City takes step forward in purchasing Yates property near Hallinan Woods
On the heels of a community-led rally encouraging the city to purchase the Yates property adjacent to Hallinan Woods to prevent the eventual removal of more than 100 trees and development of six homes, the Lake Oswego City Council unanimously voted Thursday, Sept. 24, to direct the city attorney to prepare a resolution of necessity to acquire the property on Yates Street, and to proceed with the steps to acquire the property by eminent domain — the right of the government to take ownership of a private property and convert it to a public use, so long as "just compensation" is awarded to the owner — if necessary.
"I am very grateful to the City Council for listening to the voices of ordinary citizens and acting quickly to preserve this natural space in response to an imminent threat of tree removal," said Lake Oswego resident Sarah Ellison in an email to the Review. "Our successful rally last week and the Council's decision follow years of persistent advocacy for the Woods by hundreds of citizens from across Lake Oswego."
The city has not yet purchased the property, though City Attorney David Powell said that with the passing of this resolution, it implies the city's intent to continue discussions with the owner about purchasing the property. If the two cannot negotiate a price, the city may proceed to acquire the property by eminent domain.
"I am absolutely delighted and will continue to do whatever is within my power to have the city purchase the property with no loss of any trees at all," said City Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff, adding that there is no reason this piece of property needs to be developed. "That is a piece of property that needs to stay pristine. (It) doesn't need development of any sort, even as a park. Just leave it alone."
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