Lake Oswego’s City Charter: Chapter X – Park Development Limitation is a significant land use charter provision ratified by voters to protect and preserve 15 designated natural area parks from development. These natural areas are located in 9 neighborhood associations, totaling ~290 acres (approximately 4% of Lake Oswego) and all their abundant wildlife, flora, and fauna.
Lake Oswego’s natural areas are small natural habitats intertwined into the fabric of our neighborhoods and our community. Their ecosystems are host to abundant wildlife that give our community refuge and respite from the increasingly developed world that surrounds our beautiful tree-canopied city.
Several of Lake Oswego’s natural areas were “gifts” to our community — such as Cooks Butte, Stevens Meadow, Woodmont Park — by families who saw our innate human desire to develop natural lands and they wished these lands to remain forever wild.
Originally ratified by voters in 1978, Chapter X – Park Development Limitation was the result of a citizen-initiated ballot measure to “preserve Springbrook Park as a natural area.” Citizens desired to protect Springbrook Park from City plans to develop it into a major athletic facility. Citizens voted 3-1 in-favor to preserve Springbrook Park. Over the decades, Chapter X has protected Springbrook Park from multiple City’s attempts to expand the tennis center and its parking lot into this natural area.
In 2021, Chapter X – Park Development Limitation was replaced by a new citizen-initiated ballot measure; this time to protect an additional 14 natural area parks with enhanced and sensible development limitations to preserve them as safe, accessible, healthy, and vibrant natural habitats. Lake Oswego residents became concerned after 3 decades of City attempted exploits to build telecommunications facilities in Cooks Butte Park, adjacent to the meadow. Citizens spent 2 years (through a global pandemic and unprecedented wildfires and ice storms) qualifying citizen initiative petition 2020IN-1. Citizens gathered petition signatures from over 15% of Lake Oswego’s register voter signatures resulting in Citizens’ Measure 3-568. Furthmore, two prominent environmental organizations — Sierra Club and Oregon Wild — endorsed Measure 3-568, affirming the protections for these natural areas.
In the November 2, 2021 Special Election, after a bitter deceitful disinformation campaign against citizens’ Measure 3-568 by the City, City-affiliates, and their proxies, Lake Oswego voters ratified citizen-initiated Measure 3-568 with a 62% affirmative vote, validating the importance to keep City development out of our natural areas.