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The quality of our natural resources is critical to Lake Oswego. Our trees, streams, Oswego Lake and our rivers are the 'green infrastructure' that add to the quality of life, and make Lake Oswego one of the most livable cities in the Northwest. However, there are three pressing environmental issues facing Lake Oswego that require action in the next year.

First, the $100-120 million in-lake sewer interceptor project must be commenced in 2009. It's mandated. But more importantly, if there is no action, the community is at risk. We cannot sustain the environmental impact of a rupture to the sewer flow caused by an earthquake or other unplanned events.

Second, the mayor and city council must begin to lead the community in implementing water conservation measures consistent with the new Tigard-Lake Oswego Water Partnership. City measures are good but regional collaborations result in more progressive environmental stewardship.

Third, the newly formed Sustainability Board is a community-based body whose voice should be heeded by city council. As mayor, my role will help guide the city to become a model for sustainability among communities.

As a member of the Lake Oswego City Council for eight years from 1998-2006, I have consistently supported the protection of natural resources in Lake Oswego. During that time I advocated for the purchase of more than 90 acres of natural resource land and open space. This property included land along the Willamette River, at the mouth of Tryon Creek, riparian habitat adjacent to Oswego Lake, acreage along Springbrook Creek and in the Stafford Basin, as well as additions to the Iron Mountain corridor. These 90 acres now belong to the community, enriching the quality of life for our citizens. Perhaps more importantly is that these natural resources are preserved for future generations.

It is important for us to recognize that Lake Oswego is part of the larger Metropolitan Region where streams and rivers do not recognize boundaries. Recently Metro launched Connecting Green, an initiative that would create a great system of parks, trails and natural areas of the region. I believe it is important that Lake Oswego be a part of this effort to protect and restore our natural areas and create environmentally friendly trails and pathways.

Lake Oswego has been part of an effort in partnership with Tri-Met and the city of Portland and Multnomah County to extend the streetcar from Portland to Lake Oswego. I support this concept because it is consistent with Lake Oswego's sustainability efforts. The streetcar will reduce traffic congestion on Highway 43. It will reduce greenhouse emissions and is a positive response to peak oild prices. In addition, it will facilitate the revitalization of the Foothills and provide transportation support for significant residential components.

Lake Oswego is in the process of renewing its municipal storm water permit with DEQ. As a community, it is important that we continue the steps to restore the quality of our surface water. The city plans include adoption of the Clean Streams Plan. As a community, we need to take a leadership role and ensure implementation of best water management practices. This includes increased use of bioswales, pervious surfaces and natural infiltration techniques. The city's Community Forestry Program is one example of municipal storm water management that merits priority attention

Our natural environment is an important community asset. As we develop local programs, and encourage grassroots efforts to restore, enhance, and maintain these resources, it is important to realize that this requires a community wide effort. By working together, we can improve our 'green infrastructure' which is so vital to our city.

Jack Hoffman is running for mayor of Lake Oswego.

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