New sustainable board seeks quick impact in Lake Oswego

by: , Bauman

If enthusiasm, acumen and vision are the necessary ingredients for success, then the new sustainability advisory board for the city of Lake Oswego will be a slam-dunk to succeed.

Optimism reigned supreme at the board's very first meeting on July 23 at city hall.

'I think we can be a model city,' said board chair Jean Baumann, in her opening remarks. 'We want sustainability to be a new mindset in Lake Oswego.'

Getting the new board for Wednesday night's initial meeting was a lengthy process. It took more than six months for completion - from the city council's adoption of a motion to have a SAB, interviews of applicants (nearly 50 people applied), and selection of the 11 members.

But now that everything is in place, Baumann and her comrades want to move quickly. They want Lake Oswego to be not just an oasis but an inspiration for sustainability.

'We're coming in with a great blueprint with the city's sustainability plan,' said attorney Patrick Rowe. 'It's important to get citizen support and involvement. Without that, it will be difficult.

'Some day I would like similar-size cities to say, 'You're doing it right.''

Bruce Brown, who teaches sustainability to children in Southeast Portland, said, 'I hope we get to where 'green' is not a word that is used anymore. Green will just be the normal state of affairs. I don't want to be a green island here but part of an overall green network.'

'I want sustainability to be convenient,' said interior designer Lisa Murphy. 'I want it to be a way of life and part of our economy. I want it to be second nature to us.'

'I would like LO to be recognized as a leader in sustainability,' said Craig Diamond. 'I would like residents and businesses coming here because of that. I would like sustainability to be engrained.'

The SAB members will be bringing plenty of pet projects to the table over the coming months, including zero waste, renewable energy, mass transit, education, climate change, etc.

'We can really influence a whole lot of pieces on the list (of the city sustainability plan),' Baumann said.

But first comes the groundwork.

'Stephan (Lashbrook, city community development director) is encouraging us to get our work plan together as soon as possible,' Baumann said.

The SAB's first study session with the city council is scheduled for November, but Baumann said, 'I hope we can get some traction at our next meeting, then we can get our plan together and meet with the council in October or even September. We hope to meet much earlier so we can get going.'

In fact, the board members are intending to do so well that they will work themselves out of a job.

'I hope that in 10 years this board doesn't have to exist,' said architect Ron Gronowski. 'I hope we won't think of what we are doing as sustainability. It will just be the way it ought to be.'

Lashbrook said, 'When I retire I would like to say, 'Wow, look what we did!''

Sustainability advisory board members include Dorothy Atwood (co-chair), Jean Baumann, Craig Briggs, Jeff DeWitt, Craig Diamond, Ron Gronowski, Lisa Murphy, Patrick Rowe, Jacob Shimkus, Amin Wahab, and Grant Watkinson.

City council liaison is Frank Groznik. City staff liaison is Jonna Papaefthimiou.