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Former county employee, descendant of architect say lagoon could be inspirational

Let us work toward a new vision for Clackamette Cove to become Oregon City's most beautiful park and create an Olmsted Peace Park where the cove and lagoon extend toward both the Clackamas and Willamette rivers.

Let's enhance Oregon City's tourism vision with this river property that would serve economic interests through visitor attractions. Let's make the North End about peace, celebrating water, nature and tourism, not about another shopping mall.

COURTESY PHOTO: GARY AND NANCY SPANOVICH - Pastoral and shoreline scenery, an inherent value of the Clackamette Lagoon, is an Olmsted design element.Gary and Nancy Spanovich

Olmsted Peace Park can be:

• A place in the city that will provide a contemplative and tranquil place to calm the mind and open the heart, inspire and educate for peace and creation.

• Where we celebrate the power of people when they gather to find common ground and aspirations.

• Where we can restore the water and land while creating an inspirational place for people to reflect on the various aspects of peace.

• Where we can learn to become peacemakers from international and national peace leaders and small plaques, like the Nobel Peace Park in Eugene.

• Recognize the efforts of those who have won wars through dialogue, forgiveness, reconciliation and other nonviolent processes.

Consider design elements for a contemplative, tranquil, serene park on the river surrounded by Oregon City's 21st-century new city:

• Aesthetic spaces, celebrating the Pacific Northwest, scenic views, the sound of water, fragrance of plants, ecological sustainability, clean, flowing water connection to the Willamette and Clackamas rivers.

• Stage/platform area for sound system/speakers, lighting for evening events and safety, adjustable seating or open standing area, provision for rain protection.

• Create circulation spaces bordered by small cloister-type spaces for individual and small group reflection and introspection.

• A world-class garden dedicated to humanity's highest aspirations.

By promoting the idea of peace as a value for every person for a hopeful future, the park will:

• Draw people from all over the world to Oregon City for the uniqueness of combining peacemaking with park planning.

• Make peace interesting — especially for kids — by engaging kids at an early age, teaching them about peace and exposing them to peace work. Kids of today are the future for tomorrow.

• Use funds to educate kids now and invest in their futures to reduce the costs they could otherwise cause taxpayers and the state in the future on jail, drug rehab, crime and mental health.

• Symbolize Oregon City and Mother Nature in harmony and establish this region in a world design competition for a regional park.

Let's make the North End about a "tourism vision" and dedicate it to the 200th birthday (April 22, 2022) of Frederick Law Olmsted — author, journalist, public official, city planner and father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted and his successor firms designed thousands of landscape projects across the country, transforming American life and culture. His vision of public parks for all people — and their ability to strengthen communities and promote public well-being — are now more important than ever.

Nancy Spanovich is a descendant of famed landscape architect Frederik Law Olmsted, and Gary Spanovich is a former transportation, engineering and economic planning director for Clackamas County.


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