The upscale Lake Oswego community, less than 10 miles south of Portland, Oregon and situated neatly between the Pacific coast and Mount Hood, offers residents easy access to season sports like hiking, skiing, and snowboarding as well as summer beaches and their quaint coastal communities which are popular year-round.
With a sweet, small-town feel, Lake Oswego (often affectionately referred to as “LO”) sits on a 420-acre lake that offers plenty of local outdoor recreation like bird-watching, swimming, boating, fishing, and more.
Lake Oswego History
Originally inhabited by the Clackamas Indian Tribe, the town was founded in 1847 and incorporated as Oswego (named after Oswego, New York) in 1910. The city was the hub of Oregon’s brief iron industry in the late 19th century. When the railroad arrived in Oswego in 1886 it provided a direct link to Portland. Train traffic reached its peak in 1920 with 64 trains to and from Portland each day. Under a decade later, the line was retired, but has been preserved with the Willamette Shore Trolley continuing to offer scenic trolley rides.
Surrounded by pristine natural beauty, LO is home to numerous golf courses including the Oswego Lake Country Club, a members-only club that debuted its greens in 1924. Their historic clubhouse followed soon after in 1925. On the other side of the lake sits the Lake Oswego Public Golf Course which operates as a city-owned 18-hole course.
With 24 parks covering 600 acres in total, including the 53-acre West Waluga Park, there’s no shortage of beautiful outdoor space to enjoy. The city of Lake Oswego boasts amenities including the Roehr Park Amphitheater, a swim park open during the summer months, a water sports center that is home to Lake Oswego Rowing, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, as well as picnic shelters, playgrounds, and more.
The tight-knit Lake Oswego community loves to come together to celebrate holidays, the changing of the seasons, and more with numerous community events planned throughout the year including local favorites: the Star Spangled Parade and Celebration for the Fourth of July which kicks off from Millennium Plaza Park, free Summer Concerts Wednesday nights in July and August, and Moonlight, and free, family-friendly Music Concerts Sunday nights through July and August. There are also Summer Movies in the Park, and the Holiday Market and Holiday Tree Lighting.
The Farmers’ Market is so popular that folks will drive in from Portland proper each Saturday from May through October to shop with over 80 local vendors selling just about anything one could need for the home, kitchen, and pantry including meat, chicken, eggs, nuts, cheeses, artisan breads, fresh-made jams, pastries, seafood, crafts, and more.
LO also boasts a small but thriving arts scene with Lakewood Center for the Arts putting on regular performances and an annual Festival of the Arts. ARTSpace hosts rotating exhibitions and is open free for a public reception the first Friday of every month.
Best Lake Oswego Neighborhoods
There are 27 recognized neighborhoods in Lake Oswego, all of which have access to top-rated schools and community amenities.
Kevin Costello of Hasson Company Realtors says, “There is a renaissance happening in downtown Lake Oswego right now and the charming First Addition neighborhood is perfectly positioned to enjoy it. Restaurants, shops, concerts, lake views, and public library – are all within walking distance. With that in mind, the demand for housing here exceeds the supply with little end in sight. Motivated, patient buyers can find their dream house here, at a premium.”
Although this area as a whole is rated as ‘car-dependent’ with a walk score of 36 a transit score of 26, and a bike score of 47 there are a number of neighborhoods that are developing more walkable areas for residents such as the Foothills and Evergreen neighborhoods with walk scores of 73 and extra-swank Lakewood with a 72 walk score.
Lake Oswego Schools
LO is served by the Lake Oswego School District. According to GreatSchools, some of the highest-rated schools in the area include Forest Hills Elementary School (public, K-5), Oak Creek Elementary School (public, K-5), Lakeridge Junior High School (public, 6-8), and Lakeridge High School (public, 9-12). Local private school options include Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School (private, K-8), Westside Christian High School (private, 9-12), and Park Academy (private with Dyslexia focus, 3-8 and 9-12).
Lake Oswego Real Estate
While Lake Oswego is known mainly an affluent community with high-end real estate prices to match, there are still opportunities to purchase in this community for under $200k with condos or townhouse options. That said, fully 50% of all currently listed LO properties are priced at $1million and up with the highest-end property currently listed at just under $7million.
As of this writing, according to Zillow, the median Lake Oswego home price falls at $641,000 landing at $282 per square foot on average, about $55 more than that of Portland.
Veronica Park, Principal Broker with Cascade Sotheby’s International explains this exceptionally healthy real estate market, “Even during the downturn, the home values in Lake Oswego were barely affected. The schools are exceptional and all that the community offers, be it the Farmer’s Market, the Park & Rec programs, or the strong community involvement, Lake Oswego is consistently a great place to buy and live. I’m proud to work and live in this wonderful city!”
If you’re ready to start the home-buying process (in the Lake Oswego area or any other Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington neighborhood) I’d love to help! I specialize in guiding home buyers through the mortgage process and would love the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss your home-ownership goals, answer your current questions, and help you determine exactly how much home you can afford. Feel free to drop by my office at 1238 NW Glisan Suite A in Portland’s Pearl District, shoot me an email, or give me a call anytime at (971) 404-9844.