Sundeleaf Plaza is the new kid on the block–the latest addition to the City of Lake Oswego’s park system. While open since June 25, an official dedication will take place on Monday, September 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and everyone is invited. The program, which begins at 4:30 p.m. will include Mayor Jack Hoffman, Steve Dodds (Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chair), Terry Reckord, Marylou Culver and Richard Sundeleaf’s granddaughter, Hilary Mackenzie. Too bad Sundeleaf can’t make it as he would certainly have approved of this urban park with his name on it. Here’s why.
1. LAKE VIEWS. Sundeleaf Plaza provides the community with views of Lakewood Bay. Look around. Many of Sundelelaf’s projects were overlooking Oswego Lake, including the original cabanas at Oswego Lake Sailing Club on Third Street. He designed these first apartments on stilts perched out over Lakewood Bay—how fitting that now Sundeleaf Plaza looks out on that same body of water.
2. LOCATION-LOCATION-LOCATION. The park is located right next to another property he designed—the Lake Twin Cinema. In 1940 Sundeleaf designed both the theater and what is now the Oswego Lake House restaurant. A double sided fireplace sits between the park and theater so that both properties can benefit from it.
3. THIS WAS HIS HOMETOWN. Sundeleaf loved Lake Oswego enough to live here himself. Born in Portland, Sundeleaf actually called Lake Oswego home for 38 years from 1949 until his death in 1987 in a home he designed himself on Phantom Bluff Court.
4. IT’S INNOVATIVE. In addition to a lakeside promenade, lawns, a public plaza and restrooms, the park features a bioswale for storm water management. Sundeleaf was innovative as well, credited with influencing the “village” atmosphere in Lake Oswego.
5. HE COMPETED AND WON. The City of Lake Oswego had a contest to name the park; the competition began October 25 and ended November 19 of last year. Submissions were reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, who narrowed them down to four finalists. After a vote, a recommendation was made to the City Council which approved Resolution 10-71 naming the former US Bank property at 120 State Street as Sundeleaf Plaza. As any architect knows, you always have to go out and bid on a job—it’s a competition. So Sundeleaf would have felt very much at home with the process and pleased with the decision.
What’s your favorite Sundeleaf property in Lake Oswego? Let me know.