My family moved to Lake Oswego in 1964 when the big news was the Safeway being built on A Avenue.

It’s always been a nice, quiet, residential community, but the downtown was severely impacted by the regional malls that were built in the 1970s. By the 1980s, downtown was beyond sleepy and depressed. It was deserted on evenings and weekends; the storefronts looked old and worn, and the lake could only be glimpsed in passing. It took people with vision and almost 20 years to implement a plan that finally helped transform our downtown into the bustling civic center we enjoy today.

It also took vision on the part of citizens who voted for bonds during the 1990s to acquire and develop parks and preserve our open space lands such as Luscher Farms.

Today, we need to look to the future to see what will be needed, and to make a plan ensuring that Lake Oswego continues to be a great place to live.

Citizens will decide in the upcoming election what to do about an overcrowded library and an unsafe Boones Ferry road. As we have seen with the development of Lake View Village and Millennium Plaza Park, there are synergies created by new projects that have positive effects beyond their boundaries. Those projects spurred other developments in downtown and increased property values in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Work on Boones Ferry Road, along with the new Zupan’s development, should spur more renovation in Lake Grove. A new library as part of a mixed-use development will be cheaper to build than a stand-alone library, because it will share infrastructure costs and parking with private development. A medium density residential/mixed use development in Foothills could provide a critical mass of patrons to downtown businesses that could ensure the vitality of downtown for decades to come.

There are many exciting possibilities for continued progress in our city, but there is another element that requires attention, and that is the economy. We are no longer in boom times, and forward thinking includes careful consideration of the most cost effective way to provide for our needs. Any public investment in infrastructure should leverage private investment. A new city council will need to engage the community as partners, and chart the best course through the improvements and needs facing us.

Historically, our citizens have been willing to step up and make the investments necessary to provide a city they can take pride in. For that to continue, they’ll need to feel that their own needs will be met and that they are working together for a strong future.

Keep LO Great PAC has worked for four years to create a positive environment in which citizens can work together to move Lake Oswego forward. We stand ready to support a new council to do that. Lake Oswego has changed dramatically in recent years and will continue to evolve in the future. To see a fun, two-minute video of how the city looked “then and now,” go to our website at

Robert LeChevallier, Lake Oswego, is an attorney and a member of Keep LO Great PAC.

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