New fenced-in dog run is 3,600 square feet

by: OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO - Gresham resident Conny Mottram took her dog Toby to the ball field at Main City Park so he could run off-leash, even though it was against city ordinances. With the opening of an official dog run at the park last week, now Toby can run all he wants.Gresham may not have a dog park as such, but dog lovers can now take their pooches to a new fenced-in, off-leash run at Main City Park.

The dog run, which opened March 18 on the north side of the park, is in response to community need, said Todd Jones, parks maintenance superintendent.

“The current Gresham Master Plan calls for an off-leash area as part of the build-out of the park,” he said. “The city up to this point has not had an off-leash area, and we decided to go ahead and do a limited response with limited resources and provide something.”

The city fenced in an area of about 3,600 square feet, 120 feet long and 30 feet wide for a place for people to run their dogs off-leash, and spent about $3,700 on fencing and signage, Jones said.

Although the city has no other dog parks, it does have stations where owners can get plastic bags to pick up after their dogs at city parks, but they haven’t been used as much as they should have been, Jones said.

“When people don’t clean up after their pets, it is in violation of ordinances and it’s a challenge,” he said. “It creates unpleasant conditions for other park users and maintenance staff and breeding grounds for infections or disease. People either don’t know that or they don’t care.”

Although the dog run is small, it is an attempt by the city to provide what the public wants with a tight budget, Jones said.

“Like all master plans, we don’t have the resource capacity to shepherd and manage any type of improvement project, but at least we do have a demonstration area, at least we can provide something,” he said.

Robin Franzen Parker, city public information officer, agreed that a dog run is something citizens want.

“We are hoping the public follows the rules and help make it a successful project,” she said. “It’s something we’ve heard that people have wanted for a long time, and the city found a way to provide it. We’re getting a lot of likes on our Facebook page.”

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