City Council Policies

On September 5, 2017, the Lake Oswego City Council reaffirmed its commitment to being a safe, caring, and respectful community. The signed statement can be read here.


In April, 2015, the Lake Oswego City Council approved a set of policies that set direction for the city and guides the work of both the City Council and staff. These policies were reviewed and affirmed in January, 2017.

Lake Oswego City Council Policies

Neighborhood Livability
It is the policy of the Lake Oswego City Council to preserve the character of existing established residential neighborhoods. How this will be done will be decided by the City Council in consultation with residents of the neighborhood and neighborhood association representatives, while keeping in mind the property rights of owners or buyers who are interested in improving their property.

Preservation of Assets
The City Council places a priority on maintenance and upgrade of existing facilities and capital assets. A strategy for funding operation and maintenance will be identified before new facilities are acquired or constructed. Reasonable long term replacement and major repair costs should be set aside in the operating budget.  Under our “dig once” policy, subject to funding availability, and where practical, below-ground utility work will be done at the same time as major pavement reconstruction.

The City Council supports the policy of “friendly annexation” of residential areas. Annexation will be with the consent of the owners of affected residential properties, even if this results in the short term in irregular boundaries or islands of unincorporated areas. The City may, however, take an active role in the annexation of developed commercial and industrial property within Lake Oswego’s urban service area.

Economic Development
A thriving business community builds the city’s property tax base, provides jobs for Lake Oswego residents, and provides goods and services for residents. The City of Lake Oswego will actively encourage business investment and expansion by:

  • Reducing regulatory barriers (complexity, time and cost in processing applications, amount and scope of regulations) wherever possible, without sacrificing community aesthetics and livability.
  • Responding quickly to business expansion and relocation inquiries.
  • Providing information, in partnership with other economic development organizations, that assists in business location decisions.
  • Financial or land use incentives when warranted by the benefits to the city provided by the new or growing business, as decided on a case-by-case basis by the City Council.

New Fees and Taxes; Debt
Any new fee or tax, or an expansion of scope of an existing fee, will be considered only if the fee or tax will be dedicated to a specific purpose. The City Council will monitor the use of the fee or tax to ensure that the benefits outweigh the cost. Total outstanding indebtedness, excluding voter-approved general obligation bonds, will not exceed $250 million.

Property Rights
The City Council affirms its responsibility to protect the rights of property owners and be responsible stewards of our natural environment.  State and regional land use and environmental standards will be applied locally in a fair and equitable manner that respect citizens' use and enjoyment of their property, retain property values and promote healthy ecosystems.  

Objective Development Standards and Community Involvement
When standards for development of property are clear and objective, property owners who abide by these standards should be issued a permit expeditiously in accordance with approved, measurable timetables. We seek extensive community involvement in 1) development of the standards; 2) fine-tuning the standards as circumstances warrant[1]; and 3) reviewing and deciding on requests from property owners for variances from the standards.

The City Council supports the continued provision of quality services to Lake Oswego citizens in a fiscally prudent, socially responsible, and environmentally sound way, ensuring that current needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

[1] Consistent with the legal requirement to process applications based on the code as it exists at the time of a development application