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Keep Luscher Farm farmland intact, not turned to ballfields

Since January of 2011 there has been a push to change the basic personality and usage of Luscher Farm.

The Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department has visions of ballfields overlaid on top of fertile farmland and turning the Community Gardens into a backdrop for public and private events. Parks and Recreation does not recognize that there is a desire not only to have a place to grow one's own food, but for a respite from the urban noise we all have to endure. We all need open and non-developed spaces to breath. Forested paths to walk along and room for children to explore and stretch their imaginations.

There seems to be a disconnect between Parks and Recreation and what is happening foodwise. There is a huge groundswell of local and national support for buying and growing food locally.

In this month's Clackamas County 'Going Beyond Green' publication there is an article about the 2011 School Garden Grant Project. Having children engaged in physical and academic school garden activities.

The Oregonian's July Homes and Gardens featured Sustainable Bounty: Growing your own food at home or in a Community Garden.

Even a New Seasons Market advertisement says 'Let's hear it for Home Grown' and Lake Oswego Review's October's special publication showcases our Farmers Market and Oregon Tilth's demonstration garden at Luscher Farm.

Meanwhile, the Parks and Recreation Department's latest plan for Luscher Farm would move the CSA and Oregon Tilth Demonstration Gardens. Why would anyone place a ballfield on top of land that has been feeding families for the last seven years? Wouldn't it make sense to place a ballfield elsewhere? We need to keep our CSA fields exactly where they are and we want to keep Oregon Tilth located here at Luscher Farm.

Lake Oswego is located next to cities that are investing in land and protecting their open lands to potential inappropriate development and or destruction.

Here are some fine examples:

West Linn's White Oak Savannah: Grass root volunteers have been raising funds and working on restoring these 14 acres for the last five years. One hundred oak seedlings have been planted and invasive plants are being eradicated.

The city of Tigard recently acquired 43 acres of unspoiled park land. This will eventually help link natural areas stretching from Beaverton to the Tualatin National Wildlife River.

Hagg Lake: Owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, maintained and operated by Washington County, the park features numerous picnic areas, two boat launching facilities, a fully stocked lake for fishing, more than 15 miles of hiking trails and observation decks for wildlife and bird watching.

The Tualatin Hills Nature Park is a 220-acre wildlife reserve in the heart of Beaverton. It is made up of evergreen and deciduous forests, creeks, wetlands, ponds and meadows. There are approximately five miles of trails. About 1.5 miles are paved, the rest are well maintained soft surface trails.

There are plenty of other places in Lake Oswego to place ballfields if indeed more are needed. The armory comes to mind along with that stretch of land along Iron Mountain Boulevard past the Hunt Club. Let's leave our dear Luscher Farm a farm.

After all, we already have 27 parks, 13 school facilities, nine recreational facilities and 22 natural and open spaces, but we only have one farm.

Kathe Worsley is a resident of Lake Oswego.