Lake Oswego parks meet or exceed national criteria
As a park professional who has worked for some of the best park systems in the country, I am proud to live in Lake Oswego where our park and recreation department meets or exceeds all measures for a highly effective park system. The Center for City Park Excellence, a national organization that works to create, improve and promote urban parks, lists the following measures.
The first measure of an effective park system is a clear expression of purpose, one established by the citizens and reflected in the departments mission statement: Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation provides excellence in building community, enriching lives, and caring for the urban and natural environment.
Next is an ongoing planning and community involvement process, evidenced by the extensive community involvement in developing Parks Plan 2025 and the Luscher Area Master Plan. It is also shown by the thousands of volunteer hours given to parks and recreation and the citizen involvement in the park and recreation and natural areas advisory boards.
A highly effective park system has sufficient land and staff to meet the systems goals. Lake Oswego residents have overwhelmingly approved bond measures to acquire the parks and natural areas in our system. Our park and recreation staff is exceptionally talented, dedicated and flexible in providing excellent service.
It must have equitable access to parks and recreation activities, a goal that is generally achieved throughout the city. Parks Plan 2025 identified areas having limited access; future efforts will be made to fill those gaps as funding and opportunities arise.
User satisfaction is a measure that is easily met as shown by repeat visits to our parks and recreation facilities and popular community events, and by the high level of satisfaction with park services indicated in various surveys.
An excellent park system is safe from crime and physical hazards. Our dedicated park ranger is a first responder who ensures our safety as do other park employees, and a primary duty of our maintenance staff is to eliminate physical hazards on the trails, in the playgrounds and at our sports fields.
Finally, the measure of an excellent park system is its value beyond the physical boundaries of the parks. Our park systems natural infrastructure provides ecological benefits to the whole city, our social lives are enriched by access to activities that are available to all, our health is improved by active recreation, and the citys economy is improved as employers and employees are attracted to quality parks.
Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation strives to ensure that every resident has access to year-round recreational activities in our excellent network of community and neighborhood parks, natural areas and open spaces, pathways and trails, and recreational facilities.
Lake Oswegans are rightfully proud of our high-achieving Park and Recreation Department. As our city council and budget committee plan for next year, please remind them of how much we value this outstanding department. Do your part to ensure that Lake Oswego continues to have excellent parks, natural areas and recreation facilities and services.
Nancy Gronowski is a 25-year resident of Lake Oswego, a retired senior park planner and landscape architect for Portland Parks and Recreation (20 years) and Oregon State Parks (eight years), former Natural Resources Advisory Board member, current Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member (writing as a private citizen) and member of other citizen advisory groups.Add a comment