Oregon looking at 2.1-acre site for dog park

Kelly J. Kaczala

         Oregon is looking at a site off Pickle Road on property owned by the YMCA for a dog park.
        The location is between the main driveway of the YMCA and I-280.
        Administrator Mike Beazley said the park is a work in progress.
        “This isn’t written in stone yet. The YMCA is working as a partner with us. We met with them a couple of times. They’re excited about doing this,” said Beazley. “We’re going through a process with the YMCA to try and figure out, is it better to buy this land or lease it?”
        “One of the amenities that people in the real estate community tell us is they love to see dog parks within walking distance of new developments. The land we’re looking to partner on is about 2.1 acres. There is already a parking infrastructure there. One of the models we looked at was a very nice dog park in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, that is about 2.1 acres,” he said.
        The park would be divided into two sections: One for small dogs, the other for larger dogs.
        “There’s an elaborate gating system: There’s four gates just to make sure it’s safe for the dogs to come in. When you first walk into a dog park with a dog, other dogs tend to want to run up. So this will be a system in which you can walk into a secure area then walk through another gate. There’s still a little energy from the dog, but it’s a little safer for all involved as you go,” he said.
        “It makes it safer for everybody,” said Council President Tim Zale. “I think it’s a great project. We’ve done a lot of work on the layout of it.”
        Officials are looking at requiring membership fees as a way to screen dogs that are not vaccinated.
        “People seem to be more comfortable with a membership based system,” said Beazley. “When people bring their dogs to the park, they will feel more confident the dogs have had their shots and are spayed and neutered. They’ll have a key fob or card that allows them to gain entrance when they want to come in,” he said.
        “It’s not for making any money,” said Zale. “It will help defray the costs of some of what we do there. We thought it would be better if people who come there had a membership because they will be required to show they have veterinary records. And we think that’s important. We know who’s going to be there and who’s not. When they use their key fob, or card, it will identify who they are.”
        Mayor Mike Seferian said memberships also give value to dog owners.
        “If people have something they can lose, the more likely they are to take care of it. As a city having another city function, we have to maintain whatever we put in. We always found that it’s a lot easier to create something than to uncreate it. Once we get something started, but later think something may not work and try to get rid of it, it’s not so easy.”
        The neighborhoods in the area will be able to walk to the site, according to Beazley.
        “It will be walkable. But most of Oregon will drive to it. In the eastern part of the community, people have a lot of land where dogs can run, a lot of farmland and places to go. On the western side of town, the neighborhoods are closer, there’s less land for your dog to run. But people will be able to walk over to the site or hop over in their car. So that’s what we’re working on. We will be starting it this year sometime. Council provided dollars in the budget for it. We’re ordering the fencing, waterlines, things like that. We’ll make those final decisions on it.”
        Toledo Unleashed is a non-profit group that helps run a dog park in Toledo. “We’re actually talking with them about running it for us. It’s a group of people who care about dogs and pets. They’re actually in conversations with a number of communities. We have had two meetings with them in the last couple of months,” said Beazley.
        “It’s something we’re excited about doing,” he added. “We think it’s going to be a real community asset that can enhance the quality of life here, and help us to continue to grow to be the Oregon we want to be.”


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