Thursday, October 13, 2011

Planning Commision Member Wants Public Access to Lake!

To All COLA LO Members,

A recent article in the LO Review has drawn substantial public comment including response from an existing planning commission member.   This member is the author of the article and many believe he represents the long term position of existing council members and the Mayor.   So far no public comment has been submitted by the council on the opinion expressed in the article.

The comment online includes the statement below.   Please refer to the earlier posting for the link to the article.   

Re: What’s the future – if any – of access to Oswego Lake?
According to the State of Oregon, water in a river or lake belongs to the state of Oregon and the public can use the surface of a river or lake for any legal purpose once they have gained lawful entry. The bed of the river or lake may be privately owned, but the water belongs to the State. But don't take my word for it, go to the Department of State Lands website or contact them directly to see for yourself.

Usually the State gets involved in rural areas when a stretch of river runs through private property, and the owner tries to block access from up and down river. This is not allowed because the water is public.

In the case of Oswego Lake, the city owns multiple lakefront properties and could potentially choose to allow controlled access to the lake. The City could choose to limit it to things like kayaking and canoeing as they do at George Rogers park. I would support these limits which would have minimal impact on current lake users.

If all property surrounding the lake was privately owned, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. It would be illegal for the public to trespass on private property to gain access to the lake. However, the city could potentially provide lawful, controlled lake access, and it is worth discussing the issue.

"Todd Prager"

(email verified)

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