City of Lake Oswego Measure 3-568

Ballot Title

Restricts improvements on certain Lake Oswego park properties.

Caption: Should the Lake Oswego City Charter be amended to restrict improvements on certain city park properties?

Summary: This Charter amendment was placed on the ballot through an initiative petition.

Applies initially to Bryant Woods Park, Canal Acres, Cooks Butte Park, Cornell Natural Area, Glenmorrie Greenway, Hallinan Woods, Iron Mountain Park, Kerr Open Space, Lamont Springs Natural Area, River Run, Southshore Natural Area, Springbrook Park, Stevens Homestead, Stevens Meadows, West Waluga Park, and Woodmont Natural Park.

Designates these properties as "Nature Preserves."

Prohibits above-ground facilities or structures that would impair or be inconsistent with natural conditions.  Also prohibits hard-surface trails, parking lots, athletic fields or facilities, roads, trails for motorized vehicles, tree-cutting for certain purposes, and telecommunications facilities.

Previously-constructed facilities or structures may be maintained if not altered in any manner that further impairs or is inconsistent with natural conditions.  Allows soft-surface trails, benches, interpretive displays, and picnic and sanitary facilities. 

Allows the city to implement previously-adopted park master plans.

Applies the same restrictions to any park property acquired in the future, if designated as a "Nature Preserve" by the conveying property owners, the city, or voters.

Explanatory Statement:
Lake Oswego’s City Charter currently does not contain development limitations for City-owned natural parks except for Springbrook Park, which has been protected under Chapter X - Park Development Limitation since 1978. This citizen-initiated measure repeals and replaces Chapter X to protect 15 additional natural parks with additional development limitations to preserve them as natural habitats accessible for public enjoyment.

Chapter X, which currently only applies to Springbrook Park: 

  • Prohibits athletic facilities, parking lots, and roads or trails for motorized vehicles.
  • Allows trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding.
  • Allows picnic and sanitary facilities.
  • Allows for restrictions to apply to any park property acquired by bond and designated by voters as subject to these restrictions. 

A “yes” vote on Measure 3-568 would maintain and enhance Chapter X’s development limitations: 

  • Designates these natural parks as “Nature  Preserves:” Springbrook Park, Bryant Woods Park, Canal Acres, Cooks Butte Park, Cornell Nature Area, Glenmorrie Greenway, Hallinan Woods, Iron Mountain Park, Kerr Open Space, Lamont Springs Natural Area, River Run I & II, South Shore Natural Area , Stevens Homestead, Stevens Meadows, West Waluga Park, and Woodmont Natural Park.
  • Prohibits athletic facilities, parking lots, and roads or trails for motorized vehicles.
  • Prohibits telecommunications facilities, asphalt and concrete hard-surface trails, and above-ground facilities or structures that would impair or be inconsistent with natural conditions.
  • Prohibits tree-cutting for purposes of commercial logging
  • Allows trails for hiking, jogging, horseback, and bicycle riding.
  • Allows picnic and sanitary facilities.
  • Allows benches, boardwalks, and interpretive displays.
  • Allows maintenance for ecological restoration that provides safe and healthy natural areas that are accessible for public enjoyment, provides a healthy habitat for wildlife, eliminates invasive species, restores native species, and mitigates fire hazards.
  • Allows maintenance of existing facilities, structures, parking lots, roads or trails for motorized vehicle if not altered in any manner that would further impair or be inconsistent with natural conditions.
  • Allows implementation of pre-existing park-specific master plans that may specify development otherwise restricted by this Chapter.
  • Allows for restrictions to apply to any park property acquired by bond or if designated as a “Nature Preserve” by the conveying property owners, the City, or voters. 

Any master plan for parks designated as “Nature Preserves” must be consistent with the charter amendment. 

After citizens filed this initiative with sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot, the Lake Oswego City Council referred a competing measure. 

To become law, this Measure must receive a majority vote and more YES votes than the competing Measure. 

Submitted by:
Kari Linder, City Recorder | Elections Officer
City of Lake Oswego


Protect Our Natural Parks

We’re fortunate for everything Lake Oswego offers, including: urban forests and abundant natural parks. When walking our streets 24 months ago, speaking with 900+ residents about the 3rd City attempt for a significant telecommunications facility atop Cooks Butte — a deed violation, nearly all expressed frustration with decades of City development ambitions and a tedious public process that disenfranchises citizens’ voices. Many expressed worry for their neighborhood’s natural park. Over 4800 petition signers helped qualify this measure.

Precise, Deliberate, Intentional

I vividly recall the conversation with an Uplands resident regarding a similar plight by citizens in the 1970s to protect Springbrook Park from high density housing and a major athletic facility. Citizens voted 3:1 on Charter protections for Springbrook — against fierce opposition from the Mayor and City-affiliated groups.

Measure 3-568 follows in Springbrooks’ footsteps to enact sensible legal protections our City fails to provide. This measure is written precisely, deliberately, and intentionally. It seeks protections limiting City development incompatible with keeping 16 designated natural parks as healthy natural habitats with abundant wildlife for all to access and enjoy.

Limits Development

For 40+ years, Springbrook has proven well-crafted Charter protections limiting development work; 3-568 expands those limitations. Meanwhile:

  • ADA honored for accessibility
  • Stewards continue providing valuable services maintaining healthy habitats
  • Infrastructure maintenance and fire mitigation efforts will provide for community needs and safety
  • Natural park master planning proceeds
  • Voters decide IF rare future need, otherwise prohibited, arises


Sierra Club proudly endorses Measure 3-568.  The measure defines natural park boundaries enabling the protection of natural habitats, while supporting accessibility of these areas for public enjoyment.” — Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club

Oregon Wild supports Measure 3-568 to protect and preserve the ecological values, public access, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities provided by Lake Oswego's parks.” — Jonathan Jelen, Oregon Wild

Get Informed

  • Vote YES on Citizen-initiated Measure 3-568
  • Vote NO on City Council’s competing Measure 3-575

(This information furnished by Scott Handley)


Lake Oswego Loves Our Natural Spaces

Our city is known for its natural parks and tree cover.  These make Lake Oswego special.  Unfortunately, special areas like these are not preserved without intentional legal protections.  There are just too many different interest groups looking to exploit undeveloped spaces.  Because the parks protected in this measure already exist, it costs taxpayers nothing to preserve our special places.

Our Natural Parks Deserve Clear Legal Protections

We need legal protection for these areas, and not rely on the best intentions of whomever happens to occupy the City Council over the next 20 to 30 years.  Even if one trusts the current City Council, another election with new council members is always coming.  Once our natural areas are impacted, it takes a lifetime to recover, if ever at all.

Don’t Risk our Few, Irreplaceable Natural Parks

I endorse the citizens’ LoveLOParks measure 3-568 because of the straightforward and clear legal protections our Natural Parks deserve.  (Visit

Vote YES on Citizen-Initiated Measure 3-568, which gives certainty to protecting our natural parks.

Vote NO on Measure 3-575, which relies on the good graces of our City Council and all those that follow.

Andy Stanger, Lake Oswego Resident for 45 years

(This information furnished by Andy Stanger)


Don’t Get Fooled Again

We can’t trust the City of Lake Oswego to protect our natural parks.  Three times since 1993 the City has tried to build a large communications tower in Cook’s Butte Park.  We were there each time with our community to protect this natural habitat as grantors John and Marjorie Emery intended for it to remain. 

Cook’s Butte was created when the Emery’s deeded the City this 42 acres.  They explicitly granted this land as a natural park under the condition it remain free of future commercial development and asked that it stay “forever wild.” A memorial left by John and Marjorie’s sons in remembrance reads:

“Much of the land

For this park was a gift to the

Local community by two people who lived

Next to it for 48 years.

They wished this forest and meadow

To remain forever wild.

A meeting place for human

And non-human,

A place to re-enter the world

Beyond our human habits.”

Measure 3-568 is about more than just Cook’s Butte.  It addresses concerns neighbors across LO shared for their neighborhood natural parks.

City Council’s opposing measure won’t protect our natural parks; furthermore, their measure is vague and filled with loopholes which may allow future development in our natural parks.  Citizens must unite to protect these natural spaces before they’re gone.

3-568 is more precise and focused on leaving our natural parks alone.  3-568 allows for good stewardship including tree thinning and fire mitigation.  It also allows benches, trails, boardwalks, and ADA access. 

We believe our natural parks should be protected and stay free from exploitation and development by Lake Oswego politicians.  3-568 was created by our citizens for our citizens.  Our parks need your help!

Vote YES on Citizen-Initiated Measure 3-568 and NO on City Council’s Measure 3-575.

Brad Home – 50+ years;  LHS ‘73

Michael Louaillier – 29+ years

Mike Wilkins – 32+ years

Jan Holibaugh – Marjorie’s Friend;  Emery Farm owner since 1993

(This information furnished by Brad Home)


Vote YES on Love LO Park’s Measure 3-568

The City’s competing Measure 3-575, puts Springbrook Park, along with our other natural parks, at risk for over development. The City of Lake Oswego has a long history of attempting to undermine natural parks to fit a vision of our city the citizens do not share. 

In 1969, the Pennington family donated 28 of the 52 acres that make up Springbrook to the City for a natural park.  The Friends of Springbrook Park (which Ruth Pennington helped form) rescued the adjoining 24 acres from high-density housing with a special election in 1973. 

The Mayor and City Council put full page ads in the Review to defeat the acquisition. They failed to sway voters, and the property was added to the existing park parcel. The initiative to add the adjoining acreage declared it as a natural park, but the City ignored that and built an indoor tennis center on the land.

The City attempted more unnatural development of Springbrook in 1978. They failed to sway voters when 75% voted in favor of a protective charter amendment. Chapter X was passed to further cement Springbrook's status as a Natural Park”. Chapter X will be expanded to other natural parks if Measure 3-568 passes, or effectively abolished if the City’s measure passes.

The Friends of Springbrook Park re-established in 2003 to form a Natural Resource Management Plan balancing the two important goals of the park; conservation and usage. The City had once again tried to add on to the tennis building. They were thwarted thanks to Chapter X.

Here we are in 2021, and the City sees an opportunity to nullify the protections offered by Chapter X. The choice we face is between preserving our natural parks or green lighting the City to over-develop them. NO on Measure 3-375 and YES on 3-568.

Jean Eves (50 year resident)

(This information furnished by Jean Eves)


The LoveLOParks Measure 3-568 intentionally, deliberately, and precisely provides protection for 16 natural areas while allowing for public access (including ADA-compliant trails), maintenance, and stewardship.

The City’s competing measure is flawed because it doesn't designate the protected areas within a natural park until after we vote, meaning part of a park may be excluded from protection.  Its language about managing ecosystems is vague; it allows development of parking lots, paved trails and non-public roads within park boundaries which will destroy natural habitat and allow tree removal; it could allow for public telecommunications facilities; and it allows other uses and facilities,” opening the door for development.  It gives the City, especially Parks & Recreation, too much latitude.  A recent example is Woodmont Park. The owner who deeded Woodmont specifically conveyed certain trees to remain; yet those trees were nonetheless bulldozed.  Other examples include repeated efforts to expand the tennis center into Springbrook Park; a mountain biking path installed within a sensitive ecosystem in Iron Mountain Park; and repeated attempts to build a telecommunications tower in Cook’s Butte. 

The City claims its competing measure creates a robust public process.  A public process is already required under goal 1 of the Oregon comprehensive plan (citizen involvement”). In any event, the public process has let us down. Neighborhood associations and dozens of individuals repeatedly provide comments opposing tree removal, only to be ignored. If the public process relating to these tree removal applications has been largely ignored, why would it be any different with public input relating to natural areas?

The City wants business as usual” to pave, remove trees, add facilities, and dispense lucrative construction and landscape contracts. With the climate crises and loss of biodiversity, we cannot afford business as usual.

Please vote YES on 3-568!

Betsy Wosko

Ann Mikulka

Mattias Beckmann

Nancy Osborne

Pierre Zubrinsky

Kathryn Fortner

Karen Davitt

Kimberly Beeler

Alyson Miller

Carol Sarnowski

Kenneth D. Sarnowski

Cindy Knowles

Hollis McMilan

(This information furnished by Betsy Wosko)


Measure 3-568 is insufficient and ineffective in protecting and preserving our natural areas.

It assumes that natural areas are all alike and that a blanket prohibition of certain activities will protect them. It will not. Measure 3-568 is a one-size-fits-all approach to a complex situation that does not recognize the unique qualities of each natural area. Yet even with this blanket approach, Measure 3-568 does not protect all of our natural areas.  

Further, it restricts access for everyone regardless of physical ability, by prohibiting asphalt or concrete trails, needed by many of us at some point in our lives.

It prohibits the vehicular access needed by Parks maintenance to repair trails and bring in supplies, remove dangerous accumulations of dead materials, build fire breaks, provide for emergency vehicles, and respond to climate change.

It discourages full citizen participation in the planning and implementation of our natural areas by prohibiting any new master and management plans from having parking lots, paved trails and non-public roads, even though these same facilities already exist in other natural areas, and even if residents want them. It means that any changes not specifically allowed in Measure 3-568 would need voter approval in city-wide elections. This is a waste of time and resources.

We need a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to protect, preserve and enhance all of our natural areas.  Measure 3-568 is not it.

Vote NO on Measure 3-568

Friends of Lake Oswego Parks Steering Committee

Mike Buck

Thomas Bland

Stephanie Wagner

Barbara Fisher

Jim Fisher

Robert Ervin

Doug McKean

Paul Lyons

Nancy Gronowski

(This information furnished by Nancy Gronowski, Friends of Lake Oswego Parks)