Review of Lake Oswego

I feel out of place in Lake Oswego, always have. Even when I was a kid and first arrived here, something was off putting.

It wasn’t until I got a little older that I came to understand. All I saw was the well brushed white canvas faces, in all the right places. Fancy cars and McMansions to hide behind.  All in the right jobs.

This was unnerving to me. It all felt so fake, and I realized that from an early age. To boot I also felt this slight animosity from people–from peers and their parents. It felt as if they did not want me in their town and schools. Maybe it was because my family does not make as much money as them, or that I don’t live in a big house, maybe it is due to my parent not having a high up position in a big company, or  possibly still that my family is Cuban and proud to be.

From my experience I have been rejected by people in Lake Oswego for all those reasons. It is always in the sly remarks. Not outright racist or classist. Yet always judgmental with an undercurrent of distaste. Which puts me off.

Something that has sticks in my mind is on the several occasions that parents of kids that have gone to the schools I have attended–and others from the community, when learning that my last name is Fernandez and that I am Cuban will say, “Oh, so are you going to college?” To which I am glad to reply, “Of course,” but still I have been met with, “Isn’t that nice. It’s good to go to college.” Yet with my peers who are not Latin people just assume that they are going to college, and don’t even ask if they are going.

It would be nice to believe that all the students of this school bring big lunch boxes packed with food, and drive an Audi to class. Yet this is not the truth. The students that have lunches paid for by the state, and the same parents that are surviving with the welcomed help of snap benefits are looked down upon. Even though 10.4 percent of students at Lakeridge are eligible for free or reduced lunch. With 94 kids qualifying for free lunch–statistics provided by the Oregon Department of Education.

From the outside all is hunky dory with the tall sports loving dad and blonde haired with their two and a half well behaved straight  A students. Who attend the local high school–which of course is one of the best in the state.

Yet with so many of those families lives that I have gotten the privilege of being able to peer into and be apart of, often times are the same faces that are struggling to manage it all. Just like everyone else. With a whole slew of problems–that more often than not–they won’t talk about, and when it is brought up will sweep it under the rug. Problems like alcoholism, drugs, family animosity, or even just the general stress of life.  

But those are rarely the subjects that are made public and talked about. Even when everyone knows that a certain someone has those problems it is often only considered gossip as opposed to real issues, and many times will be covered up as well as possible.

Even more so the population of people that are below the poverty line is rarely talked about and discussed. It is a subject that people would prefer to sweep under the rug.

Snap benefits is almost a taboo subject to bring up. Oftentimes the people that have enough seem to hold the opinion that the ones that are getting help from the state to eat and feed their children are less than.

While this is of course not out rightly stated what is said is, “People don’t need help. You should be able to feed yourself” and “The government shouldn’t be giving handouts to people that don’t even have a job.”

The heavy sediments of out of proportion self esteem and entitlement is a kool-aid that  many people have seem to drank which makes me more sad than anything.  

Lake Oswego gets a 2 out of 5.