Is Lake Oswego going to the dogs?

On Sept. 13, a general meeting was held regarding the use of the soon to be annexed land at Luscher Farms acreage. The following observations are being made for those who did not attend, but have an interest in the outcome of the varied interest.

1. The city is being premature in the siting of the uses on the approximate 10 acres (exclude the private parcel not owned by the city). The comprehensive plan of 1996 is outdated and did not contemplate the existing area of over 100 acres (and perhaps more over time). It would seem prudent to master plan the entire area and not rush to use a small portion that could be harmful to the entire area in the future.

2. The bond approval by our citizens did not contemplate any use other than 'sports, field development and parks' and the money should be used for that purpose or the citizens have been misled. The need for sports facilities is a long-standing need (my kids experienced the difficult scheduling problems). The artificial turf field would be welcomed by the neighbors of Palisades and a second field would be utilized by high school, grade school and other sports teams. The addition of 'dog park' to the 'use' is a recent request, from a few, and had not been even mentioned until June 2006. Why the inclusion? Does the city really want to choose between the kids and dogs?

3. At the general meeting the dog people indicated that another location would be acceptable. It would seem prudent to relocate a dog area (if really necessary) to the east at the boundary of Luscher Farm on Rosemont Road. It would not interfere with the sports fields, the traffic, and the density and would not violate the voting intent of the bond issue. Also, the argument that only SDC (system development charges) would be used does not explain that those funds are to be used for sewer, water, transportation, and park uses. We have not heard from the city if the 'dog' funds would reduce funds for the other intended uses, or how much money would be used for the dog park. Surely, the SDC funds would be better used for roads, sewer repair, storm water controls, and the improvement of our existing parks and open space (sorely in need of improvement).

4. The consulting firm (Group Mackenzie) was given an unrealistic task by the city. Only three options were presented to the groups, all of which had the dog park included. The only area presented was the 10 acres without discussion of other choices. Group Mackenzie did not consider any changes to their plans, and reported that Option A was preferred without comment. Some of us believe that planning by the Sports Group and the Palisades Neighborhood Association should have been included before the final three options were forced upon the voting by the citizens. The county will allow sports and park uses in the EFU zone if application is made for a conditional use. It would not be necessary to annex the 100 acres into the city.

Many of us believe that the artificial turf field should be planned and installed and that a master plan for the 100 acres should be presented before additional uses are specified. With the expansion of the UGB, we can anticipate hundreds of houses will be built from Stafford to West Linn to Hiway 205. Luscher Farm will be at the center of the density and will be a gathering place for sports and recreation activities. We should plan ahead and not rush to error.

John Mills Woodworth is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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