Lake Oswego staff develop calendar of cultural, religious events
Lake Oswego is working toward developing a cultural and religious event calendar for next year that will reflect the diversity of its residents.
City staff presented a work plan during the Oct. 20 Lake Oswego City Council meeting that showed demographic data, the public outreach process and a list of new or expanded city-sponsored events that would be important to add to the calendar next year.
This task is related to one of the City Council's 2020 goals to increase the diversity of people serving and employed by the city.
"It should be noted that 2020 has been a challenging time to do this work, to connect with people and to make an inventory of events because our routines are disrupted right now as a result of COVID," Lake Oswego Public Library Director Melissa Kelly said.
Regardless, staff gathered data — including cultural events already in place — then implemented outreach strategies to gain an inclusive representation of the events they wished to add and analyzed the data to develop findings and recommendations.
Kelly revealed their demographic research from the U.S. Census, which showed that the city's racial diversity is limited with 86% of residents identifying as white.
Kelly said to put it in perspective, .7% of the city's population identifies as Black or African American, which translates to roughly 300 residents.
Looking at Lake Oswego School District Data, 13.2% of Lake Oswego residents speak a language other than English at home, and 73% of students identify as white. Ten percent identify as Asian and 7% as Hispanic/Latinx, while only 1% identify as Black/African American.
Lake Oswego is also home to various religious institutions including Christian, Jewish and Buddhist religions, though there are no local Islamic institutions.
Events either sponsored by the city or community groups that are celebrated annually include Christmas, Independence Day, Chinese New Year, Purim, Italian and MLK Day events.
After participating in public outreach and analyzing data, staff determined that it would be beneficial to have the city sponsor events including Lunar New Year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day (possibly co-sponsoring with groups who already put on MLK Day events), Juneteenth in collaboration with Respond to Racism and a Multi-Cultural Celebration where residents can celebrate their heritage through food, music, dance and traditional clothing.
"This is so awesome in this year of 2020 where it seems like all we're doing is catching up or falling behind or dealing with great negativity — to see something positive like this in my packet just made my day," said City Council President Jackie Manz.
Councilor John LaMotte suggested staff look at an interfaith celebration as well and Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff suggested staff talk to the Muslim Education Trust for further outreach.
Now, staff will take council feedback and craft a final proposal, and collaborate between departments to promote the events.
Kelly said it's important to note the events would be implemented after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
Next steps for Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course
During the Tuesday afternoon meeting, the City Council also approved the Parks Department findings that supported a design-build contract in lieu of a design-bid-build method for the Golf Course Renovation project.
According to the staff report, a design-bid-build method is "where the architect (designer) is first engaged to prepare plans and specifications and then the contractor is solicited for a bid for the construction work."
Anderholm said the design-build alternative is more efficient because it allows the contractor to work with designers and agronomists at the start of the project.
Parks Director Ivan Anderholm said a majority of golf courses are built in this manner because golf courses are generally more unique and complicated than a traditional park. He said it's a complicated process to go from a 18-hole course with a slope to a 9-hole executive course and that the design-build option will help control cost.
"We're not looking at just naming a contractor to perform the work," Anderholm said. "We are doing a Request for Proposal where we will be looking at qualifications, experiences and like projects that have been completed both here in the northwest and throughout the United States."
After $7 million was allocated to the restoration or rebuilding of the district pool by voters with the 2017 approval of a $187 million LOSD capital investment bond, and the city passed a parks and recreation bond in 2019, the district and the city reached a partnership to build the pool on city property at the Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course. The cost would be split between the two entities, totaling an estimated $30 million.
The facility will include a competitive swimming pool, a warm water recreation pool, dry activity and exercise rooms, classrooms for the Parks and Recreation Department, offices for the Parks and Recreation team members, a cardio weight room and gym. The golf course will then be reduced from an 18-hole Par 3 course to 9-hole executive course.
LaMotte asked when the project would get started.
Anderholm said the golf course would likely be shut down between May and June of the following year because some of the work is preferred to be completed in the drier months.
Republic Service solid waste collection rates adjust
The Lake Oswego City Council voted unanimously to keep the rates for commercial container service unchanged and increase residential cart rates by 5.6%, which means all customers with weekly service would see an increase of $1.80. Drop box rates would be set using a cost-of-service model.
The other alternative on the table that the council took into consideration was to maintain the status quo rate increases, which would be applied across the board at an increase of 3.5% for carts and containers.
"The Status Quo option would keep the current ratios for customer classes contributions to
Republic Services' overall return. As described above, the status quo is that commercial
customers pay a higher rate that subsidize lower rates for residential customers and drop box
Services," the staff report read. "Drop Box services are treated differently as this is a rental system, where a customer requests a drop box from Republic who delivers it and hauls it away when full. It is not a weekly or scheduled service like roll carts or containers. Under the status quo system, it is proposed that drop boxes stay at a cost-of-service rate."
Jenny Slepian, Lake Oswego's sustainability and management analyst, said staff recommended the 5.6% increase to residential customers because the alternative is not sustainable with the impact COVID-19 has had on local businesses.
"The historical reliance on commercial customers to subsidize the collection of solid waste for residential and drop box customers is no longer sustainable given the closures of commercial businesses in 2020," the staff report read. "For those still in operation, volumes have reduced based on a smaller customer base and declining solid waste generation. Equally important, City Council should consider the financial difficulties being faced by Lake Oswego businesses. As residential waste volumes continue to rise, it makes more sense to reapportion rates onto these customers over time."
Both options fall below the 12% increase for residential, commercial and industrial rates that Republic Service requested and the 2018 rate increase of 6.5%.
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