WHAT is this project?
We Love Lake Oswego: Planning for People, Places and Prosperity is a citywide project to envision the community’s desired future for Lake Oswego in 2035, and outline the policies and steps to get us there. The project will result in a plan that depicts in words and images what the community is striving to become. The Plan will be created, owned and implemented over many years by residents, businesses, community organizations, City Staff and City Council. At its best, it will inspire pride and commitment to realizing the future it describes. The project will plan for the community’s present needs while ensuring that Lake Oswego sustains a high quality of life for future generations.
This type of planning is not new to Lake Oswego. Since 1978, Lake Oswego has been guided by a set of goals and policies that outline how the city government should plan for the community. It is called the city’s Comprehensive Plan and it’s the basis for all land use planning and growth management actions in Lake Oswego. The plan addresses everything from citizen involvement and economic development to transportation, natural resources, housing, and infrastructure.
Lake Oswego’s Comprehensive Plan is also part of a statewide system of planning that was put in place in the 1970’s to protect the state’s farm and timber economies, its treasured landscape, and to provide orderly ways of planning for new development. The State of Oregon requires that every city and county adopt and periodically update a comprehensive plan that establishes a growth boundary and meets state and regional planning goals while retaining local control of specific land use decisions. Lake Oswego was told by the state to update our Plan and we were given three years to do so.
When this process is complete, the Lake Oswego community and its local government will have a shared vision and clear path for where Lake Oswego is headed for the next 25 years, and an understanding of how future actions can help to create a sustainable community, economy and environment. A detailed list of measurable actions along with funding mechanisms and priority levels will also be created for each area of the plan. The community and City Government can use this to review the community’s progress toward plan implementation each year.
The state requires periodic review of the Plan and Lake Oswego was notified that we are required to update the Plan at this time. The Lake Oswego Comprehensive Plan was last updated in the early 1990’s and a lot has changed since then. The City has welcomed 6,000 new residents. The downtown has been transformed with new housing and streetscapes, and Lake View Village and Millennium Park are now vibrant City destinations. The community has been infused with the energy of new events, from the Farmers Market to summer concerts in the parks. The community has come together to support and maintain the high quality of education in Lake Oswego’s schools, despite funding declines. And the world has gained a new understanding of the changes we must all make to reverse the far-reaching impacts of human activities on the well-being of the planet, nation and city in which we live.
The community also faces challenges in the years ahead. There is a growing population of senior citizens. How can we adapt our city to fit the needs of an aging population, so that our community members can remain in this community they love? School enrollment continues to decline. How can LO continue to attract school-age families? Kruse Way has over 2.3 million SF of office space, with a 22.7% vacancy rate. How can Lake Oswego attract new businesses and grow existing businesses? By 2050, Oregon must achieve greenhouse gas levels that are at least 75% below 1990 levels. How can Lake Oswego dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions?
With this in mind, it’s time to take a fresh look where Lake Oswego is heading for the next generation, and how to adapt our comprehensive plan to changed circumstances so that we can plan smartly and proactively.
By doing this, Lake Oswego’s challenges will also be its greatest opportunities – to strengthen the local economy, improve the quality of our air and water, sustain an outstanding school system, and help to ensure the safety and well-being of all Lake Oswego citizens.
By planning today, Lake Oswego can sustain the community it loves for tomorrow’s generation.
HOW will we do it?
We Love Lake Oswego is a plan by the community, for the community. Public engagement is at the heart of this planning process, and the City has developed a strategy to involve community members at each phase of the 3-year planning process. There are five objectives for the public engagement process:
- Engage Those Who Aren’t Usually Involved, As Well As Those Who Often Participate In City Processes
- Foster Community Ownership of the Process
- Build on Existing Networks and Information Channels
- Educate the Community about Sustainability and the Natural Step Guiding Principles
- Create Enthusiasm and Excitement about Planning for the Future.
The project will follow three standard phases for planning processes, which address the following community questions:
Where are we now? What are the existing conditions, what has changed since we last updated our plan, what does the
Where are we going? What are the trends, what would Lake Oswego look like if we did not help to direct change in a positive
way for future generations?
Where do we want to be? What does the community want Lake Oswego to be in 2035 and beyond?
How do we get there? How do we accomplish this vision – what land use changes may be needed and what are the specific
goals, policies and steps (including priorities + funding mechanism) necessary to realize the community’s desired future?
WHEN can I participate + WHEN will it be completed?
The plan update is a 3-year process, to be completed by the middle of 2013. We hope that all Lake Oswego community members will participate in this process in some way, whether it’s completing an online survey, attending a workshop or other public meeting, or talking with one of the We Love Lake Oswego ambassadors out and about in the community.