Officials plan to carve out trail easement and resell the property

The Lake Oswego City Council agreed Tuesday to buy a million-dollar waterfront home in hopes of eventually completing a trail linking Lake Oswego to other cities on the Willamette River.

The council vote, which passed 5-2 after an executive session, gives the city manager the authority to buy a 4,000-square-foot home at 455 Furnace St. for $1.23 million, just below the property’s listed price of about $1.27 million.

The council directed city staff members to then put the property back on the market with a public easement carved out across it “for the purpose of adding a segment for the eventual completion of the Willamette River Greenway path.”

Councilors Mike Kehoe and Mary Olson voted against the proposal, while Mayor Jack Hoffman and councilors Bill Tierney, Sally Moncrieff, Donna Jordan and Jeff Gudman were in favor.

Gudman said he initially opposed the idea but changed his mind.

“Over the last few weeks I have gone back and examined the recommendation, and this is something which has been the goal of multiple councils of widely varying opinions and judgments over at least 20 years,” Gudman said, noting he was concerned about the risk of being saddled with unwanted property but couldn’t overlook the “opportunity” for an easement. “I’m willing to take that risk.”

Hoffman said the vote represents significant progress in closing the remaining gaps in the Willamette River Greenway Trail in Lake Oswego.

“This is an incredibly future-looking decision,” Hoffman said. “Whenever this pathway is completed, whether it’s 10 years from now or 30 years from now, there will be a segment that says ‘2012 is when we got it.’ We may not be around, but our deeds will be.”

Oregon lawmakers established the Willamette River Greenway program in the 1960s. The program aims to protect and enhance ecological, natural, scenic, recreational and other resources along the Willamette River.

The acquisition of the Furnace Street property will require the city to put up $20,000 toward the purchase, and the sale’s closing will be contingent on an inspection of the property.

The 1938 remodeled Craftsman has four bedrooms and sits on a roughly half-acre lot near George Rogers Park in the Old Town neighborhood. The three-story home is advertised as having multiple decks and patios and a huge backyard.

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