DIGGING DEEPER

Luscher Area Master Plan

PLEASE SUPPORT FARMING AT LUSCHER FARM & YOUR LOCAL CSA!!

The City of Lake Oswego is already well into the Luscher Farm Master Planning process. Despite the fact that a majority of people supported farming at the Design Charette and the last Open House, the current Draft Plan proposes to build two artificial turf fields on the organic farm.

The draft plan would relocate farming to the east side of the property (#18 on the map), but these fields are steep, wet & ill-suited to year-round vegetable farming. If you want Luscher Farm to continue to provide fresh local produce to the community then the farm & community gardens should to stay where they are now – on great farmland that has been improved by years of organic production.

Many farm supporters have participated in the events leading up to and informing this plan, but for some reason, the voices of people who care about Farming at Luscher Farm have not been heard. It is getting late in the process so we have to act fast!

Things You Can Do:

  • Submit comments online here to the City of Lake Oswego before Sunday July 10th. Tell them that the organic farm & garden should stay were they are – on prime farmland that has been managed organically for years.
  • Email a letter of support for the CSA to Ryan Stee, Project Manager for Lake Oswego at rstee@ci.Oswego.or.us.
  • Email the Lake Oswego City Council directly from here.
  • Come to the City Council Work Session this Tues July 12th at 6pm in Council Chambers, 380 A Ave to support the farm.
  • Spread the word!! Forward this email to your friends & neighbors and encourage them to make comments too.
  • Post your concerns to facebook & share comments from the 47th Avenue Farm page
  • Write a letter to the editor for the Lake Oswego Review
  • You can help even if you don’t live in Lake Oswego. Luscher Farm is an extraordinary regional resource that we all have a stake in protecting.

Benefits provided by the Luscher Farm CSA & Community Gardens include:

  • Fresh healthy produce benefits local residents year-round! Local food tastes better, is more nutritious, and is better for the environment.
  • Increasing access to local food and urban agriculture is something cities all over the country are struggling to do better. We have a tremendously successful CSA program here so let’s institutionalize it in the master plan, not kill it?!
  • The CSA & Community Gardens provides endless opportunities for education! Kids need more chances to get their hands dirty & see where their food comes from.
  • Luscher Farm CSA is a real working farm that links residents to the rural history of the region and looks forward by offering examples for a more sustainable future.

Keep the CSA Farm & Community Gardens where they are at Luscher Farm!!

  • It is important to keep farming front and center at Luscher Farm – not something that is just squeezed in around the edges on leftover marginal lands.
  • The current draft plan pushes the CSA onto marginal fields where there are high water tables, steep slopes, and no water rights. For these reasons the proposed new  fields on the east side of Luscher Farm are NOT suitable for year-round organic vegetable production.
  • The CSA & Community Gardens have invested heavily in improving the organic soils with amendments and cover crops since their inception. It doesn’t make any sense to move them off these great soils they have spent years investing in.
  • The CSA has invested tens of thousands of dollars in farming infrastructure and most of it has been built at no cost to the city. It would not be feasible for the CSA to build all new farm infrastructure at a new location.

Costs vs Benefits of Farming at Luscher Farm:

  • Farming does not require that the city build any additional expensive new infrastructure. The CSA pays the majority of the costs associated with that program at Luscher Farm and requires minimal investment from the city.
  • In contrast, Hazalia Field was a “$3.8 million development that includes a multi-use athletic field, play area and enhanced wetland.*” The larger acreages being considered for development in this master plan would likely require even more substantial investments. *The Lake Oswego Review, Jan 17, 2008
  • To keep the CSA & Community Gardens where they are requires minimal investment from the city and benefits to the community are priceless!!
  • The open space above Hazalia Field that is reserved for a golf driving range (#24 on the map). The golf feasibility study recommends putting a parking lot and vending machines right on top of the current CSA greenhouses. In Lake Oswego the “taxpayers have subsidized [golf] operations since 2007, paying about $80,000 each year to keep the course in the black, according to previous reports.*” If you were at the design charette you know that support for the driving range was greatly exaggerated in the reports. *The Lake Oswego Review, Aug 27, 2009

Other issues that have been raised by the community about the Luscher Farm Master Plan include…

  • The study that is being used to substantiate current need for additional sports fields is over 10 years old.
  • No analysis has been published to evaluate alternative sites in the community for additional sports fields. What about fields at the schools that are being closed? What about renovating existing fields so they can be used year-round?
  • Large tracts of land at Luscher Farm will be maintained as natural resource & open space. The draft plan should be brought to the Natural Resource Advisory Board (NRAB) before it goes to the City Council.
  • Sustainability is supposed to be at the heart of planning in Lake Oswego yet there has been no mention of sustainability during this master planning process. The Natural Step program should be used to analyze all of the options and the draft plan should be brought before the Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) before it goes to the City Council.
  • There is a historic overlay on part of Luscher Farm so the master plan should go to the Historic Advisory Board (HRAB) before it goes to the City Council.
  • Is it good planning to put dense urban amenities (ie. artificial turf fields) on the far edge of the city? Existing fields closer to the city center could be restored near the neighborhoods where people live. Kids could then walk or bike to practice & games rather than making everyone drive to the outskirts of town to play.
  • Building urban amenities on the edge of the UGB could implicate lands in the Stafford triangle for more urban development.
  • Wasn’t it the intention of Rudie Luscher that the land continue to be farmed?

When you comment please include your own personal stories about the positive impact that farming & gardening at Luscher has had on you and your family : )

I know that this is an uphill battle, but with your help hopefully we can keep Farming at Luscher Farm!!

Links & Resources