed the grantee does hereby covenant, that…the premises will not be sold or used for any purpose other than park purposes or public utilities during the lifetimes of the grantors and their three living children…”


1st Attempt: 1994 – The Affidavit

July 29, 1994
Marjorie Emery

“…On behalf of the Grantor, Marjorie H. Emery hereby declares under oath as follows:

a. That the intent of the Grantors was and is that the Site be preserved in as close to a natural state as possible during the lifetimes of the Grantors and their three living children.

b. That the limited permitted use of the Site for “public utilities” was not intended to include public utilities which, following installation, would be visible above ground which would significantly impair the natural state of the Site.”


2nd Attempt: 2001 – The Letters

September 18, 2001
Joint Letter from John F. and Leslie M. Emery

“…With the encroachment of urban development this considerable acreage, with its mature forest and hilltop vistas became an increasingly rare refuge from the dominance of human construction and technology…”

“…any development of the property which denigrated its natural state or promoted commercial or technological uses, such as the erection of cellular telephone towers, was incompatible with the spirit of the transfer of ownership to the citizens of Lake Oswego. This property was not intended to be developed in whatever manner the city planners might choose. It was intended to be a natural preserve, a refuge for the remnant of wild creatures and plants that once were the primary inhabitants of this land…it was thus explicitly intended to be the very antithesis of the commercial and technological environments which dominate human sensibilities outside its boundaries…To install communications towers on this hilltop would ‘trump’ all these concerns and values in the most obvious manner…”


September 26, 2002
Letter from Walter W. Emery

“…We do not want nor will we support any possible additional Towers of any kind on Cooks Butte…”

“To my knowledge there has been no general meetings…it is important to have the majority of the Community backing such a project.”

“Cooks Butte Park and ones like Cooks Butte in Lake Oswego should be maintained as the Grantors intended for the greater livability of the community…”


January 22, 2003
Letter from the City Manager

“…All of us appreciate the foresight and generosity of your family in providing this very special property to Oswegans of pas, current and future generations. It is a marvelous community asset and those of us involved in public life in Lake Oswego feel a special responsibility as the stewards of this gift.

The explorations of placing a public safety 800-megahertz tower at this site has been dropped. The representatives of Clackamas County, the lead agency for this project, are pursuing other alternatives.”


Cooks Butte Park Management Plan

July 1, 2008
Adopted by the City Council

…Lake Oswego citizens have cited walking and biking trails as one of the most needed parks facility in Lake Oswego, and natural areas and wildlife viewing amongst the most needed…

…Using a ranking and prioritization scheme for all natural area parks in Lake Oswego, Cooks Butte comes to the top of the list because of its large size, square shape, and because the habitat remains largely intact. A relatively modest effort here could provide lasting protection…

…The land was purchased by the City in 1974 from John Emery, fulfilling the dream of Bill Cook that the land remain contiguous and held for public use in perpetuity…


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