Private-public partnerships allow for collaborative restoration efforts, officials tell the City Council

With a Sensitive Lands alternative draft pending in May, Lake Oswego's City Council took the opportunity Tuesday to ask more questions about what will eventually be called the Habitat Enhancement Program.

The goal, City Manager Scott Lazenby told councilors, is to replace a mandatory regulatory program with a voluntary incentive program.

“I see this as a key component of basically selling our Sensitive Lands reform to the regulatory agencies,” Lazenby said.

He added that Metro's Title 13 regulations primarily apply to development on private rather than public property.

“I want to establish a track record to show primarily Metro that we are serious about this,” Lazenby said, “and that we can do things to improve habitat, both on our own publicly owned property and on key habitat areas on the private side.”

To that end, the city partnered with two local watershed councils. Lazenby introduced Tryon Creek Watershed Council Coordinator Corrina Chase, as well as Stephanie Wagner and Mike Buck of the Oswego Lake Watershed Council, and invited them to give a quick overview of the conservation work their councils oversee.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Ivan Anderholm was also on hand to answer questions.

Wagner explained that her organization existed because of startup money supplied by the city. Those funds allowed for collaborative watershed restoration efforts between the watershed council and representatives of the school district, city and Lake Corp., as well as property owners around the Mountain Park neighborhood and their homeowners association.

Chase said most of the 12 projects her watershed council worked on annually concerned private land, and that she worked with about 80 landowners total.

Wagner presented seven proposed projects in the coming year to be funded through the Habitat Conservation Account, with some matched funds from watershed councils. These included sites in the Hallinan Heights neighborhood, near Springbrook Creek, near Iron Mountain Park and near Nettle and Tryon creeks.

“We have seen the value of actually working on private land, and using that as a way to leverage public funds and grant funds to get our communities involved to understand watershed restoration,” Wagner explained.

“(The sites) all have natural resources, riparian areas on the properties, and they're all contiguous to our own public natural open spaces,” Buck said.

Projects often involve removal of invasive plant species. Chase explained that at the Boca Raton project site, the property owners had complained that ivy growth was eroding the banks of Nettle Creek, contributing to poor water quality. That led to a private-public partnership of sorts.

“The state park has agreed to work on ivy on the other side of the creek if we're able to help on our side,” Chase said.

Asked how they decided which projects to support, Chase replied, “Our council has a prioritization process for sites we address. Sites that are adjacent to a creek and adjacent to a greenspace area, and which have high habitat corridor factors, are our highest prioritization sites.

“We typically ask people to do a sliding-scale contribution towards the projects," she added. "It's not a free handout, but we do make sure we can work with anyone within their means.”

Anderholm said the groups want to return after the projects are done to "show the council what we’re doing. We want to show our community we're investing in the habitat of the entire community, and also, what we're trying to do when we're talking about revisions to Sensitive Lands.”

Also Tuesday:

• A motion to approve an eight-lot subdivision on Cedar Street in Hallinan Heights — essentially a rejection of an appeal the Council heard Feb. 3 — passed by a 5-1 vote. Councilor Jackie Manz recused herself; Councilor Karen Bowerman proved the lone dissenting vote, arguing that the parcels in question did not fit the city's definition of a flag lot.

• Police Chief Don Johnson introduced four new law enforcement officers: Cole Duvall, a recent Portland State University graduate who had interned at the department for about a year; James Usher, a former University of Oregon football player; Josh Price, who served with the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan; and Russell Palmeri, who served as a military police officer with the U.S. Marine Corps and with the Department of Defense at Camp Pendleton.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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