Lake Oswego residents have been pushing back against City development for our natural areas for many decades. Even before 1978 when Chapter X was enacted by over 75% of voters for Springbrook Park, residents sought protecting our natural habitats. Without strong charter and city code, residents have been required to expend significant effort to protect these lands. Unfortunately, residents haven’t always been successful (eg. Woodmont “Natural” Park). After the City’s 3rd attempt for a major telecommunication facility in Cooks Butte Park, residents mobilized to protect our natural parks from future development. In November 2021, Lake Oswego voters approved citizen-initiated Measure 3-568 to enact sensible development limitations for 15 natural parks.
Yes. Dog are allowed and owners must follow Lake Oswego’s dog leash law.
Yes. The City of Lake Oswego may produce a property-specific master plan subject to the development limitations specified in Chapter X.
Yes. There are several pathways for additional parks to be subject to Chapter X’s development limitations:
- Property owner can deed property as a “Nature Preserve”
- Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Advisory Board (PRAB) can nominate property as a “Nature Preserve” and ratified by City Council
- Director of Parks and Recreation can nominate property as a “Nature Preserve” and ratified by City Council
- Voters can add property as a “Nature Preserve” through ballot initiative
- A bond to be voted upon can designate property as a “Nature Preserve.”
The City of Lake Oswego only has one pre-existing park-specific master plan for the Canal Area approved in February 2001 that has not been implemented.
On November 6, 2019, we met with Ivan Anderholm, the Director of Parks & Recreation, to review our proposed draft charter amendment. During our meeting, he suggested adding the Stevens Meadow Homestead (a 5-acre parcel the City had recently purchased) to the Stevens Meadow definition. He further explained the parcel and the trailhead plans.
Before this meeting, we were unaware of the Stevens Meadow Homestead. Nonetheless, the conversation entailed expectations for the timing of our ballot measure and a suggestion to include a provision to exempt pre-existing master plans to the proposed charter amendment text (4 existed at the time); the Stevens Meadow Trailhead Park Master Plan was dated August 27, 2019. At the time, Mr. Anderholm expected the development to complete by the end of 2020.
Since at least January 2021, the Stevens Homestead Trailhead project has sat idle for unknown reasons without any further development. In June, the City’s website stated “Plans have been submitted to County and we are waiting on approval.”
Once voters approved Measure 3-568, the City Attorney interpreted the new law and its impacts. Apparently, the Stevens Meadow Homestead parcel resides in Clackamas County that doesn’t require a rigorous master planning process for land development. And, furthermore, the Stevens Meadow Trailhead Park Master Plan doesn’t technically qualify (unbeknown to us) as a master plan. Why Mr. Anderholm didn’t direct the Parks department to produce a valid master plan in June 2021 when the citizens initiative qualified for the ballot is also unknown. Anyhow, the City has interpreted the new law and advised this project be canceled.
What’s next? City Council could forward a ballot measure for the Stevens Meadow Homestead Trailhead for voter consideration and approval. But, it is unclear that is necessary. There is a major park development literally less than 1/4 mile down the road — the Rasseekh Park Development. Rasseekh Park is at the base of Stevens Meadow and Cooks Butte with access provided by an existing asphalt paved pathway along Atherton Drive. The Rasseekh Park development has substantially more parking, a picnic area, restroom facilities, trails amongst many more amenities than the Stevens Meadow Trailhead. And, Rasseekh is central to Luscher Farm, Hazelia Field, two dog parks, and the upcoming Recreation and Aquatic Center. Perhaps with Rasseekh’s budget growing, the City also recognized the proximity of these two parcels and that the funds were better spent at Rasseekh?