Lakeridge field talk intensifies


Lakeridge High School is one step closer to getting its own state-of-the-art stadium.

The next step, however, could have Pacers playing the waiting game, rather than football.

On Monday, the Lake Oswego School Board unanimously approved a pre-application to the city of Lake Oswego that would notify the city of the district's intent to seek a change in field use conditions on the school's artificial turf field.

The district will ask the city to change the conditions on the field to match that of the district stadium.

Areas that would require modification would include: Allowing the total number of spectators to exceed the number of on-site parking spaces; play-by-play announcements; field use past 9:30 p.m.; and bleachers for spectator seating.

The pre-application will also help the city's planning staff determine special code issues and other considerations that may apply to the actual application.

It is also the first formal document send to the city by the district relating to Lakeridge's request for less-restrictive use of the field.

The school board will not make a final determination as to what specific modifications to seek until its meeting Nov. 5.

The board will ask the city's advice on any special studies or considerations that might apply to its application.

The final review process could extend through the end of summer, according to district officials.

Lakeridge currently shares the district stadium with Lake Oswego High School for varsity football games. Meanwhile, the artificial turf field located on the Lakeridge campus is used for lacrosse, soccer and track and field events.

School officials hope to host a homecoming game at that Lakeridge field next fall and potentially move forward with plans to build a home stadium there.

A majority of the community seems to support the idea, but the neighbors who live nearby say it would cause traffic, noise and other problems.

Many of those supporters - and detractors - spoke out at school board meeting Monday.

'This is an issue that is very, very important to people in this community,' said Lakeridge graduate Dan Dutton. '(The support for a home stadium) is not something that has just cropped up this year, either. This has been going on for quite some time.'

Dutton added that Lakeridge, without its own stadium, has a disadvantage compared to private schools around Portland. The current permit is not consistent with the district's plans to recruit students, either, he said.

'Lakeridge belongs to the entire district and the whole community,' said Sally Moncrieff, adding that a change in the requirements would bring Lakeridge up to the level of other schools in the Three Rivers League.

'Playing at a neutral site is not the same as having a home game,' said parent John Hoch.

'I originally thought this was about football. This is about community,' said Bob Barman, a resident of Oak Terrace. 'Let's start to heal this community. The support is nearly unanimous.'

Jaliene Hollabaugh, who once spoke out against the proposed game, said she believes the idea is a good one, but comes at a price.

'The stadium will be 35 feet from some neighbors' front door,' she said. 'The decisions you make will affect these people long-term.'

Long-time Cloverleaf Road resident Ann Powers said she believes a stadium would devalue surrounding homes, including her's.

'The thing that irritates me is that we are affected and other people are affected,' she said. 'We need to have respect and recognize the effect this would have on our homes and neighborhood.'

School board member Deborah Lopardo said she believes the board should make the decisions that are best for children and parents.

'But we will work with you more than it seems,' she told the neighbors.

Key dates on Lakeridge field

* A neighborhood meeting will be held 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Lakeridge High School library.

* An administrative presentation to the board of arguments and support for and against the change in Lakeridge's conditional use permit will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Lakeridge.

* The school board will hear opinions and perspectives concerning the proposed permit changes at a hearing set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Lakeridge.

* At a regularly scheduled meeting, the school board will determine the direction the district will take regarding the changes to the conditional use requirements at a meeting 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Lakeridge.

* A neighborhood meeting will be held 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at Lakeridge to seek perspective from Lakeridge's immediate neighbors concerning the current conditional use requirements and the board's decision concerning future actions relative to those requirements.