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Co-chief petitioner Veronica Reichle said it took a great effort on the part of volunteers to go door-to-door in Gladstone to talk with citizens about park issues.

According to initial Nov. 8 results, Gladstone voters approved, with more than 80 percent in favor, two park measures that will require public votes if the city ever intends to sell a public park for private development, while in Oregon City, voters rejected by 51.18 to 48.82 percent a developer’s proposal for a nine-house subdivision at Wesley Lynn Park.

PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Chief petitioners Veronica Reichle and Chris Lodolini check their stacks of signatures for the park measures at the Happyrock coffee shop in Gladstone. Both Gladstone measures amend city charter to require public votes if the City Council ever wants to remove a property’s current designation as a park, or if city officials want to lease or sell one of Gladstone’s 15 parks. Oregon City voters already have to be asked if their city officials want to use park land for non-park uses, due to a successful citizen-initiated ballot measure in 1970.

Co-chief petitioner Veronica Reichle said it took a great effort on the part of volunteers to go door-to-door in Gladstone to talk with citizens about park issues. A major issue for signature gatherers was certain City Council members recently saying publicly that they would be willing to consider selling Gladstone Nature Park to a developer to help pay for the library/City Hall project.

By a mere six votes, Oregon City voters on May 17 rejected the proposal for development at Wesley Lynn Park, a 17.5-acre park on Leland Road on the southern end of Oregon City. For the Nov. 8 measure in which voters were asked to approve the same proposal, Icon Construction worked with Oregon City to rewrite the measure’s explanatory statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet to make it clear that “all improvements related to this measure would be made at the sole cost of the neighboring property owner.”

After the latest Oregon City election results, Icon Construction and Development will not put in wider concrete walkways on the park side of the street, where there’s currently just a hard-packed dirt path next to an off-leash dog park. Oregon City charter requires that encroachment on park uses go to a vote of citizens, and the city’s development review team felt it probably would not be feasible to construct the street entirely on private property, since it would cut into the size and number of lots that could be developed.

Development of the so-called Parker Knoll subdivision at Wesley Lynn Park could proceed without constructing a full-width street on park property, said Darren Gusdorf, general manager with Icon Construction.

Gusdorf said that the media and the measure language itself failed to mention important details about the proposal.

“The core of this measure is that the city feels the improvements within the park would benefit the community and something that they wanted to see come to fruition,” Gusdorf wrote in comments on an online article. “Both parties worked together on this for several months and structured something that would benefit all parties, including and especially our local community that utilizes the park. I mentioned that this was a ‘win-win’ measure, and it truly is.”

The Oregon City Parks Department wants improved access to Wesley Lynn Park and what will likely lead to future on-site parking. Because the city doesn’t have this park access point in the budget, Gusdorf said that he volunteered to complete full right-of-way improvements (which include curb, gutter, sidewalks, planter strips, and street trees) at the expense of Icon Construction.

“This will cost the taxpayers and the Parks Department nothing,” he said. “The (original) measure said nothing about this being voluntary nor did it mention that ALL of the costs associated with this improvement would be paid by the developer. Not required, but volunteered.”

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