Dog walking could come with some tougher rules at a park in Portland.
Right as you enter Baxter Woods Park, there’s a list of rules. One of them says dogs may be off-leash, but under voice command up to 50 feet from the owner. Soon this rule may change, forcing owners to keep their dogs on a leash.
Right on Stevens Avenue, dozens of dogs and their owners walk free through Baxter Woods Park.
It’s one of a handful of Portland parks where dogs can roam off leash.
Portland Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department is looking to change that.
“I would definitely be disappointed, because we like the park and my dog likes to run around and I think as long as you can keep dogs contained by voice, it’s nice to have the area,” Julia Clukey said.
The department said it has received dozens of safety complaints over the years about off-leash dogs.
Owners said they would not welcome the change.
“I’d probably visit it less, to be honest,” Clukey said.
Baxter Woods is one of Portland’s smaller parks but sees a high volume of people.
The department said there are other parks for dogs.
“There are hundreds of acres of open space property where dogs are permitted to run off leash. We’re not proposing any changes to those,” the department’s deputy director, Ethan Hipple, said.
Haley Morris said she has never faced any issues walking along these trails.
“Usually if a dog is on leash the owner will say, ‘Oh, he’s on a leash because he’s not good off-leash,’ so we move away,” Morris said.
Morris said she has faith in other dog owners in the park.
“I mean I understand if they’re having problems with it, but I think most people are responsible with their dogs,” Morris said.
The Parks Commission will take public comment on this issue before moving it forward to City Council for a vote.