Citizens can help preserve Lake Oswego
Recently an opinion piece was published in the LO Review asking: What happened to the old Lake Oswego? The writer grew up in Lake Oswego's First Addition/Forest Hills neighborhood and was lamenting the loss of charm, open space, and neighborhood character in recent years
mainly due to massive amounts of demolition of older homes, large old trees, and the creation of smaller lots covered with huge houses.
We at the Lake Oswego Preservation Society agree.
Most Lake Oswegans would say that preserving our history, valuing sustainability, and recognizing climate change are values we embrace. But just like with climate change, unless we take action to support those values now, it will be too late. In 2019, sixty-seven demolition permits were issued in LO. Several of those houses were built before the turn of the century thus contributing to the loss of our unique history. Since Jan 1, 2021 there have been 30 demolition permits issued.
Architect Carl Elefante's commonly quoted phrase, "the greenest building is the one that's already built" succinctly expresses the relationship between preservation and sustainability. When we leave all the decisions up to the developers, we encourage demolitions, and are complicit in the loss. When we are passive about losing our historic assets, they will disappear, and our lack of action permits the loss of our history.
What can we do to step up to the plate? Actually, a lot. But we have to get involved and let our City Council know that we support and want changes to our code that encourage renovation over demolition, that when demolitions are warranted, the buildings are deconstructed vs. being thrown in the landfill, and that our historic resources must be maintained and not left to rot resulting in demolition by neglect.
We as citizens have the resources and the power to make changes. Let your voice be heard and get involved. Our City has a dedicated Historic Resources Advisory Board (HRAB), and a Mayor and City Council who actively listen to the community about the Building Code and ordinances, but they need to hear from you. There is also the Lake Oswego Preservation Society which welcomes your participation in our work to preserve, protect, and advocate for Lake Oswego's built environment and historic assets. Check out our website at lakeoswegopreservationsociety.org. Join us to make change!
The Board of the Lake Oswego Preservation Society consists of Jon Gustafson, Rachel Verdick, Craig Prosser, Susan Stier, Denise Bartelt, Emogene Waggoner, Randy Arthur, Gail Toft-Vizzini, Larry Snyder and Joan Moore.
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