I met with a buyer client this week who will be moving to Portland from Chicago if she gets the job she flew here to interview for. Cross your fingers for her!! She doesn’t know much about the area. She instructed me to set up a tour for homes in Beaverton, as she had heard that’s a nice place to live and has good schools. Her two boys are 3 and 5 years old. I only had the afternoon available for touring with her. I chose 6 homes to view. By the time I met with her she had already taken a 4 hour tour of the metro area earlier in the day with friends of hers. “Not enough feeling of open space in Beaverton”, she reported. She loved Lake Oswego & West Linn, in particular, for their sense of openness. Beaverton seemed to be wall to wall homes to her. Needless to say, we scratched our tour and met for coffee instead. I changed her online search areas to exclude the more urban-feeling areas in favor of Lake Oswego, West Linn, Happy Valley and Clackamas, all appealing to her need for greenery and space.
An article I’d read in the Lake Oswego Review (2/17/11) came to mind as we talked about parks and green spaces. Sandy Intraversato, co-chair of the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, had written about the “Parks Plan 2025” which is in the development process and will be a guide for parks, recreation and natural systems for the next 15 years. Sandy reported that 1400 community members have become involved to provide their input. That’s a darn good showing for a population of around 38,000!
Lake Oswego Schools are hurting for funds, like many other school systems, and Lake Oswego Mayor Jack Hoffman states that “the parks department has a bull’s eye on its back”, referring to it being a possible target for budget cuts to make a difference in the school funding crisis. Sandy points out that “while no one diminishes the importance of schools in the community, many consider our parks and recreation system the city’s crown jewels.”
When I think back to raising my own kids in Lake Oswego, I like to remember the many adventures we had on the shores of the Willamette River at the beautiful 26 acre George Rogers Park.
Our premier downtown space is 26 acres located on the corner of Ladd and South State Street. This community park site includes two baseball/softball fields, a soccer field, access to the Willamette River, a memorial garden area, restrooms, playground, and two outdoor tennis courts. The upper shelter has 4 picnic tables, lights, and electricity. Maximum capacity is 70. The lower shelter has 7 picnic tables, and 4 barbeque pits. Electricity is available upon request. (Click here for other Lake Oswego parks)
My son played Little League at the ball field and I still head to the outdoor tennis courts for summertime games. There’s a super playground we frequented that always seems full of kids.
Sandy tells us that the Lake Oswego system includes over 600 acres of park and open space property and recreation facilities. She bets that “each community member interacts with some part of our system on a weekly, if not daily basis.” (I know I do, as I live next to Tryon Creek Park and take daily walks there with my dog. No wonder my client enjoyed her tour of Lake Oswego!!
It’s encouraging to hear that the Lake Oswego Citizens Advisory Committee has been told, from its surveys, “that parks, recreation and natural areas are very important to Lake Oswego’s quality of life. The key benefits collectively identified were protecting important places (habitat, historic sites, etc.), enhancing health and wellness, bringing people together and making the city visually appealing.”
My hope is that Lake Oswego is able to find support for its schools without taking away from the maintenance of its popular parks, recreation and open spaces that residents highly value and newcomers find so appealing.
Jane Lee is a Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty in Lake Oswego, Oregon