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corporate dominance | environment

Who's Lake ? Corporation's Lake.

"Private lake," the plaques warn. "Please stay on the steps."

Who's Lake? Our Lake? LOC's Lake, Rich property owner's lake? Welcome to Oregon's own California...Lake Oswego.
From the weekly:

"Private lake," the plaques warn. "Please stay on the steps."

That's right. In a state famous for its public coastline, the only major lake in the metro area is completely off limits to out-of-towners. And except for a couple of swim parks, most residents of Lake Oswego are prohibited from using the lake. That privilege belongs only to the "shareholders" of the private Lake Oswego Corporation, whose exclusivity was safeguarded by an act of Congress in 1976.


What about Critical Swim? A private lake what a load of crap, if enough people went down there they'd never be able to stop us taking this back for the people of Oregon. Ok the water is really nasty so perhaps now's not the best time, but isn't the idea of a corporate owned "off limits" lake something that could spur on some type of action?
that is so weird 27.Apr.2005 12:22


I stood at those steps yesterday evening looking at that plaque and thinking the same thing. Whose right was it to dam Sucker Creek to make this man-made lake and then tell me that i am violating "private property law" if I fell in. "Californication" were you near me as I stood on those steps? I have hiked around the lake years and knew it was calimed to be "private", but it was only last night that I stood there really taking in that plaque.

Being someone who is economically oppressed in this society and growing up in that area before the wealthy elite took over all the area. I remember when members of the black community use to fish there. I think it is obvious that these plaque are part of this racist elitist aspect of the control of the eco-system in that area from who has access to the lake or river to how the land is "used" (specifically developers murdering forests and using cheap labour usually Hispanic employees to do their binding). Those plaques really reflect the classism and economic racism in those that have authority in Lake Oswego.

Now I write this with a special note that I do not wish to label all in Lake Oswego as racists, but ask those who live there or near by to really really question those in power and those who control land and demographics (specifically real estate agencies and land developers). I really think this should be openly and publically adressed in the Lake Oswego newspaper, neighborhood associations and even directly to the mayor's office. Maybe Willamette Week, the Oregonian or one of the other newspapers can address why Lake Oswego is often called "Lake No Negro" with pictures of the past of people fishing where there is the plaque "private property".

Critical Swim! 27.Apr.2005 14:00


I think a Critical Swim is a great idea! ... except... isn't the Willamette toxic?

re: Critical Swim 27.Apr.2005 15:02


The lake of Lake Oswego is not directly part of the Willamette. Sucker Creek and Waluga Lake the original natural lake to the west are tributaries into the Willamette. The Tualatin does partically drains into the man made Lake Oswego through Cooley Creek (either named for the immigrant workers that built the canal or from the Chinook Jargon word for "run" or "hurry"). Lake Oswego currently is going through a "de-toxification" of its algae in the western quaderant so its might not be cleanest swim, but then people swim there and in the Willamette and Columbia. Also there are at least two golf courses (one is presently using a more holistic and organic approach to management I have heard) that spill into the lake as well as other run off including lots of pesticides and herbicides from lawns and the general liquid waste that American urban settlement ooze out.

Maybe a Critical Swim could include a Critical Canoe or Critical Raft. And I think bringing it to attention to many residence of Lake Oswego first might even include many of them. I know many not from there would find that weird, but there are alot of open minded people there who if they simply were educated or informed might actively change the authority system that has led to the current situation. Of course the people who I talk to out there are "progressives" (and its alot of them trust me) who mostlikely simple never thought about the fact that a few wealthy racist and elitist in league with real estate agents have kept this system of elitism continuing. I think if informed at first in a non confornational way at first would make some "progressives" there decide to run for local offices to change things. Danny Glover actually has a residence in a neighborhood near the lake (the Dunthorp area) and maybe if we got him on our side then maybe we could have him in a Critical Swim/Canoe/Raft which would bring the issue to an awkward situation for the elite that have control.

To illustate the elitism of the lake there are several parks and boating areas that are fenced off from the general public. I question whether those "parks" or "boat ramps" and docks are totally private. And if public tax payer money goes into the maintanence or even park services then a good eco-attorney or legal team could potentially have some courtroom fun. Though the argument could be made that its an artifical lake and therefore not covert by state park service regulations I would argue that given the fact that there are some wild spaces (with carp, turtles, river otters, deer and other beautiful children of Mother Nature) that are now interdependant on the lake system that replaced the original riparian system that Lake Oswego is now a crucial eco-system that should be removed from the private sector and managed by a collective system like the park system.

tinkle&tell 27.Apr.2005 19:16


Pee in the lake, for good luck(after dark,of course)--it's like living upstream.

Just Stay Out of the Columbia 27.Apr.2005 21:02

Washed Up

Aside from the nuclear waste contamination from Hanford,-

"Large sewage spill near Umatilla concerns officials

"...a dam at a wastewater holding lagoon failed Tuesday afternoon at a former J.R. Simplot potato processing plant.

"The failure of the dam sent about 177 million gallons of polluted water into an irrigation canal, which also failed and eventually flowed into the Umatilla River. The Umatilla River flows into the Columbia River."


Ban On Chemicals 27.Apr.2005 23:01

Right To Know

Of course the first logical step to all of this should be to ban all chemicals used by landowners adjacent to the lake. But then the chemlawns would not so unnaturally vibrant green.

To be honest with you, I read this story in the WW and said who gives a shit? A bunch of uptight rich folk have been introduced to pollution. About fucking time. NIMBY in your face. Greed and gluttony has come home to roost.

That said, there are other private lakes in the PDX area that are fed by public streams to the benefit of a few rich. I know of one in Gresham(please help with the name if you know) that is to the south of the Springwater trail close to City park and up the hill. It is all fenced off and says private property and other bullshit. But it is filled with a stream that should and did run free to the Johnson Creek.

I believe the real problem lies in the concept of private property.

Any chance of a public measure 37 claim?

disclaimer to readers: I have been drinking and did not use spell check.

in the future . . . 27.Apr.2005 23:07

david byrne nobel

wait a minute here folks, you mean Lake O is created and exists because of a dam on a creek?
hmmmmm. . . to solve 3-year-old ownership tantrums one usually takes the thing away. dig?

ps good spelling helps persuade rich liberals to take radicals serious enought to give $, etc.

Ahoy there! 28.Apr.2005 12:17

Pope Colby

Lake Ego is too polluted with algae and algae toxins to swim in right now.
Here's my suggestion: Let 'em deal with it. Let 'em have their filthy private lake. This is what they bought and paid for. This is what they get for trying to make a lake private like that. Let 'em have the algae and the costs of cleaning it. They can damn well afford it.