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Streets and pathways, Parks & Recreation facilities and supporting business investment are among the top priorities for the new year

MANZLake Oswego City Councilors set the tone for the coming year Tuesday night, approving an amended list of policies and goals that range from road maintenance and pathway projects to the creation of an equity, diversity and inclusion task force.

After a lengthy discussion on dozens of topics and several straw polls, the council walked away from its annual retreat on Jan. 12 with a list of priorities that it hopes to tackle over the next 12 months and beyond. Among those goals are three subgroups that include improvements to the City's streets and pathways, providing appropriate facilities for indoor recreation and swimming, and supporting business investment in Lake Oswego.

The council hopes to complete several paving and pathway projects identified in the city's Capital Improvement Plan within the year. In the next two years, the council aims to acquire easements and construct a pathway connection between Foothills Park and George Rogers Park.

In addition, councilors decided that they want to begin work now on a project that would link George Rogers Park on the Willamette River to the Tualatin River; it was originally considered more of a long-term goal. Also on the immediate to-do list: improving safe routes for schoolchildren, especially for the soon-to-be-rebuilt Lakeridge Junior High and paths along Jean Road.

"This has been a goal of mine for the past four, now five years to take a deep dive into our pathways," said Councilor Jackie Manz. "The river-to-river pathway might be more long-term, but providing safe walking and bike routes to school, I think we need to look at that in the short term."

As for providing facilities for indoor recreation and swimming, the council has committed to working with the Lake Oswego School District to identify possible partnerships and to consider a City park bond measure that would supplement school district funding for a community aquatics center.

The council decided to amend that goal by taking a step back and looking at all facilities at all of the schools in Lake Oswego to see how they might be better used in the scope of Parks & Recreation opportunities.

LAMOTTE "What are we doing at each school, as each school gets renovated?" asked Councilor John LaMotte. "Let's look at all the fields and gyms. Let's look at whether or not the intergovernmental agreement with the school district is working. Would a Parks & Rec center work with a pool combo? Let's look at the whole, not just the pieces."

To support business investment in Lake Oswego, the council is looking to promote the city as a great place to start or grow a business. This would include making a decision on the Foothills wastewater treatment plant as the first step in redeveloping the area. The North Anchor project also made an appearance under this goal subset, with the council hoping to break ground in the coming year.

In the long term, the council hopes to work with private partners on the implementation of the Foothills Master Plan and Southwest Employment Area Plan to boost economic development.

Other goals for 2019 include appointing a task force to work on issues regarding diversity, equity and inclusion; considering strategies for sustainable fire and emergency medical service costs; working with Clackamas County on the development of Metro housing bond projects in Lake Oswego; coming to a decision on short-term rentals; and adopting a strategy on how to become a "smart city."

The council's goals also include a list of policy priorities that need to be visited and refined, such as the improvement of neighborhood livability by working with residents and neighborhood associations to identify a strategy for the preservation of the city's assets (such as utilities and roadways), including funding for operations and maintenance, and working on a policy that supports "friendly annexation" of neighboring residential areas with the consent of affected residents.

Also on Tuesday

The council approved a resolution referring the renewal of a parks bond to voters on the May 21 ballot.

According to a survey completed by Riley Research Associates on behalf of Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation, approximately 85 percent of respondents support the renewal of the approximately $22 million bond. Funds would go toward the acquisition of land for open space and future parks, renovation and replacement of existing facilities, and the development of new parks and recreation facilities.

The council directed staff to come back at the end of February with more specific language as to the exact dollar amount of the bond and its components.

"This was really to emphasize that what people are paying in taxes today is what they'll pay tomorrow," LaMotte told The Review.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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