After almost a year of preparation, it did not take the Lake Oswego City Council long to adopt a sustainability advisory board at its meeting last month.
'Let's start,' was the way Jonna Papaefthimiou, city natural resources planner, concluded her presentation at the meeting, and the councilors proceeded to do just that.
Much work, especially the naming of a nine-member and two youth member board, remains to be done. But the city now has a board-in-the-works with the purpose of making Lake Oswego much more sustainable.
'We want this to be a diverse committee that can look at a variety of activities that will lead to sustainable practices,' said Mayor Judie Hammerstad. 'It can raise awareness of sustainability by supporting other organizations dedicated to sustainable practices.'
Expectations are high.
'The city's sustainability plan shows that sustainability has a big umbrella in Lake Oswego,' said Papaefthimiou. 'There are many issues that this board can take on, like Luscher Farm, sustainable food policy and commuting options.'
Of course, the big goal of the SAB is to engage the entire city.
'The board can catalyze a lot of effort in Lake Oswego,' Papaefthimiou said. 'There won't just be nine super men or super women. This city already has so much energy and enthusiasm about sustainability.
'Our open house was so well attended and our council is so sustainability-minded. This board has the potential to be very impactful.'
The first item on the agenda will be the naming of the board. Some city boards have had trouble getting enough citizens to be members, but that is not expected for the SAB.
City Councilor Donna Jordan said, 'I'm looking forward to seeing how many applicants we get.'
Several interested persons have already contacted Papaefthimiou and city sustainability planner Susan Millhouser about becoming SAB members, and an application form is now on the city's Web site.
'This board will have two roles,' Papaefthimiou said. 'One, to advise the city council on programs and policies. Second, to engage the broader community. It will reach out to other groups in the community, like the chamber of commerce, school district and the neighborhood associations.'
To achieve this, Papaefthimiou said that 'flexibility' would be a key for the board.
In fact, the board membership qualifications are more flexible than those of other Lake Oswego city boards. SAB members can work full time in Lake Oswego or own a business in Lake Oswego, but they do not have to live in Lake Oswego.
Papaefthimiou thinks the new board will be blessed when it comes to leadership, ideas and motivation.
'We have so many people here with a professional background in sustainability,' she said, 'whether it's in energy, agriculture or transportation.'
Mayor Hammerstad anticipates the SAB becoming a true partner for the city council in promoting sustainability in Lake Oswego.
'The city has taken a stand on identifying needs when it comes to sustainability,' Hammerstad said. 'We want this committee to identify needs when it comes to our citizens. That way sustainability can be brought to the forefront of everyone's thinking about their everyday activities.'
One other quality distinguishing this board is it will have two youth members instead of just one, which is the case on other advisory boards.
Interviews for potential sustainability advisory board members are scheduled to begin April 15.