Bridgeport Village

OK, technically Bridgeport Village is not in Lake Oswego. It is just across the city boundary line in Tigard. But it is one of the great features of living in Lake Oswego. Built in 2006, Bridgeport Village is a lifestyle mall. It is designed to be walked in and enjoyed like a small town. There is plentiful artwork, light displays at night, and a playground in the center.

You will love shopping at Bridgeport Village. There are 24 shops that sell women’s apparel and 13 that sell mens. Some of my favorites include Anthropology, Chico’s, and Coldwater Creek. There are 13 stores that sell home furnishings including Crate and Barrel’s first store in Oregon.

For entertainment there is the Regal Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium which has 18 screens plus IMAX. In addition there are 11 restaurants and 4 cafes, making dinner and a movie both convenient and fun. Some of the better known restaurants are California Pizza Kitchen, McCormick and Schmicks Grill, PF Changs, Pastini Pastaria, and Sinju.

The shopping and dining experience at Bridgeport Village is a treat to be enjoyed. From the fresh Italian Gilati on a hot summer’s day to the snow fall that is guaranteed to be happening at Christmas. And it is so close to Lake Oswego that, well, it had might as well be in Lake Oswego.

Ride, Run, Walk Around the Lake

Absolutely one of the best features of living in Lake Oswego is the ability to enjoy the lake. And one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is by riding a bike, or taking a walk or a jog around it. The first time I ran the lake was in 1980. I have done it many, many times since then. Although I have to admit that these days instead of running it, I bike or walk it. It’s just about 8 miles all the way around. Biking it, the challenge is to do it in one hour’s time. I know that does not seem very fast, but there are two substantial hills in the ride and if you can do it in an hour, you are kicking some serious #*%*. Walking it takes about 2.5 hours, and running it, back in my hey day, took just over an hour.

The route around the lake is not an obvious course. You need to have someone who has done it before show it to you. I suppose you could just journey out and figure it out, but there are a couple of spots where taking the right turn will not only make the route more enjoyable, but it will also make it more safe.

I am going to outline the basic route. **UPDATED: MAP AT BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE**

I will try to keep the directions easy to follow. I do the route in a clockwise circle. You can reverse it if you like, but I do it clockwise because with this route you warm up properly for the hills and then also cool down before you finish.

Start at the Lake Grove Swim Park, which is just North of the intersection of Southshore Blvd and Lakeview Blvd, along Lakeview Blvd. Proceed North on Lakeview. I suppose it is actually slightly Northeast, but for the sake of keeping it simple, head North along the shoulder of the road. There is a nice wide bike path and you’ll be enjoying the view of the lake and the stately mansions. You will go about half a mile before you come to the first right hand turn.

This is Summit. Yes, it’s called Summit because it’s a big hill. Summit will take you on a slightly winding route up to the top and then back down again. These are some of the best views of the lake because you are up so high and you really get to see the width and breadth of the water.

After you come down the hill, Summit will dead-end at Iron Mountain Blvd. Turn right which will have you heading East. This is a long, flat stretch of road through a heavily treed area with views of the Lilly Pond. Most of the length of this section does not have houses on it. As you come back into the housing area, in fact almost immediately as soon as the driving speed goes from 40 MPH to 25MPH, you want to watch for a sharp right turn just on the edge of the lower parking lot for Lake Oswego Country Club. This little street is called Milligan Lane. It is only a couple of hundred of feet long, and I don’t think it is well marked. So be watching and don’t miss it. If you miss it, you’ll add about a mile and a good deal of time lost in the surrounding neighborhoods trying to get back on course.

Milligan Lane will take you over a set of train tracks and drop you right on to Northshore Road. Turn left so that you are continuing to head East. This is just a spectacular stretch of scenery. You will be right down at the level of the lake meandering by fabulous homes and across quaint bridges with views of the lake and of Lakewood Bay. The road takes a couple of twists and turns, just follow the signs that identify Northshore. One of the homes you will pass, it will be on your right just before the humongous rock formation, is the house that was briefly occupied by Loren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, or so local legend has it.

After you cross the bridge with the view to the left of Lakewood Bay you will come to a 3-way stop, turn left. Go about a block and take the first right. This is is Fairmont. You are only going to go about 100 feet before you turn left onto Middlecrest. Middlecrest is not a through street. It has a barrier erected to keep out auto traffic, but there is a pass through for bikes and pedestrians. Stay on Middlecrest a couple of blocks to the traffic light at State Street.

Turn right on State Street and go a long block to the bottom of the hill where there is another traffic light at McVey Avenue. Turn right and head up McVey. This is the big hill in this route. Pace yourself because when you think you’ve gotten to the top, you have not. You could stay on it up to the traffic light at Southshore, but I have found another route that I like that is more scenic and just more interesting.

Before you get to the traffic light at McVey there is a right hand turn at Oak. Take this right and follow the route as it levels out and gives you a bit of a breather before the climb starts again. You’ll cross a little bridge in an area that feels like a grotto. It is cool and moist and very refreshing on a hot day. Just after the little bridge you’ll turn right onto Palisades Terrace. This is another beautiful neighborhood where the houses will completely distract you from your saddle sores or your tired feet. You are now about 5 miles into the route with just a couple more to go. The uphill climb starts again while you are on Palisades Terrace. You’ll know you’re there, believe me. Palisades Terrace dead ends at Southshore Blvd.

Turn right at Southshore so that you are heading West. You’ll continue to climb for about half a mile. At the top, not only is there a bench where you can sit and look out at the lake, but there is also a drinking fountain. Yahoo! Continue down Southshore as you descend the hill and begin to cross the canals. Southshore will end at Lakeview Blvd, where when you turn right you will find yourself back at the beginning where you started.

Once upon a time this was a pretty treacherous route because you shared the road with cars. Today, pretty much the whole way is either on quiet neighborhood streets or has nice bike paths to separate you from the cars.

What I like about it is that it has a variety of terrain. There are a couple of hills to challenge, but not beat you up too badly, and there are so many great views of homes and the lake.

I do have a slight modification I do for the bike ride at the bottom of McVey that will put you onto a more gentle climb up the hill. For the sake of wearing out my welcome in your brain today, I am not including it here. But if you’d like to know it, drop me an e-mail and I”d be happy to share. ( Or perhaps it will become a future posting.

If you do try my route around the lake I’d love to hear from you. I also apologize if somehow my directions are confusing or get you lost. As always, I think in this public venue I should remind you to observe the rules of the road, wear a helmet, and stay safe. I think you’ll find that it is an amazing way to get some exercise and to take advantage of this great town. Enjoy!

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Lake Oswego Farmer’s Market

It’s summer time and one of the great joys of the season is all of the fresh produce and bright assortment of flowers that are available at this time of year. In Lake Oswego these can be found in abundance at the local Farmer’s Market. Located in Millenium Plaza Park on Lake Oswego’s East side, the market is open on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm, mid May to the end of October. There is free parking and even doggie daycare (dogs are not allowed in the market).

Arrive hungry because there is so much good food to eat. My personal favorite are the huge omelets that are made by Philly’s Fat Omelets and Breakfast Burritos. They are large and stuffed with an assortment of options that you choose. Topped off with their wonderful salsa, it is something that my mouth starts watering over the minute I wake up on Saturday mornings. You will also find cinnamon rolls that are baked and sold by the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, fresh squeezed juices, Kettlecorn, freshly made pies and breads, as well as a wide variety of lunch fare such as La Vang’s salad rolls, and a booth offering Middle Eastern cuisine.

Numerous farms bring their crops to the market. You’ll find all sorts of fruit and produce. Especially abundant are the berries: strawberries, blue berries, and black berries. There are vendors who sell just organic lettuce, and vendors who sell not only tomatoes, but tomato plants too. There are booths run by local nurseries so that you can purchase plants for your own garden. I have also seen a table set up by local master gardeners where you can ask experts your gardening questions.

Complimenting the fresh produce and good food, you will find an assortment of other vendors. Craft cheese makers, organic meats, and smoked salmon, are a few worth mentioning. And then there are a several artisans mixed in with unique items such as lavender soap and hand crafted jewelry.

Fresh flowers are sold in abundance by several flower growers. They are sold very inexpensively, and you will enjoy the luxury of fresh-cut flowers in your home without having to sacrifice them from your own garden. You can even pick and choose your own bouquet to get exactly the color assortment that you prefer.

While you are eating and shopping there is usually live music being performed on the park stage. There are numerous tables set up to enjoy your meal while you enjoy the music.

It is truly a community gathering place. I don’t know what the attendance is each week, but it is wildly popular and something that many people look forward to as a feature of summer living. I know that I love it and I think that you will as well.

Happy 4th of July!

Lake Oswego embraces the 4th of July with a full heart and makes the celebration of Independence Day easy and fun.

Start the day at 7am with the Lake Oswego Lions Club pancake breakfast. Lasting until noon, the breakfast will be held at George Rogers Park. At 11:30am an old fashioned Independence Day Parade takes place down A Avenue. It will begin at 10th and Chandler with staging starting at 10:30am. Enjoy decorated bikes and wagons and the sight of family and friends decked out in red, white, and blue. A special tribute to veterans will be performed by Lake Oswego’s Millennium Concert Band. The parade ends at Millennium Plaza Park just in time for the Lake Grove Lions Club barbeque which goes from 11am to 5pm. From 1 to 3pm there will be a boat parade on Lakewood Bay which can be watched from Millennium Plaza Park or from the Headlee Walkway.

As is our national custom, the highlight of the day will be the annual fireworks display over Oswego Lake. I saw my first fireworks display over the lake during our Nation’s bicentennial in 1976. I was also present at the fateful display several years later when the entire display was accidentally ignited on the ground and blew up all at once. That is a sight that I will never forget! Today the display is launched at a safe spectator distance from a barge in the middle of the lake. It is easily viewed from the swim parks, the easements, and lakeside roads. Starting at 9:45 pm it is a lovely experience. What I like is that it takes place on the lake. Boats, canoes, and all sorts of water craft venture out for front-row seats. Each boat has small lights front and rear creating a lovely scene. There is someone, I do not know who, who plays the national anthem on a trumpet just prior to the commencement of the show. I have to admit, it chokes me up every time. And the show itself is not skimpy. It is spectacular. Be aware that streets around the lake are often closed to cars and people are encouraged to walk to the display. But the lake is in the middle of the town. No matter where you live, it is a pretty reasonable walk.

The last event of the 4th actually takes place on the 5th. The Portland Water Ski Spectacular and Malibu Wakeboard Competition take place on Lakewood Bay beginning at 1pm.

I have always been a highly patriotic person, and I really love the spirit of the 4th of July. This year it is especially poignant for me as I have a son on active duty serving as a US Marine. This is a very special holiday to me and to my family.

Here is wishing you and your family a safe and spectacular 4th of July.

Dispelling Eight Lake Oswego Myths

Trestle approaching Lake OswegoOn occasion at the PropertyBlotter, we will lapse into the nostalgic and the historic.

Today, we share a handful of myths concerning the lake, the town, founders, its early industry, and famous headstones.

(Full disclosure: I got this from the very interesting Oswego Heritage Council site).

  1. Oswego Lake is not an artificial lake. The natural lake was enlarged by successive dams that raised the water level and by a canal that connected it to the Tualatin River in 1873. Lakewood Bay, on the other hand, is largely man-made. It was originally a marsh, known as the Duck Pond. Developers flooded this swampy area in 1928 by digging a channel that linked it to the main lake.
  2. It is frequently said that Albert Alonzo Durham named Oswego after his birthplace in New York. However, Durham was born in Chenango County, not in Oswego, New York.
  3. The iron furnace in George Rogers Park is not a “chimney” or a “chimneystack.” This misconception probably stems from the fact that the stone tower containing the smelting chamber is called a “stack.” When it was operating, the furnace was a roaring inferno filled with burning charcoal and iron ore. A 33-foot-tall brick chimney once topped the furnace, but it was dismantled in the late 19th century. The furnace is also sometimes mistakenly called a foundry. An iron foundry re-melts pig iron and casts metal products.
  4. “Smelter” or “furnace” — what’s the right term? Oswego residents said “furnace” in the 19th century, which explains how Furnace Street got its name. Sometime in the early 20th century, residents began calling it a “smelter.” While this is technically correct, the term used by most historians is “furnace.” In the National Register of Historic Places the Oswego Iron Furnace is listed as the “Oregon Iron Company Furnace” after the company that built it in 1866.
  5. Oswego was not the first town to produce pig iron west of the Rocky Mountains. The Mormons built a small furnace at Cedar City, Utah in the 1850s. However, the 1866 Oswego Furnace was the first iron furnace on the West Coast. It was also the longest running and most productive of four furnaces built west of the Rockies in the 19th century.
  6. Oswego’s dream of becoming the “Pittsburgh of the West” was hardly unique. No less than eleven towns with mining or industrial ambitions aspired to this title. Among them were Kirkland, Washington; Richmond, California; Pueblo, Colorado; Eureka, Nevada; Llano, Texas; East Saint Louis, Illinois; and Terre Haute, Indiana.
  7. The city of Lake Oswego is not named after Oswego Lake. On the contrary, the lake is named after the town. Until 1913 the lake was called Sucker Lake. At the beginning of the 20th century developers searched for a more marketable name, at one time considering “Lake Tualatin.” In 1913 they successfully petitioned the U.S. Geographic Board to change the name to Oswego Lake. In 1960 when the city incorporated much of Lake Grove, the names of both communities were combined and the city was renamed Lake Oswego.
  8. Linus Pauling is not buried in the Oswego Pioneer Cemetery although there is a headstone there with his name on it. Pauling died in 1994 at his ranch in California. The family placed the headstone in the cemetery to honor his memory in the town where his relatives are buried and where he spent part of his childhood. Pauling’s grandfather was a German immigrant who came to Oregon to work in the Oswego Iron Furnace. Linus Pauling is the only winner of two unshared Nobel prizes: the prize for chemistry in 1954 and the Peace Prize in 1963.

Now, you know the rest of the story.

Source: Oswego Heritage Council. Photo courtesy of City of Lake Oswego.

Bountiful Lake Oswego Parks Supply Myriad of Activities

Residents young and old flock to the bevy of parks sprinkled throughout Lake Oswego neighborhoods. And why shouldn’t they, with around 400 acres of greenspace, picnic areas, ballfields, trails, waterfront access and more to enjoy? With the summer (finally) upon us, it’s time to get out and explore!

Here’s a list of Lake Oswego parks with designations for sports, play/picnic, and trails. Be sure to scroll down for a map locating each of these spots with more in-depth descriptions.

Park Acres
Play /
Sports /
Trails /
Unique Features
Bryant Woods
Canal Acres
Cooks Butte
George Rogers
waterfront access
Iron Mountain
off-leash dogs,
community gardens
downtown center
Pine Cone
River Run
Waluga (East)
Waluga (West)

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Visit the Lake Oswego Parks Department and download the Lake Oswego City Guide to Parks (PDF file)