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Readers weigh in on parks ballot measures and the upcoming Lake Oswego school bond vote.

Support the LO school bond

Our Lake Oswego School District does an outstanding job providing a supportive environment for students to learn and grow, setting them up for successful careers and lives. Like many of our neighbors, the strong reputation of Lake Oswego schools was a determining factor in our moving here over 20 years ago. Our two children thrived attending schools in the district and have now moved on to careers of their own.

We urge you to support LOSD School Bond Measure 3-577 to help assure that future generations of children will have access to the same (perhaps better!) experience. Bond funds will be used to replace two of our older schools (Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary). In addition, bond funds will allow LSD to make repairs, improve accessibility, enhance safety and security, and modernize classrooms throughout the district. Please see buildinggreatloschools.com to learn more the bond and how the funds will be used.

Our school buildings average 51 years old. They are becoming outdated, overcrowded, and inefficient. Now is the time to reinvest in these community assets.

Please join us in supporting Bond Measure 3-577.

Alan and Davina Doby

Lake Oswego

Continue excellent work of school bond

This November, we have the opportunity to continue the excellent work of our last school bond. Lake Oswego is highly regarded for its high-quality public education and school facilities. The upcoming bond will help ensure the long-term health of our existing school facilities and replace two of our schools, which have become obsolete and are at the end of their practical lives. As a member of the previous Bond Accountability Committee, I observed the expenditure of the last bond firsthand. I am impressed with the team LOSD has in place to manage and utilize bond funds effectively and efficiently. I urge Lake Oswego voters to support the new bond and vote yes in November. Let's all work to ensure we have 21st century schools to meet the education, technological, and environment demands of the coming decades.

Bruce Brown

Lake Oswego

What is the real threat to our natural areas?

Supporters of Measure #3-568 would like voters to believe that "development" constitutes

the biggest threat to our natural areas. We volunteers engaged in restorative stewardship on these lands share this concern, and yet we know that the biggest threats come from a much different place. Critical threats to our natural areas come from impacts of invasive species (both plants and animals), the effects of climate change with loss of hydration and exposure to extreme heat, lack of diversity, encroachments and human uses, ignorance about habitat values, fragmentation and neglect.

While supporters of both measures value the same things, only Measure #3-575 offers both preservation and the balance for protection within a management framework based on the individual uniqueness of our natural areas.

Voters will choose one of these measures which will change the City's Charter, which sits at the very highest level of our municipal structure. Since the current amendment has lasted for 43 years, any change must come after careful consideration. We need a measure that is balanced and provides the best preservation and enhancement of the natural areas while allowing for prudent use and access. Please visit www.friendsofloparks.org to read about three examples that show how these measures fare when applied to prospective changes at Iron Mountain Park.

Clearly, when balancing ecological care and stewardship with respectful human use and access, the City's Natural Preservation Measure# 3-575 deserves your support. Join the members of the many Friends groups who endorse Measure #3-575 so we can deal with the real threats.

Mike Buck, Chair of Friends of Iron Mountain

Lake Oswego

Help the school district continue transformation

This November, Lake Oswego voters have the opportunity to continue the transformation of our school district by supporting the 2021 bond to build safe, modern, exceptional schools.

The school district has demonstrated that it is a good steward of taxpayer dollars. With its dedicated, expert project management team, overseen by a citizen accountability committee, LOSD has delivered on what was promised in the first bond – a brand-new Lakeridge Middle School, renovation of Oak Creek Elementary, and infrastructure improvements at all of the other buildings, including seismic upgrades. The seismically upgraded buildings will not only provide shelter for community members in the wake of a cataclysmic event, but also enable the district to reopen schools quickly.

The 2021 bond will continue this good work! It will fund the replacement of the aging and outdated Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary schools, modernize high school science and engineering labs, and improve safety features and accessibility at all schools.

For more information on the bond, please visit buildinggreatloschools.com

The 2021 LO School is good for our students and our community. Please join me in voting YES on Measure 3-577!

Courtney A. Clements

Lake Oswego

Vote to truly protect parks

Initiative 3-568 better protects our natural area parks than the City's Referendum 3-575. Initiative 3-568 places the current natural park areas into the Charter. Referendum 3-575 causes the natural park boundaries to be described by ordinance, changeable by City Council amendment and eligible for development. In spite of climate change, the Referendum opens the door to reducing the natural parks.

Understandably, the large dollar donations to the Referendum's PAC are by development, real estate and business individuals.

The Sierra Club and Oregon Wild compared the two measures and strongly endorsed the Initiative as better protecting our natural parks.

The Referendum eliminates the full Charter protection for Springbrook Park. Initiative 3-568 continues full protection. The initiative supports natural material trails that meet ADA standards, including wheelchair access. To state otherwise is nonsense.

"Maintenance" defined in the Initiative does not prohibit rehabilitation of existing facilities or facilities that are otherwise allowed. It does not prohibit storm cleanup. It allows the removal of dead or other trees that are dangerous to trail use or facilities and for removing invasive species.

Vote "Yes" on BM 3-568 and "No" on BM 3-575.

Michael Kohlhoff

Lake Oswego

Confused yet? Vote yes on 3-575

There are two seemingly similar ballot measures about protecting our natural resources. Only one, the City's Measure 3-575, is comprehensive, responsive to climate change and provides the best access to all our residents to our natural areas. It requires citizen participation in any proposed changes to our natural areas.

This ballot measure was initiated by the hundreds of volunteers in our Friends groups who actually do the work to repair, maintain and enhance our natural areas. It has the endorsement of those Friends groups along with the endorsements of our current mayor, city council, former mayors, former city councilors, the Oswego Lake Watershed Council, the Sustainability Network, and dozens of thoughtful and concerned citizens of Lake Oswego.

Measure 3-575 is the product of the many citizens who care about and work in our natural areas. It truly protects and preserves the ecologic and environmental functions that are needed for healthy natural areas.

Visit https://friendsofloparks.org/ for more information on why 3-575 is the better choice between these two ballot measures. Vote Yes on 3-575!

Rosie Stephens

Lake Oswego

The name is bond

No, not James but School Bond. And yes, it is time to support Lake Oswego School District's second bond so we can continue upgrading our educational facilities.

In addition to a professional city government, great police and fire departments, extensive open space and park system, solid economic base and friendly neighbors, Lake Oswego's high quality of life includes a renowned school system that prepares children to be productive citizens of the world. In the past few years, we have come to realize that our school buildings were not state-of-the-art and needed significant changes involving safety, security, energy and sustainability as well as labs where teachers can teach 21st Century STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

It is difficult to maintain a top-rated school district without safe, healthy and modern school buildings. LOSD's work on the first bond included extensive security and building improvements for several schools and construction of the much needed Lakeridge Middle School. Bond #2 will continue this excellent work and replace Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary. It will also address lab upgrades at both high schools, while enhancing HVAC systems, kitchens, restrooms, sidewalks, playgrounds and parking lots throughout the District.

As a father of a child about to attend elementary school, a recent Lake Oswego City Councilor and a professional City Planner who has worked in the public and private sectors, I know the value of a strong public school system. Modern school facilities allow children to be inspired and thrive. They are work environments for teachers to truly do their jobs. Schools are also neighborhood gathering places and emergency community shelters. A strong school system, with modern facilities, also contributes to stable property values.

It is time again to back the Bond. Please vote Yes for Lake Oswego's School District's Bond #2 on this November's Ballot.

John LaMotte

Lake Oswego

Friends of Springbrook Park Supports measure 3-575

As a long time board member of Friends of Springbrook Park, and a nearly thirty year resident of Lake Oswego, I want to share with the community why Friends of Springbrook Park supports measure 3-575. The original City of Lake Oswego Charter section was designed to protect Springbrook Park. We want that section replaced with a forward looking measure. Our Friends group is probably the most committed and involved guardian of Springbrook Park. Collectively we have invested thousands of hours into the preservation, maintenance and improvement of the park. It is long past the point when Springbrook Park, and in fact every park and open space in the City, can be effectively preserved, maintained and managed without a site specific management plan. We need management plans that are developed scientifically, and which guard the ecology and sanctity of every park and open space, and that are developed with input from the stakeholders of our parks. Our park is beautiful, and we want to keep it that way. The competing measure is a purely defensive initiative and is not forward looking. Vote NO on Measure 3-568 and YES on Measure 3-575.

Thomas C. Bland

Lake Oswego

The Devil's in the details

LO voters have an important decision on the direction to take to protect our natural parks this November. This isn't a popularity contest about who we like; it's about how we best protect these neighborhood natural habitats from future development exploits.

Like most voters, I prefer making informed decisions on the issues. As they say, the devil's in the details. I've learned much about LoveLOPark's Measure 3-568 over the past 18 months from their outreach efforts. They sent the full text of their proposed Charter amendment and quick reference — a simple read in plain English. But, I know little about the details for City Council's Measure 3-575. The Voters' Pamphlet won't have the full legal text of either charter amendment, only summaries and explanatory statements. This is insufficient to understand the effects on our natural parks — voters need more! Where does a voter go to easily access and read the full text of City Council's proposed Charter amendment?

I found a helpful resource with both measures' text and comparisons (not surprising, on the LoveLOParks website). You might find it helpful too- https://loveloparks.org/compare

It's now clear. I'm voting YES on Measure 3-568 and NO on Measure 3-575.

Ann Savage

Lake Oswego

Measure 3-568 has integrity

Residents have been working hard for at least 18 months, as a part of a grass roots effort, to get the Citizen's Measure 3-568 on the ballot. The driving force has been the shared belief that Lake Oswego natural parks urgently need protection from development.

Upon close inspection, Measure 3-575 actually does little to protect our nature parks. For example, after the election, City Council has 60 days to decide which areas within specific parks are "Natural Areas". So, the Measure would not necessarily include the entire area of each park! Furthermore, a map of the boundaries of "Natural Areas" would be adopted "by ordinance". This removes Charter protection allowing City Council to easily change the boundaries in the future with a 4:3 vote. This is especially alarming for Springbrook Park which is currently under the umbrella of Charter X.

In comparison, the Citizen's Measure 3-568 is transparent and much stronger. Upon ratification, all 15 parks listed will be designated as a "Nature Preserve". Furthermore, the entire area of each park will be protected under Chapter X.

Please vote YES on Measure 3-568 and NO on Measure 3-575!

Ann Mikulka

Lake Oswego

Sympathizing with nostalgic reader

Oh, how I sympathize with Jim McCarthy ("What happened to the old Lake Oswego?; Wednesday, 9/29), because I grew up in Palo Alto, California, a town very similar to Lake Oswego: civic-minded citizens, outstanding schools, urban-adjacent, and even affordable once upon a time.

But guess what? Times change, and when you live in a vibrant city, it evolves. The Palo Alto that my parents arrived in after World War II was gone by the time I was in high school, and Silicon Valley was beginning to become a phenomenon. And it's even more exclusive today, which is why I can't afford to live there anymore.

Lake Oswego is changing too, and I'm grateful to you and your parents for making it a place that we came to so willingly and found so comfortable.

Howard Baldwin

Lake Oswego

Citizens' measure would fully protect parks

I have done my research into the competing parks measures. 3-568 (citizens' initiative) was written with the full and clear intent to protect our parks without the influence of corporate development and the Springbrook Park tennis center.

3-575 (city Council initiative) was written late, quickly and is coming from insiders' interest that allows expansion of development, cell towers and other items that don't protect our natural parks.

It's easy to see if you compare - Vote Yes and No

Yes on 3-568 (citizens initiative)

No on 3-575 (city council initiative)

Tom Finnerty

Lake Oswego

Let's work together to protect parks

The November ballot will have two competing measures concerning LO natural areas. One will win and replace Chapter X in our City Charter (Constitution). If you signed the initiative, good for you to care about our natural areas. I read the initiative and decided not to sign it. I was not alone. My fellow Friends Groups leaders, etc. were also concerned. In 2019 we started meeting regularly to carefully examine and discuss the initiative. We became the "Friends of LO Parks". And, we really do LOVE our parks. Our members have worked in the natural areas for years, most for decades.

After careful consideration, we reached out to see if we could collaborate with the initiative leader. The answer was no. We turned to the city and asked them to take our ideas and create an alternative measure that better preserves, protects, restores and maintains our natural areas.

Measure 575 is more comprehensive: allows paved paths and parking where needed providing access for all citizens; permits service roads for wildfire prevention, public safety and ongoing maintenance; promotes active management; promotes collaboration and cooperation and allows for future natural areas to be added without a city-wide election. Measure 575 protects ALL natural areas, 22, not the 16 of the initiative.

Other city leaders have compared the initiative and are endorsing 575: All of the Friends Groups, several Neighborhood Associations, the LO Sustainability Network, the OL Watershed Council, the P & R Board, the City Council, former mayors and councilors and scores of individual citizens. Please visit our website: FriendsofLOParks.org and join me in protecting our natural areas by voting YES on 575. "Our city is stronger when we work together."

Barbara Fisher

Lake Oswego

Don't be fooled

We can't trust the City of LO to protect our natural parks. Three times since 1993 the City has tried to build a large communications tower in Cooks Butte Park. Our community was there each time to protect this natural habitat as grantors John and Marjorie Emery intended it to remain. They explicitly granted this 42 acres as a natural park under the condition it remain free of future commercial development and it stay "forever wild."

Measure 3-568 is more than just Cooks Butte. It addresses concerns neighbors across LO shared for their neighborhood natural parks.

City Council's opposing measure won't protect our natural parks; furthermore, their measure is vague, filled with loopholes, and moves park definitions out of the charter and into ordinances which risk future development. And, it's funded by developers. We must protect these natural spaces before they're gone.

3-568 is more precise and focused on leaving our natural parks alone. It allows for good stewardship including tree thinning and fire mitigation. It allows benches, trails, boardwalks, and ADA access. It's led and funded by citizens for citizens.

Our natural parks should be protected and stay free from exploitation and development by LO politicians. Our parks need your help!

Vote YES on Measure 3-568 and NO on Measure 3-575.

Brad Home

Lake Oswego


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