Editor’s note: The City of Lake Oswego has explained the next steps after Tuesday’s ruling by a Clackamas County judge.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Clackamas County court gave swimmers and water enthusiasts a great gift headed into summer by ruling Oswego Lake, along with its surrounding water, a public lake on Tuesday.
According to court documents, the Clackamas County court sided with the Oregon Supreme Court opinion that the public has the same right to the lake — which is an artificially contained body of water — as it does to water in its natural condition.
The public had been prohibited from entering Oswego Lake or launching boats from city-owned waterfront parks since a Lake Oswego ordinance was introduced in 2012.
Plaintiffs Mark Kramer and Todd Prager argued that under Oregon’s statutory declaration the public had a right to the lake. The 1921 declaration holds that all winding lakes are “navigable and public waters.”
Along with this, Prager and Kramer said the Oregon Marine Board’s rules confirmed the lake was used for navigational purposes, even with its expansion. According to these rules, Lakewood Bay is also considered to be part of Oswego Lake.
In its ruling, the court agreed, stating: “Oswego Lake’s partial title-navigability, the public trust status of is waters, and the specific circumstances here create a public right of access to the lake from the City’s public waterfront parks.”