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Pet-friendly upgrades installed at Asburry Acres

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A Columbia County maintenance crew erects a small shade station to be installed at Asburry Acres just outside city limits in St. Helens. The park area is getting pet-friendly features.

It’s a vast, empty hay field, but Lori Baker and her crew know Asburry Acres is a dog’s paradise.

Baker works with the maintenance crew of Columbia County’s Forest, Parks and Recreation Department. She’s leading a small maintenance group that will help turn the wetland hay field into more user-friendly open space.

The undeveloped Columbia County park, near the Columbia County Fairgrounds in St. Helens, is unfenced, providing ample space for running and relaxation.

Last week, the area got a covered “chuck-it” station — a small, shaded structure with a bone-shaped bench, that will allow visitors to stand in the shade and throw toys for their pets to retrieve. The new feature is in addition to a paw wash station that already enhances the dog-friendly, off-leash park.

Baker points to a woman holding three leashes led by large dogs on a Tuesday afternoon at the park.

“This is why we’re doing this!” Baker said.

With the new features up and nearly complete, the park is now open to the public.