On a recent trip to Fresno, California, to visit relatives I was reminded of the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi”.
“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”
I’d like to correct Joni. Living in Lake Oswego, Oregon, I do know what I’ve got before it’s gone.
The realization struck me as I stood outside my nephew’s high school waiting in line to buy tickets for his basketball game. Two police cars were parked outside the entrance and an officer was waving a metal-detecting wand over fans as they entered the gymnasium. This, my brother-in-law informed me was standard operating procedure as he relayed an incident last year where a fight broke out in the parking lot during one particularly heated game and the gymnasium was in lockdown mode for a couple hours.
Nope, “We’re not in Lake Oswego anymore.”
Feeling safe at high school basketball games wasn’t the only difference that stood out to me. I have been driving down to Fresno for over 35 years and have witnessed the urban sprawl that comes with a mentality that favors development over quality of life. Valuable agricultural land continues to disappear as newer cookie-cutter housing tracts move in. The downtown core has been abandoned with futile efforts to resurrect it. I thought back to Lake Oswego’s downtown redevelopment that has breathed life and vitality into our city and felt very grateful for the forward vision and thoughtful planning that has brought us Lake View Village, Millennium Plaza Park and Foothills Park.
I also noticed few people walking or bicycling. The automobile is king here with wide streets and pedestrian-unfriendly intersections. I tried googling pathways in Fresno, Ca. and the first entry was the Pathway to Recovery program run by Fresno County Substance Abuse Services. Google “Pathways in Lake Oswego, Oregon,” and you’ll find the city of Lake Oswego’s Parks and Recreation Pathway Guide as well as my blog on “A guide for Euclid to Lake Oswego’s pathways.”
I’m back home now in Lake Oswego and doing my best to prove Joni Mitchell wrong. I’m appreciating what I’ve got while it’s here and trust that it won’t be gone for future generations because I don’t think Lake Oswegans take our quality of life for granted.
What do you appreciate about Lake Oswego? Share your thoughts and join me in proving Joni Mitchell wrong.
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