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Expanding Iron Mountain Park

Lake Oswego staff are narrowing in on a final design that combines modern amenities with a natural setting on a two-acre park extension

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The new extension of Iron Mountain Park will include a sheltered picnic area, with paved floors for all-weather use that were not included in preliminary drawings.The planning process for the future extension of Iron Mountain Park took an important step forward last week with the unveiling of the preliminary version of the final design.

The plans still have to be finished and may be slightly adjusted, but the new park’s features and basic layout have now been decided.

“All of the major components are there, but there will be some fleshing out,” says Parks & Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm. “Location-wise, it’s pretty fleshed out as to where those things will be in the park.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The nature play area next to a picnic shelter will feature rocks for climbing and sticks for fort-building, rather than the usual slides and swings.The park extension is located on a two-acre piece of land between Iron Mountain Boulevard and the south side of the existing Iron Mountain Park, directly east of Lake Oswego Hunt. The space has been limited to a variety of temporary uses in the past, such as a dump site for debris left by the 1996 flood and as a construction equipment storage and staging area during the Lake Oswego-Tigard water project.

The upcoming remodel will transform it into what has been described as a “hybrid” park, mixing limited amenities with a natural setting. It will include public parking, restrooms, picnic tables and gathering areas, as well as a trailhead at the north end connecting it to the existing web of trails in the rest of Iron Mountain Park.

The central area will feature a picnic pavilion with multiple tables adjacent to a “nature play” area for kids, which will provide natural features like rocks and branches for climbing and building.

The project also aims to restore a stream and wetlands to the site. Currently, the stream follows a path across the southern portion of the site, close to Iron Mountain Boulevard. But the final design calls for it to be rerouted along the north side of the site, with a bridge providing access to the trailhead. Designer Mike O’Brien says the bridge will be carefully built to match the character of the park.

“It will be a really unique feature within this park,” O’Brien says. “When you cross the stream, you really are crossing into a different environment.”

Anderholm says that crossing was one of the reasons for moving the stream — putting it at the north end allows it to serve as a buffer between the hybrid and more natural sections of Iron Mountain Park, as well as freeing up a larger contiguous space for the hybrid area. The stream’s current path is technically the original course, but Anderholm says it’s been modified over the years, passing through multiple culverts and even pipes through the foundation of a former structure at the east end of the area.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - An ADA-accessible boardwalk will face east, with views of a pond and Lake Oswego Hunt beyond.“Having it close to the tow of the slope (of Iron Mountain) will be beneficial,” he says. “We’ll be able to take advantage by planting it more heavily and shading it.”

The stream will flow into a wetland area at the west end of the new park, surrounding a pond between the park and Lake Oswego Hunt. One of the park’s biggest features will be an ADA-accessible boardwalk at the edge of the wetland, allowing close-up viewing of the natural environment. The boardwalk wasn’t in the original park plans, but was added after the idea received enthusiastic support during the project’s public outreach meetings.

During the public feedback phase of the project, there were several calls to find ways to slow down traffic along the adjacent stretch of Iron Mountain Boulevard. While changes to the road or speed limit are outside the scope of the project, the final design does include new crosswalks to reach Campbell Native Garden on the other side of the street.

The regional trail along the edge of Iron Mountain Boulevard will be realigned to turn sharply and go around the new parking lot, thereby encouraging bicyclists to slow down as they approach the park.

“We wanted to provide a little incentive to slow down,” said O’Brien. “We’re trying to make people very conscious of this crossing.”

Anderholm said the project’s construction shouldn’t cause a huge disturbance — unlike the water project, no machinery will be used at night — but some noise will be unavoidable because “there’s going to be machinery in there that moves dirt very quickly.”

From here, the project moves into one more public outreach phase to help refine the final design. Anderholm says the public input will be incorporated into a final Master Plan, which should be completed in November. By the end of the year, that plan will be submitted to the Development Review Commission as part of the regular approval process. Several additional months of work would then be needed to expand the Master Plan into “something buildable,” and the project still needs to acquire funding.

“The actual implementation and building of this is dependent on funding,” says Anderholm. “And there’s multiple funding sources. At the earliest, it would be fall of next year (when construction could begin).”

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..