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Lakeridge home games are a go

Football games at Lakeridge are a go this fall, according to the Lake Oswego City Council's unanimous ruling late Tuesday night to deny an appeal from neighbors.

The approved conditions will allow for play-by-play announcement, safety lights on the field until 9:30 p.m., except for football games and temporary bleachers for 1,800 people.

'If this was two years ago, I would have voted no,' Mayor Judie Hammerstad said. 'I think (district) administration has come a long way. I'm very hopeful that the neighborhood association, the neighbors at large and the school district will make it work.'

The neighbors - Gordon and Carolyn Harris, Jaliene Hollabaugh and Becky Salsburg, who applied for the appeal to the Development Review Commission's June decision to change the existing conditional land use permit - listed 11 reasons the athletic complex is not in compliance with the neighborhood.

Their list of incompatibilities includes: road safety, lack of adequate parking, crowd noise and pedestrian safety.

Though the appeal was not approved, the council was sensitive to three issues during the appeal hearing and added conditions to the DRC's findings on the land use permit to help mitigate those concerns.

First, they added language to require the school to remove the temporary bleachers, which would seat 1,800 for football games, within one month of the season's end.

Second, the district must discourage parking and drop-offs on Marjorie Avenue and Banyon Lane in addition to Cloverleaf Road.

And, third, the school must return to the DRC for a review every year for three consecutive years.

The DRC has already asked for further study of key concerns, such as noise readings and traffic counts, to be presented at a review.

'I don't think your arguments are unfounded,' Councilor John Turchi said to the appellants. 'You do have a legitimate argument about how this has evolved over time. … Lakerige High School has more sports - including community sports - that have been added than anyone could have anticipated.'

But Turchi went on to say that Principal Michael Lehman's efforts to improve relations with neighbors has helped the situation tremendously.

Superintendent Bill Korach said that a review will cost the district about $30,000 to $40,000 each year, but the district is committed to making it work.

They have already planned to meet twice a year with the neighbors to be sure they are doing all they can to alleviate concern.

Tuesday night's decision didn't come soon enough for the district to schedule the expected four to seven games this fall. Instead, Lakeridge will play three home games at the district stadium and two games at their new home - with their first set for Oct. 10 against McNary High School of Keizer.

The fall schedule should be set unless a neighbor decides to appeal the council's decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.