Theres a history to Oswego Lake
- Kristy Neubo
- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
In response to Todd Prager's citizen's view regarding the fact that Oswego Lake is a private lake without public access, except at the two swim parks:
The city of Lake Oswego owns property that adjoins Lake Corporation owned-lake frontage, but neither the city, nor any of the lake shareholders owns direct lake frontage; therefore, the city cannot provide public access to Oswego Lake.
Oswego Lake in its current configuration is a man-made body of water which was owned by Oregon Iron and Steel. Eighty years ago, it was donated to the Lake Oswego Corporation. All lakefront property owners and easement holders, who pay their dues, have the exclusive right to use the lake. The privatization of Oswego Lake is pursuant to state and federal decisions and legislation. The lake is extremely tightly controlled with rules and regulations that the Lake Corporation implements.
Lake Corporation construction rules are far more stringent than those imposed by the city. All lake construction must meet the city of Lake Oswego planning, zoning and building department rules, and building permits must be obtained from the city. The Lake Corporation maintains, cleans, controls algae and patrols the lake, amongst other duties. All powerboat operators are schooled and tested and must obtain a separate lake driver's license and must carry at least $500,000 in insurance liability coverage.
Even canoes and paddleboards must be licensed by the Lake Corporation. All watercraft must be steam cleaned prior to lake entry to avoid invasive species. There is seldom crime or disrespect by lake users. We live here and we all respect our neighbors, both human and animal that we share this small (415 acres) fragile eco-system lake with. Bridges are low and narrow, waterways are as narrow as 6 feet with rocks jutting out, making navigation difficult for those unfamiliar with the lake. If public access were granted, lake property owners would be subjected to an increase in crime, loss of water quality, invasive species and an uncontrolled public that would not be schooled, there would be a lack of control of watercraft and there would be too much traffic on this small lake. Public access is not practical; this lake is too small and too dangerous.
If somehow state and federal legislation were changed, and the city was successful in an expensive condemnation, and if public access to the lake were granted, the city would have to take over all of the duties of the Lake Corporation, and become the stewards of the lake, at a cost of millions of dollars per year. Does the city have millions of extra dollars lying around?
Since the beginning, the lake has been private and, instead of paying his fair share like shareholders do, for lake access (dues were more than $2,700 per property last year), Mr. Prager wants to change things so that he can use the lake for free instead of investing in a property with deeded-lake access.
Mr. Prager wants his hand-out and he is stirring the public pot without educating the public with the full facts of this matter. Mr. Prager stated a great deal of falsehoods in his citizen's view and is grossly misleading the public with his views. As stated in his citizen's viewpoint, his views are not those of the city planning department.
Kristy Neubo is an Oswego Lake lakefront property owner and shareholder in the Lake Corporation.