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Backbone of LO? Volunteers

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Volunteers are the backbone of Lake Oswego. We all have important issues that lead us to volunteer our time to accomplish tasks and add value to the quality of life so important to us, our children and our neighbors. Whether for schools, parks, libraries, historic buildings, or other issues, volunteers are priceless and invaluable to the community. So it is very frustrating to these volunteers when the city government has road blocks to accomplishing these tasks.

There are many examples, but I will only relate what I have been personally involved with.

Several years ago Friends of Luscher Farm (FOLF) was organized because we were dismayed at what was happening to Luscher farm without community involvement. We wanted to make sure that wildlife habitats were not further impacted and we wanted to begin a partnership with the city to restore wildlife habitats.

Some examples of negative city activity at Luscher Farm : The rows of raspberry, Marionberry, salmon berry and grapes were summarily ripped out and destroyed . They had been planted by the (Lake Oswego) Adult Community Center not only for the ACC garden plots, but for other users of the farm. No one asked if they would like to help dig up the plants and save them.

At the same time the hedgerow of Himalayan blackberry adjacent to the berries was ripped out. Granted Himalayans are not natives, but this was done during nesting season with quail and pheasants present. A century old walnut tree that should have been retained as a heritage tree was removed. It had been planted by Rudy Luscher when he was a small child. The only explanation given for removing the berries and tree was to make space for parking.

A few years later the city planned to use part of Luscher Farm as a dredging spoils dumping ground during the sewer interceptor construction. Only after it was made public by articles in the paper did the city not do that.

Last month fencing was removed from the Brock property using incorrect practices according to (Oregon) Department of Fish and Wildlife. Damage was done to native habitat and the year round stream that is a tributary for Wilson Creek.

Instead of removing by hand large machinery was used driving over and over the stream and ripping out nesting habitats that should have not been touched until after June 15th. Spraying of crossbow was also done during this nesting season.

Last week I and another FOLF member met with Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation employees. We were told that FOLF could not continue to remove invasive plants from the Brock and Crowell properties. FOLF members have worked over 200 hours removing invasive plants.

The reason was given that 'we don't have a plan that has been approved by PRAB' and until we do we cannot continue the removals.

I asked if the city would then pick up where we are being told to stop. The answer was no as there isn't any money in the budget and that would have to be requested. This does not make any sense at all as the invasives will encroach again on these sensitive lands. This illustrates the lack of respect this city has for its volunteers and its true sensitive lands.

Meanwhile the city is supposedly honoring all the Friends groups this week. (See http://www.ci.oswego.or.us/calendar/CouncilMtgs/documents/Friends.pdf). Hypocritical to say the least.

Kathe Worsley is a resident of Lake Oswego.