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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 24, 2012 2:16 PM. The previous post in this blog was Dear Facebook. The next post in this blog is Is it worth $25 to renew "bojack.co"?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oswego Lake access lawsuit filed in federal court

Pass the popcorn. This one's going to be fun to watch. Oh, and get the extra large tub of popcorn, because we'd be surprised if this one didn't wind up in the Ninth Circuit. And it could take a detour to the state supreme court as well -- the case turns on a question of state law, and perhaps the federal judge will shoot it down to Salem for an authoritative view.

Comments (15)

There used to be a public swimming pool where the condos on McVey Avenue and Rt 43 are now. It was 50+ years ago, but I remember swimming there as a kid.

Everyone wants to focus on the fact that the lake is navigable now as opposed to what it looked like in 1859. It is my impression that they put the dam in during the 1860's, and that is what made it a navigable waterway suitable for commerce. According the the 9th Circuit opinion cited in this blog several months ago, you have to show more than just the mere ability to float a boat on it to call it navigable, the body of water had to have been a functional commercial transportation corridor at the time of statehood for it to have been considered part of the public realm. If there is solid historical evidence that the lake was used for commercial transportation in 1859 I would be interested in seeing it.

20 some years ago I had friends that would go out and do lake swims for triathlon training. Then about 30% would come down with ear infections. I stayed in the Y pool and avoided infections. I have seen the lake late in the summer and it not all that appealing. Though it does not have dead fish floating in it like the Willamette does late in summer.

The swim park in LO was private and charged for swimming and even had a few row boats for rent. In the mid-60s the owner put the whole thing up for sale. A few residents of LO asked the city to buy it for a public park, but the city dithered and the land was sold to a builder who put in the apartments which were converted to condos a few years ago. The swim park was never publicly owned.

Smart move by public interest plaintiffs. CoLO is in over their heads. Watch for fed judge to possibly certify a state law/constitution question to the OR Supremes for added excitement. Makes that S.Ct. race a little more interesting, too.

"CoLO is in over their heads."

Yes, because our mayor is a land use attorney who treats every city matter like a court case he has to win. He is the cause of most of our troubles, including this.

Then he's gonna get the paddling he deserves in this case.

I especially like the way Lake Oswego Corporation accused plaintiff of "filing a potentially costly suit against the city while holding a seat on a public body" and noting that "...it's unfortunate to have to spend money this way". Translated: "Never mind who started the battle by trying to deny public access; let's deflect the attention away from the wealthy 1% who want to keep this lake to themselves and blame the messenger".

The concept of private property has always been an entertaining discussion.

Comment overheard at a busy Willamette River boat launch last weekend: "Hope it stays private. If the lake gets too busy they'll come here. I don't want to deal with those yahoos taking 30 minutes to back their boats down the public ramps and God knows what they'll do once they're on the river."

The irony here is if the lawsuit is successful then the public ends up paying for the maintenance of the rich folks private lake...
So be careful what you ask for boys and girls..

The irony is that if the lake is made public, the public should cover the maintenance. It won't be the "rich folks' private lake" any longer.

The Lake Corporation (and the city) saw this coming a mile away and could have and should have taken some simple steps to avoid the hassle of litigation. I suspect only a handful of people would want to put their motor boat into Oswego Lake (and probably couldn't without a public boat ramp - nothing says the public has access to the lake AND gets a boat launch). Most people probably would be satisfied if they used the lake to swim or canoe or kayak.

But Mike, where would they put their canoes and kayaks into the water? The city parks were not built with that in mind so though it is possible, it is not safe. The rules against it are to prevent injuries and lawsuits.

Another thing people just don't talk about is the current setup on the lake. All boats being launched into the lake must be cleaned and certified safe to enter the water. They are trying to protect the lake from invasive species. You can take your boat out, but every time you put it back in it costs upwards of $200 for the professional cleaning. How is this system going to be maintained, or once the lake is opened up, does the public want it to become a mess as a payback to all the snobs who kept them off for so long? Spite or responsible management?

Looks like SCOTUS has taken cert. on this issue. Yes, indeed, please pass the popcorn because this will get interesting. My bet is that in the end the swamp formerly know as Sucker Lake will not be found to have been a navigable waterway in 1859.

Huh? U.K., I think you're missing the boat on this one.


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