Stewards of Oswego Lake since 1942
For more than 80 years, we – the Lake Oswego Corporation – have been stewarding, improving and preserving the scenic beauty of the 415 acres of Oswego Lake, Lakewood Bay and lakefront properties. Development and maintenance of the lake, bays and waterways have been privately funded for more than a century.
Our shareholders and easement members, numbering more than 4,000 local households, entrust us to manage the waterways and surrounding land to promote habitat protection, water quality and watercraft and swimmer safety. We underwrite the resources needed to manage the lake’s infrastructure needs, including water flows and testing, flood control, dredging, hydroelectric power generation, dock and access maintenance, and dam safety coordination.
Although the Lake is best known for its scenic beauty and the recreation opportunities that it provides, a significant responsibility of LOC is to preserve the lake and waterways as a source of hydroelectric power.
In 1850, what is now incorporated as the City of Lake Oswego was founded and a dam and sawmill were erected by Albert Duram. The water flowing from the dammed-up lake established the power generation for the mill. Soon, the city became Oregon’s first iron town, considered the state’s first large manufacturing enterprise. Although it had been raised by the dam, the lake – originally called Sucker Lake – was still only about 225 acres.
From 1867 to 1882, the Oregon Iron & Steel Company built the first charcoal iron smelter on the Pacific Coast and then constructed two iron furnaces. In years following, the company focused on pipe casting, and a canal was constructed to bring in water from the Tualatin River. A flume line was also constructed below the dam to power the newly installed hydroelectric plant, which was completed in 1908. The casting plant closed in 1894, and the company continued operations as a pipe foundry until 1928. During this period, the area was marketed for commercial and residential development.
Lakewood Bay, to the east of Oswego Lake, was excavated out of a seasonal wetland between Oswego Lake and the Willamette River. It was maintained separately and known as the “Duck Pond” before a ridge of basalt was blasted to create a canal between the two water bodies.
The expanded Oswego Lake began as a reservoir serving the early mills. Over the years, additional dams were built, eventually raising the water level 24 feet above that of Sucker Lake and more than doubling the size of what was now a power generation reservoir. Today, the bodies of water and several tributaries of the former Sucker Lake encompass the whole of what is called Oswego Lake and Lakewood Bay.
The Lake Oswego Corporation (LOC) was formed in 1942 when the Oregon Iron and Steel Company deeded to LOC the bed of the Lake, the rim property (including related property rights), and certain other parcels in the area. As a condition of the property transfer, LOC must preserve the waterways and surrounding properties.
Substantial costs are required to provide safety patrols, manage water quality, remove silt from the lakebed, maintain the dams and other infrastructure, and purchase and maintain equipment for the operation of the Lake. These activities are funded by annual assessments and license fees, which are paid solely by residents with deeded access to the Lake.
The LOC employs an operations team to maintain and operate lake infrastructure, including three dams and a power generation facility, a dedicated safety patrol staff, water quality staff, and marina staff to operate the boat ramp and marina.
As part of this growing community, we work diligently in our mission to maintain, preserve and improve Oswego Lake and Lakewood Bay on behalf of this community and City of Lake Oswego, Oregon.
“I feel strongly that Oswego Lake is our city’s crown jewel, and that it’s critical for it to remain as one of our most important natural resources.”
“It has been a privilege to live on Oswego Lake for over 30 years and I take the board’s mission to preserve and protect the lake very seriously.”
“I am continually learning just how much work (a lot!) is involved in keeping the lake in the condition we expect and so easily take for granted.”
“I am deeply engaged and supportive of the excellent water quality and maintenance operations and look to future lake projects to support healthy life on the lake.”
“I am an ardent advocate of Oswego Lake. While I am proud to represent all neighbors of the lake, my priority is the lake itself and the commitment and work it takes to keep this community treasure healthy.”
“As a board member, I will continue to work diligently with the Lake Corp.’s capable staff to maintain and improve our lake in order to protect its value and quality now and into the future.”
“We are fortunate to call this our home for two decades and I want to continue to help this outstanding organization to make the most out of all of the wonderful opportunities in
“With my wealth of experience, exceptional leadership skills, and passion for excellence, I strive to ensure smooth and excellent service for shareholders, easement members and the public.”