Lake Oswego would lose a lot with Measure 3-269
I was raised in Lake Oswego, returned to the Evergreen Neighborhood with my wife, and serve on our Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. I embrace the improvements in Lake Oswego and I want to continue to empower our city government to display their vision and good planning.
We would not have many of the important improvements we enjoy in our community if the charter amendment had been in effect. It requires a vote of all the citizens before we can purchase park or urban renewal property for $2 million. Yes, we might have voted for these properties, but we would have likely lost them in the delay. Developers would have easily stepped up and acquired the property while we were organizing a vote.
Three of the most successful Lake Oswego purchases would not have happened if the charter amendment existed previously (each is worth well over $2 million today):
Luscher Farm: We purchased 42 acres at Luscher Farm in 1991 for $1 million. Over 1,000 people benefit from Luscher daily: Sustainable farm products, garden plots, pathways, the dog park and soon a turf athletic field. It serves an incredibly diverse cross section of our community.
Millenium Plaza Park: We purchased Millenium Plaza Park in 1997 for $2.2 million. It did not raise our taxes. It was purchased with urban renewal funds. Some 164,000 citizens visit the plaza each year. It has become our 'living room.' But the real success is the catalyst it provided for the renaissance of our downtown. We all remember the black retail hole on State Street.
Foothills Park: We purchased Foothills for $1.6 million in 2004. This Willamette riverfront property has served as a new site for public events and usage will continue to grow as boat docks are added.
These parks (and at least five other Stafford properties) are valued by all of us and we would probably not have them today if the proposed charter amendment was in effect.
Vote No on Charter Amendment 3-269. It is harmful, permanent, and will impede our city government's ability to make future park acquisitions that benefit our community.
Jonathan C. Puskas is a resident of Lake Oswego.