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Dog park fans have a temporary – and enjoyable – substitute

by: Sam Bennett, 
Nancy Truax throws a ball for Josie, left, and Delilah Blue at Lake Oswego’s temporary dog park.

A city-owned, former blackberry field has become an oasis for dogs and their owners.

A week before its official opening July 21, the off-leash park was drawing a steady stream of dogs yearning to run free. Since the opening, word has spread and it's gaining popularity.

'We're way delighted and really happy with it,' said Pat Nida of Lake Oswego, who helped get the temporary park opened with her organization Friends of Luscher Farm Dog Park. The Palisades Neighborhood Association also endorsed the park.

The three-acre park is adjacent to the turnaround at Atherton and Stafford roads. It is across the street from the Luscher Farm property, which the city is preparing for two artificial turf fields.

That new development will also include two dog parks.

For now, dog owners say they're thrilled to have a temporary park that offers a wide-open, bark-chip covered expanse for ball-fetching and playing.

Nida said the park is 'the most successful and inter-generational park we have.' She said her son, Dean, recently visited and commented that it is 'the only park in Lake Oswego where people talk to each other.'

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Elise Dechaine-Stone and Nancy Truax had their tireless dogs running circles in the park.

'I use it every day,' said Truax, of Tualatin. 'This is such a nice place.'

Dechaine-Stone, a Lake Oswego resident, said her young black lab, Delilah Blue, has enough energy to run for hours in the park.

'It's a great place to socialize dogs and to get lots of energy out,' she said.

Like many dog owners, Truax said she's more than happy to go the extra mile to bring her dog happiness.

'This is my life,' she said, referring to her Labradoodle, Josie.

Later this fall, when the city opens the Luscher artificial turf athletic field and dog park, dog owners will have two new dog parks.

One park will be for larger dogs with lots of energy, and a second will be for smaller and more timid dogs. The parks will include shelter areas and park benches, where people can stay dry and monitor their dogs. The parks will also have water for dogs and people. Combined, the parks will encompass about 2 ½ acres.

The artificial turf fields, which will be lighted, will be used for soccer, baseball, football and lacrosse. That project, including the dog parks, will cost about $3.6 million. It's due to open in early December.

As for the temporary park, it will be eventually turned into a neighborhood park.