Messages from City Leaders

Denouncing Racism and Supporting Inclusion

A Message from the City Council

In light of recent acts of racism and vandalism in our community, the Lake Oswego City Council is issuing the following statement:

“The Lake Oswego City Council and City staff are committed to creating a culture in Lake Oswego that is inclusive and fosters a feeling of belonging. We denounce racism and discrimination in all forms. We encourage people to be respectful, collaborative, and communicate with each other about ways to eliminate racist language and treatment in Lake Oswego. The City Council reaffirms its commitment to valuing diversity, equity and inclusion by providing stability, opportunity, safety and justice for everyone living, working, and visiting the City.”

Sincerely,

Lake Oswego City Council, September 17, 2020

The City Council thanks the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force for their work and for collaborating with the Council to achieve our vision of a welcoming community.

Response to Anonymous Neighbor Letter

A Message from the Mayor

"I am writing to our Lake Oswego residents to apologize for not being more careful in how I answered questions during an interview I had with KOIN TV. The way I responded when asked about Black Lives Matter was that all lives matter and that I was sorry to see racism used as an excuse for looting. I should have said that black lives are being lost much more frequently than others so we have to do what we can to change that.  In other words, because I believe all people matter, we have to care about black and brown people.

For more than a year we have been actively working to make our community a welcoming place rich in diversity, equity and inclusion.  We have formed a task force to devise ways to increase participation in government and in our boards and commissions, and we have taken measures to accomplish that.  We are also examining the activities of our police force to ensure they operate in accordance with these ideas.  I have every confidence that our police are performing their duties with an open mind, but it is important that we verify that.

Again, I apologize for my poor choice of words because I do not want to detract from this community’s efforts or from the wonderful character of our citizenry."

~ Mayor Kent Studebaker, August 25, 2020

A Message from City Council

“As many of you might have seen on the news or social media, a Lake Oswego family recently received an anonymous letter requesting the removal of Black Lives Matter signs from their home.

We want to reiterate our City Council’s commitment to making Lake Oswego a welcoming and inclusive community for everyone.

We are asking the people of Lake Oswego to stand with us, your City Council, in building a community where all people belong and are heard. A community where neighbors can have a difference of opinions or backgrounds, but with a mutual respect and uplifting one another in the process. We must all be able to listen to other voices and create open dialog to learn from one another. The more we understand one another, the better we can strengthen our empathy and compassion.

To further the City’s commitment, we have been actively partnering with community organizations to address systemic racism and racial inequality within Lake Oswego. This includes our coordination with the City of Lake Oswego Diversity Equity & Inclusion (“DEI”) Task Force. Currently, this task force is working with a number of community stakeholders to organize focus groups to help the City identify barriers that exist within our community and civic practices. The focus groups will serve as a starting point to gather initial data and feedback about DEI-related obstacles, observations, and experiences in our city.

Additionally, in conjunction with these focus groups, we will be launching a community survey. These efforts will provide us valuable data and insightful recommendations to help us shift existing practices and remove barriers to inclusion. 

Lastly, the City Council will be launching a community discussion on policing in the coming months. A facilitator will help create a community dialog about their expectations about public safety and the Lake Oswego Police Department. This effort will also result in a collection of data and community-based recommendations.

Through this work, we, as your elected officials, will listen and learn.

We urge all of our community to join us in this journey.

We are committed to making an even stronger, more compassionate, and inclusive Lake Oswego. We appreciate your help and commitment in aiding in this endeavor. Please continue to stay engaged and work with us to make Lake Oswego a welcoming community for all."

Mayor Kent Studebaker
Council President Jackie Manz
Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff
Councilor John LaMotte
Councilor Daniel Nguyen
Councilor Skip O’Neill
Councilor John Wendland

August 6, 2020

A Message from City Manager Martha Bennett

“This morning, we learned that a Lake Oswego family recently received an anonymous letter requesting the removal of Black Lives Matter signs from their home.  We stand in solidarity with this family.

The City of Lake Oswego is committed to making Lake Oswego a welcoming community for everyone.  We envision a place where every person feels safe and supported by each other. We respect our residents’ First Amendment rights for free expression, and we believe in constructive dialog that allows people to discuss their differences of opinion face-to-face.

As a City, we value our BIPOC community members, and we stand for anti-racism.  Everyone should be able to thrive in Lake Oswego without worrying about how the color of their skin affects their opportunities.  No one should have to live with suspicion and fear of one’s neighbors.

We are committed to making Lake Oswego a community for all and we need the help of every person.  Please join us in stamping out racism, intolerance, and fear in Lake Oswego.”

~ Martha Bennett, Lake Oswego City Manager, August 4, 2020

Death of George Floyd

Following the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody on May 25, 2020, many people throughout the world spoke out against the racial injustices and prejudicial institutions that exist in our daily lives. The following are a few messages from City leaders addressing racism:

A Message from Mayor Kent Studebaker

“Sadly, it seems that we are far from the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr -- that people be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. I am asking the people of Lake Oswego to stand with us, your City Council, in building a community where all people belong. This is the moment for all of us to recommit to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

~ Kent Studebaker, Lake Oswego Mayor, June 2, 2020

To listen to the full message: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAcIM15507g

A Message from City Manager Martha Bennett

“Here in the City of Lake Oswego, we aspire to be an organization where every person feels safe, welcomed, supported, and included. Historically, our country, state, and local community have made it harder for people of color to succeed. We are working to take those barriers down because we believe that our community is stronger when every person has access to opportunity. We believe that everyone should be able to go to work, enjoy bird watching, or go jogging without thinking about how the color of their skin affects the outcome. Creating a welcoming and inclusive community takes effort and purpose. This work is the responsibility of every one of us - every employee in every department, not just law enforcement. Please commit to helping the City of Lake Oswego, the State of Oregon, and the United States of America create a future where we can all live as if the values embodied in the Declaration of Independence – that all of us are created equal – are real and true.”

~ Martha Bennett, Lake Oswego City Manager, June 3, 2020

A Message from Police Chief Dale Jorgensen

“The actions and tactics demonstrated by the officers responsible for the death of George Floyd were wrong. Those actions do not reflect the training or values of our Police Department and I am saddened by the unnecessary loss of life. I stand by the statement made by the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police condemning these actions. We have been working hard to ensure our department helps create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive community for residents and visitors alike.”

~ Dale Jorgensen, Lake Oswego Police Chief, June 3, 2020

Word is Bond Statement May 29, 2020 and LOPD Statement May 30, 2020 

OACP Statement May 28, 2020 and LOPD Statement June 3, 2020

LOPD Use of Force Policy. Read more about LOPD's use of force policy and procedures as they relate to the "#8CantWait" initiative.

 

Coronavirus 2020

Inclusiveness and Racism Message

Coronavirus does not discriminate and can infect anyone. A person’s ethnicity, language, or association with a country or region is not a risk factor for this virus. It affects every one of us – every race and ethnicity.

Sadly, local incidents of bias, stigma, and hatred against people of color have increased in conjunction with rising COVID-19 concerns. We are committed to supporting our communities of color during this crisis. We urge everyone to stand firm against hate and bigotry by following the Oregon Health Authority’s guidance to Spread Facts, Not Fear about COVID-19. 

Please be kind to each other, help create a welcoming and inclusive community, and treat everyone with respect. 

We are all in this together.

Oregon Health Authority - Spread Facts, Not Fear March 20, 2020