Where to Find Fall Colors In and Around Lake Oswego

Make fall colors another reason to move to Lake Oswego.

As Lake Oswego residents we live in a city that is celebrating its 29th year as a Tree City USA honoree and its designation as the Oregon Tree City of the year. And we are only 12 miles away from Portland which was voted by the American Forests organization as one of the 10 best cities for urban forest in the United States. So you would think that to view fall colors we wouldn’t have to travel very far, right?

Right. While hiking the Deschutes River Trail or visiting Lithia Park in Ashland will also help you get your fall color fix, you can also stay close to home for a DIY fall foliage tour. Although we are officially into fall, you’ll want to wait a couple weeks before you go leaf peeping to give those cold nights a chance to work their magic.

  1. Bike tour of Heritage Trees of Lake Oswego. Download this map of a 14 mile loop through Lake Oswego neighborhoods where many of the city’s heritage trees stand in all their majestic splendor. Most of the 37 listed trees are evergreens; however, you won’t want to miss the show-stopping sugar maple on the corner of 3rd and C. Other ones to check out include the scarlet oak at 15100 Boones Ferry Road and the Pacific dogwood in the Oswego Pioneer Cemetery. Along the way you’ll catch some other beauties as well.
  2. Kruse Way. If you need a daily dose of fall color pick-me-up, just turn down Kruse Way off Boones Ferry Road and applaud the starring lineup of maples that will drench you in shades of orange, red and yellow. Or catch the dazzling row on Jean Road between Pilkington and Bryant. Stop in at Happy Sparrow Cafe and try out a kolache.
  3. Reed College and surrounding neighborhood. You’ll find 11 different varieties of maples on the Reed College campus bursting in shades of yellow, gold and copper. Look for Japanese maples throughout as well. Then stroll down some of the neighborhood streets. The tree canopy here is extensive with neighbors getting their cardio workouts just by raking up their leaves in preparation for their scheduled Leaf Removal Day.
  4. South Park Blocks. According to a Portland State University study, the trees that stretch along the 12 blocks from SW Salmon to Jackson are worth $3.4 million. The arching canopy includes oaks, maples, ash, lindens and elms so you’ll be awash in color.
  5. Hoyt Arboretum. Called Portland’s “museum of living trees” you’ll find 12 miles of trails to wander in. If you’re on the hunt for fall colors, your best bet is the Wildwood Trail bursting with shades of scarlet, maroon and plum or the one mile Maple Trail where you’ll find vine, red and sugar maple trees. 4000 SW Fairview Blvd., 503.865.8733.
  6. Portland Japanese Garden. There are special hours on October 22 for Photography Members to capture the fall foliage here so it must be Instagram-worthy. You don’t have to wait until then. There is an admission charge that gives you access to the gardens, Cultural Village, Art in the Garden and the Umani Café.
  7. Lone Fir Cemetery. With more than 700 trees, Portland’s oldest cemetery is also its second largest arboretum that really puts on a show in the fall. Combine a little history with your leaf peeping as you locate the plots of some of the area’s founders with the names of Lovejoy and Hawthorne. Downloadable cemetery and tree tour maps will help. Southeast 26th and Washington Streets.

I’ll devote a future blog post to fall foliage worth day tripping for but if you’re hot to trot, consider the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop, Silver Falls State Park, or the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle (They’re hosting a free family weekend educational walk on October 13 and 27 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. First 30 people to show up get a spot!)

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10 Lake Oswego Things I’m Most Grateful For

In the spirit of World Gratitude Day this Thursday, I’m listing 10 things about living in Lake Oswego that I’m grateful for. The title of my blog is 52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego so of course there are many more than 10 as I have been writing this blog for over seven years, but right now these are my top 10.

1. LAKE GROVE SWIM PARK. This place gave my children so many wonderful childhood memories of afternoons spent swimming in the lake, hanging out with cool lifeguards, buying guilty pleasures at the concession stand and making new friends. I think it was one of the biggest shapers of who they are and what they love. And I’m not alone. My blog posts on the Lake Grove Swim Park are some of the most highly viewed of all my posts.

2. LEADERSHIP LAKE OSWEGO. I was in the inaugural class of this program and it was a wonderful way for me to put my roots down in this place I call home and to get to know some of the integral people here as well as its history and hopes for the future. It was a great launch pad for me both personally and professionally and I recommend it to anyone wanting to get invested in this community.

3. THE LAKE. When my wife and I set out from California in a 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van over 30 years ago we were in search of a new place on a lake to call home. My brother-in-law told us about Lake Oswego and when we drove through we couldn’t believe that people actually got to call a place as beautiful as this home. We now live on one of the canals and swim in the lake just about every day in the summer. It’s our happy place and we don’t have to go on vacation to enjoy it!

4. THE LAKE OSWEGO LIBRARY. From the James Patterson murder mystery books that I continue to download on to my Kindle to the incredible Lake Oswego Reads program that the library sponsors each year I can honestly say that the library enriches my life as well as the lives of so many other Lake Oswegans on a daily basis. In addition they have agreed to carry my daughter’s recently released book, Waiting at Hayden’s, so be sure to ask for it the next time you’re in. (It’s popular–you’ll have to put it on hold :-))

5. THE LAKE OSWEGO VILLAGE BASKETS. The colorful baskets that line our streets are a visual reminder that “it takes a village.” Sponsored by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, those baskets are funded by donations and hung by volunteers every year. I’m happy to say I’ve been involved with the program since its inception in one way or another and appreciate not just the aesthetic value it adds to our streets but also the message the baskets convey about the pride that the people who live here take in their city.

6. SUMMER NIGHTS. The other night my wife and I and a couple of friends headed back home on our boat from an event at the Lakewood Center. It was about 9:00 p.m. and a comfortable 78° under a half-moon lit sky. It doesn’t get much better than that! We take in the abundance of summer nights every evening out on our patio where we read, happy hour and dine until 9-10 o’clock at night, all without need for bug spray. Where else in the country can you do that!?

7. FOURTH OF JULY TRADITIONS. My Fourth of July posts are my most popular, garnering upwards of 700 views a day when the festivities hit. And that’s because there is so much going on in our small town to celebrate the occasion. It’s enough to make it a standing engagement for my 30-year-old San Francisco Bay Area son and 15-20 of his friends to descend on our town and do it up big in a small town way!

8. LAKE OSWEGO SCHOOL DISTRICT. The Lake Oswego School District has done it again—just been named the best school district in Oregon by Niche, an organization that rates schools based on data from the U.S. Department of Education that includes test scores, safety, and surveys from students, parents, and community members. Here’s what one had to say: “Lake Oswego brings on a rigorous curriculum for its students. The experience of being at this school is an unforgettable one between the amazing teachers, competitive athletics, outstanding theater productions, and much more.” My kids have benefited personally from the schools’ excellence and I have professionally as our school district’s reputation is one of the biggest reasons people move to Lake Oswego. Read one of my previous posts for more insight.

9. OPPORTUNITY TO GET INVOLVED. Lake Oswego is a manageable city. It’s close enough to Portland to get a bigger city jolt but small enough to feel like you can make a difference. I’ve been involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Lake Oswego Rotary, as well as school parent clubs and neighborhood associations. My wife and I spearheaded a successful campaign to bring back the fireworks on the lake after they were stopped one year. My kids had tremendous opportunities to be involved in sports and extra-curricular activities while in school because of the size of the schools and the resources available. Once you move to Lake Oswego, you can get your feet wet right away because other involved citizens are ready to welcome you and harness your energy and enthusiasm.

10. DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT. When my wife and I first moved to Lake Oswego over 30 years ago, there wasn’t a “there” here. Now, thanks to the vision of city and civic leaders there is. Millennium Plaza Park has become our outdoor living room and a place for the community to gather whether it’s for the Farmers’ Market or the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. No longer is that space dominated by apartments that benefited only a few but has been opened up for all of us to enjoy. With that base has come more commerce and reason to be downtown (Salt & Straw anyone?) The area continues to be up for discussion which means Lake Oswego continues to grow and not remain static. Keeps things interesting and thriving!

What are you most grateful for? Feel free to chime in.

And if you’d like to move to Lake Oswego, or move around within Lake Oswego, give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website. I’d love to help!

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7 Fall Activities to Look Forward to When You Live in Lake Oswego

Fall fun can be as simple as jumping in a pile of leaves like my kids used to do.

One of the pluses of living in Lake Oswego is enjoying the seasons and with fall just around the calendar, I’ve put together a lineup of some nearby fall-worthy events you might want to put on your calendar.

September 1-October. The Portland Maize on Sauvie Island. Follow two miles of twists and turns (and dead ends) over eight acres of corn fields while you try to find your way out of this popular maize. While no maps are provided, trivia cards are provided to help you maneuver your way around. The estimated time to finish is between 30-40 minutes—see where you fall in that average range. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily through September. 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through October. Cost: $6/adults 13+; $4.99/youth 6-12; $4.99/seniors. 16511 NW Gillihan Road, Portland on Sauvie Island. 503.621.7110.

September 13-16 (Mt. Angel Oktoberfest) September 21-23 (Oaks Park Oktoberfest). These are two of the bigger Oktoberfest celebrations held in the area. Both feature oompah bands, Bavarian dancing, wiener dog races and of course, the biergartens. Check their websites for fees and hours.  (Mt. Angel)  (Oaks Park).

October 6. Lake Oswego Wine Walk. This popular annual event lets you see art, hear music and taste wine while visiting local merchants in Lake Oswego. Read my previous posts for more information. Hours: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Cost: $40/person. Check-in at the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce to receive your wine glass and yoke at 459 Third Street. 503.636.3634.

October 12-14. Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. Celebrate the region’s bounty by loading up on Hood River favorites like pears and apples and sampling local beer, wine and cider. With over 120 vendors to choose from, you’ll find lots to bring home, including some holiday gifts thanks to local artisans. Kids will find lots to entertain them in the kids’ activity area and if you’re 15 or older you can enter the pie-eating contest on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Hours: Friday 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Cost: $6/adults; $3/seniors on Friday, $5/seniors Saturday and Sunday; Kids 12 and under free. Hood River Event site just north of Exit 63 off Interstate 84. 541.386.2000.

October 12-14 and 19-21. Portland Nursery Apple Tasting. Stay close to home and sample close to 60 different varieties of apples and pears. Other traditional fall activities round out the occasion including a fresh-pressed cider demonstration and tasting, live music, scarecrow contest, apple strudel, live music and kids’ activities. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 5050 SE Stark. 503.231.5050.

October 13. Horse Drawn Wagon Rides at Last Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market. It’s bittersweet saying goodbye to Lake Oswego’s Farmers’ Market but a good old-fashioned hayride could soften the blow. Reservations are required for the rides on the hour; first come first served seats are available for rides on the half hour. 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (last ride at 12:30). Cost: $8/aduls; $5/youth 0-12. Millennium Plaza Park, 200 1st Street, 503.675.2549.

October 20. West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. Enjoy all things pumpkin including wacky races by costumed characters paddling 1,000 pound pumpkins across the Tualatin Lake of the Commons. Other festivities include a pumpkin weigh-off, pie-eating contest, kids’ costume contest, pumpkin golf and bowling and clown show. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:000 p.m. Free. 8325 SW Nyberg Road, Tualatin. 503.691.3076.

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5 Titles to Celebrate National Read a Book Day With

In honor of National Read a Book Day, here are five ways you can celebrate.

  1. Waiting at Hayden’s by Riley Costello. I’ll start off by recommending my daughter’s book—a novel set in Portland that deals with the complicated nature of timing in modern-day relationships. Get to know Charli and Jack, a couple who meet and fall in love before they are ready to settle down, and Gianna, a thirtysomething restaurant owner who is ready to settle down but hasn’t met the love of her life. The choices they make will keep you turning the pages. And while you do, you can shop-the-book as Riley has created a new reading experience format called shopfiction that allows you to watch scenes unfold and shop the characters’ clothes. Here’s how it works. And the book trailer. Waiting at Hayden’s is available on Amazon. (If you read it, please leave a review on Amazon. Thanks!)
  2. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. The author is famous for writing about odd characters that you come to love like Ove (A Man Called Ove) and Britt Marie (Britt Marie Was Here). Last year he wrote about an odd town—Beartown—a small isolated town that rests its hopes for redemption on its ice hockey team until a scandal threatens to tear it apart. This year he brings us back to Beartown and the aftermath of that scandal as the town tries to redraw its dividing lines and in the process finds many of those lines blurred. Both are great reads.
  3. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. My wife insisted this show up on the list as it’s on her top five of all time. It tells the story of an architect who finds himself getting increasingly involved in efforts to design clever hiding places for Jews in Paris during World War II.
  4. The Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson. I know Patterson is getting all the press right now for his co-authored book with Bill Clinton, The President is Missing, but I’ve been working my way through his Women’s Murder Club series and am hooked. The stories revolve around four women: a police officer, reporter, medical examiner and defense attorney who all bring their expertise to solving crimes. If you like knowing there’s more where that came from when you like an author, then this is a good fit as there are 17 books in the series.
  5. Willamette Valley Wineries by Barbara Smith Randall. Lake Oswego Review reporter and resident has done the homework for us, tracing the 50 year history of our award winning Willamette Valley Wine region. What happened that a land that as she describes was considered “too cold and wet to grow great grapes” was named Wine Region of the Year in 2016 by Wine Enthusiast? Satisfy your curiosity by reading her book.

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Labor Day Picnic Spots in Lake Oswego

Labor Day means picnics and barbecues. If you’re looking for a place to set out your spread, Lake Oswego has many parks with picnic tables and even picnic shelters that can be rented out for larger groups.

The following parks offer picnic tables in addition to other amenities.

  • George Rogers Park, 611 S. State Street. Amenities include two baseball/softball fields, soccer field, restrooms, playground, two outdoor tennis courts, and access to the Willamette River spread out over 26 acres.
  • Freepons Park, corner of Hemlock and Bickner Streets. Amenities include pathways, wooded areas, playground equipment, open play area and wildlife viewing on 5.9 acres.
  • Millennium Plaza Park, 1st and Evergreen. This is the city’s urban park with a paved plaza, lake views, reflecting pond, restrooms and close access to downtown restaurants if you want to pick up some additions for your picnic (or finish things off with ice cream at Salt & Straw or Lake Oswego Ice Creamery).
  • Roehr Park, 350 Oswego Pointe Drive. Amenities include wildlife viewing, river boat access dock, trails and paths and water access for hand carry boats. Rossman Park, 555 Fourth Street
  • Pilkington Park, 19043 Pilkington Road. This 3.7 acre neighborhood park offers drop-in play fields, playground area and off-leash area for dogs.
  • Rossman Park, 555 Fourth Street. Small neighborhood park with half court basketball, tot lot play area, open lawn.
  • Waluga Park East, 15505 Quarry Road. Room to explore with 53 acres of active and natural passive areas. Amenities include two lighted baseball fields and a playground area as well as three barbecues and restrooms.
  • West Waluga Park, 15775 Waluga Drive. This neighboring park includes nature trails, open play area, restrooms, youth and tot playground and the adult fitness equipment area called FIT SPOT. There is also a fenced-in dog park located at the back of the park.
  • Westlake Park, 14165 Bunick Drive. Release your inner athlete on one of the three lighted baseball/softball fields, two lighted soccer fields, lighted tennis courts or full court basketball court. Also offers a covered playground and restrooms.

You can reserve picnic shelters online at these locations. The fee is $60 for a three hour rental block: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can reserve a maximum of two contiguous time blocks at $60 each. There is a refundable deposit of $25 for up to 50 people or $75 for 50-75.

  • George Rogers Park – Upper shelter (maximum 50 people)
  • George Rogers Park – Lower shelter (maximum 75 people)
  • Rossman Park – maximum 25 people
  • Waluga Park – East shelter (maximum 75 people)
  • Waluga Park – West shelter (maximum 50 people)
  • Westlake Park – maximum 50 people

And now for a Labor Day barbecue recipe.



7 pounds St. Louis style ribs

Salt and pepper

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Wrap each rack tightly in foil, enclosing completely. Bake on rimmed baking sheets at 325° for two hours. Cool slightly in foil. Drain fat. Can be prepared a day or two ahead of time.

When ready to barbecue, cut each rack between bones. Place on grill and brush with sauce. Grill ribs until brown, about 5 minutes total. (Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, July 2002).


¼ cup butter

1medium onion, diced

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup water

¼ cup honey

2 TB lemon juice

1 TB Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp ground pepper.

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat; add onion, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Stir in ketchup and remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 5 minutes. Let cool, then whirl in blender until smooth. Can keep for up to 1 week. (Recipe adapted from Southern Living).

I’ve also got a great recipe for how to buy or sell your home. Give me a call at 503.939.9801 and/or check out my website and let’s talk.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Lake Oswego’s Gallery Without Walls But Didn’t Know Who to Ask

One of my favorite things to boast about when it comes to Lake Oswego is its Gallery Without Walls, the award winning program of outdoor sculptures that rotates its collection every year. This year’s Unveil Your Art Celebration, when new art pieces will be revealed, is this Saturday, August 25 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in a new location at Sundeleaf Plaza, 120 S. State Street.

Out with the old…in with the new. How does it all happen? I asked Robin Krakauer with the Arts Council of Lake Oswego to reveal some of what goes on behind the scenes to bring about this lineup change every year.

This is one of the new sponsored pieces in this year’s Gallery Without Walls lineup. It’s a cast glass and stainless steel piece by Sharon Warman Agnor titled “Living Water 2” and will be installed at 1st and A Avenue.

QUESTION: How do you decide on the new pieces to add to the rotation each year?
ANSWER: Each fall we do an open call that goes out internationally and invites artists to apply. We also put the information on our website and in our email newsletters. The call is open for approximately two months and once applications come in and the call is closed a Gallery Without Walls committee meets to determine which pieces will be included. Decisions are based upon aesthetics, materials, size, weight, etc. Each year we receive upward of 75 applications from artists all over the country and abroad. Once they are determined we are in need of sponsors for the two-year on loan period.

QUESTION: How many volunteers/staff does it take to install the new pieces?
ANSWER: On average, we have a team of 5 to 10 people per sculpture, along with a variety of equipment needed to install. Some sculptures require cranes, and heavier equipment, while others are more turn-key and can be hand-lifted on to each pad.
In addition, the install includes staff, volunteers, board members, and contractors.

QUESTION: How do you determine the location of the pieces?
ANSWER: Most times we look for the correct size pad to accommodate the sculpture, as well as the surrounding aesthetics. We also take into consideration the past sponsors and their business should they like to continue sponsorship of that space.

Angkor1 by Lee Kelly is one of the collection’s most talked about pieces. You can find it at Millennium Plaza Park.

QUESTION: What piece(s) do you get the most comments on?
ANSWER: Angkor 1 by artist, Lee Kelly. This piece is located in Millennium Plaza Park. It is made out of Stainless Steel and was acquired with the assistance of numerous community supporters, along with the Ford Family Foundation through a special grant managed by the Oregon Arts Commission.

QUESTION: Have other cities approached you to model their program after ours?
ANSWER: Yes, Florence, Oregon, Happy Valley, Oregon, plus many other cities throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. It is a hot topic now in City planning so we do get numerous calls throughout the year. Since our program has been nationally recognized some cities do use it as a bench mark. We contract with the City of Lake Oswego to run and manage the public art program and the City’s permanent collection.

QUESTION: How many pieces each year end up being bought by someone other than the city?
ANSWER: A handful are bought and acquired through Neighborhood grant programs, personal acquisition, and businesses. We are continuing the awareness of this program to let people know that after the sculptures are on loan for two years, they are available for purchase. Prices range anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000.

The schedule for this year’s celebration is:
4:00 to 5:30 p.m. – Drawing Rally
5:30 to 6:00 p.m. – Artist Talk
6:00 p.m. – Program
6:30 p.m. – Tours Begin
6:45 p.m. – Second Tours Begin
7:00 p.m. – Event Concludes

New food vendors include Canby Asparagus Farm offering an array of Mexican favorites including tamales, quesadillas, burritos, bacon wrapped asparagus, along with beer, margaritas, soda, and water; and Stellar Pops an artisanal ice pop company that makes their frozen treats from fresh, locally sourced and/or organic ingredients.

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Test Your Car and Boat IQ Before This Week’s Show in Lake Oswego

The Oswego Heritage Council is hosting their 19th Annual Collector Car and Classic Boat Show this weekend, August 18-19. Thousands are expected to turn out for this showcase of cars and boats that make us reminisce and appreciate fine craftsmanship.

Here are some details to help you enjoy the show.

●The arrival of the world’s only operating PT boat at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday kicks things off at Foothills Park offering visitors on-board tours throughout the day as well as Sunday. Other unique land and sea classics will also be on display.

●Returning this year is a Poker Run Car Tour to benefit the scholarships in the Dr. Quinton-Cox Memorial and the Oswego Heritage Council Museum. The tour will take participants to five historic locations beginning at Foothills Park at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 18. For a $5 donation, participants will receive two playing cards which they can then add to at $1 per card along the way. By the tour’s end, the players holding the three best poker hands will prize baskets.

●Lions Club pancake breakfast will be kicking things off on Sunday, August 27 at 7:30 a.m. at George Rogers Park followed up with lunch beginning at 11:00 a.m.

●Collector cars will start lining up in George Rogers Park on Sunday morning and be on display from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This year’s headliner car is the Land Rover so be on the lookout for a good representation of them.

●Nearly 40 classic boats will be docked at Sundeleaf Plaza for close-up viewing offering examples of rare as well as wooden masterpieces. They all come with a story which owners are more than happy to share.

●Free shuttles will be running to transport visitors to the three different locations.

●Test your car and boat IQ by taking the quiz below I’ve put together.

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