The following is an open letter to Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstand and the Lake Oswego City Council:

Dear Mayor and Councilors:

Our daughter, son-in-law and only grandson have lived in Lake Oswego for nine years. The downside of this is that they are over 5,000 miles away and we miss them greatly. The upside is that once a year we make the long journey to Oregon, exploring another bit of the USA en route, and then spend a few weeks with them. We have just returned from our latest visit and we feel that we must tell you what a fine place Lake Oswego is.

First of all, what a wonderful environment you provide in your city: Clean and cared for with no litter or graffiti. And the floral decorations that you provide and maintain - as good as we have seen anywhere in the world. How many petunias do you plant each year to fill those hanging baskets and roadside flower beds? To walk in your streets is a pleasure.

Next we thank you for your public parks. We love Millennium Plaza - a perfect social centre. And in George Rogers and Foothills parks we spend hours walking, admiring the views of the river and enjoying a picnic. Next year we look forward to seeing the new (park) development next to the Lake Shore Inn which will open up the lake to public view. In sum, the environment you have provided demonstrates an enviable level of civic pride which we have seen equalled nowhere in our extensive travels.

And finally, thank you for the cultural features that you make available within your city environment. The street sculptures are a constant pleasure and, no matter how much we walk around downtown Lake Oswego, we keep finding new ones that we haven't seen before. The farmers markets are a weekly pleasure with the color and variety of the stalls, the exquisite doggie care system and the music. Each week we have attended some of the lunchtime concerts and they too were a great pleasure. I'm even forced to confess that I actually found myself beginning to like country and western! And this year we were fortunate to be there for the Lake Oswego Wine Festival, which we thought was outstanding with a great atmosphere.

So, from a rural and pleasant part of England, we send you our sincere thanks and best wishes. I'm sure you know this already but Lake Oswego is one of the most desirable habitations we have seen anywhere in the world and we believe that it is blessed with an imaginative, energetic and highly effective city council. Congratulations on what you continue to achieve and we look forward so much to visiting you again in 2009.

Colin and Eileen Townley are residents of Stamford, England.

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