Pacers dont need football facility
- John L. Sanders
- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
I was employed by the Lake Oswego School District for 30 years, from 1961 to 1991. I was at Lakeridge as a teacher and coach from its opening until 1985, at which time, I became the athletic coordinator until retirement in 1991. Our family has enjoyed the environment of the Lakeridge community since 1973 when we built our home on Cloverleaf Road. Use of the fields by the city youth programs, frosh and JV football, soccer and lacrosse teams have been exciting to watch and to have our four children participate. We are obviously not an anti-sport family. In light of a proposal that varsity football be played at Lakeridge, I feel compelled to express these views.
About once every four years, over that span of time, a group of parents has lobbied for a full-scale football facility on campus. Each time, the arguments have been similar: We need our own field; why do we have to play at LO's field? Our boys need their own turf to defend. Everyone else has one, why can't we? We would play better on our own field. We don't feel welcome at LO.
None of these arguments, as stated, can stand on their own merit when the facts that have prevented the stadium from being built in the past on the LHS campus are remembered and faced. The conditions that existed in 1971 still exist in 2007. The Pacer football program has done very well without an on-campus field. We have won the State Championship once, come in second two other years, and have been deep in the playoffs more times than not, all without a varsity field on site. Team success is not predicated on where the games are played.
At the time the school was built, the school board decided that there would be one excellent district field located on the LO campus. Since then, the complex has been enlarged and improved. Currently, there is not enough room in the existing bleachers on the South side of the field for two 6A-sized student bodies and parents.
There still is not enough land on the North side to construct adequate seating for visiting 6A student bodies and parents. Successful Lakeridge football teams regularly draw more than 2,000 spectators to games; the LO-Lakeridge game has, in the past, drawn more than 4,000 spectators. There is just not enough room for this sized crowd on our campus.
In addition to the seating required, there are not adequate restroom facilities; parking is extremely limited. When we play at LO, the parking lots of the school, the Lutheran Church, LOJHS and Uplands School are filled. Country Club Road and the neighborhoods are over parked and spectators must walk blocks in unlighted streets to get to and from the game. This on-street parking results in litter that must be cleaned by property owners. Overlook Drive has limited parking; Cloverleaf Road allows parking on only one side to allow for emergency vehicles access to the area. There is no way that our facility can support this type of activity, regardless of the desires of some in our community.
Perhaps a solution that would satisfy more people in the Lake Oswego community would be to construct a stadium near Lakeridge that would have all of the amenities required to properly host varsity football. This could include playoff games for football and other sports. In addition, the stadium might also be utilized as a concert in the park site in the summer, and other seasonal major sporting events.
Please honestly consider these facts and once again reject the concept; keep only lower level football games on campus at Lakeridge.
John L. Sanders is a resident of Lake Oswego.