Report of the Hillsdale Dog Off-Leash Committee
Hillsdale Neighborhood Association:
Recommendations for the Hillsdale Park Dog Off-Leash Area
The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Dog Off-Leash Committee has conducted four 2-hour meetings, providing discussion and debate of the issues pertaining to an off-leash area in Hillsdale Park. This report provides specific recommendations to the Portland Parks Bureau based on the consensus of this committee.
Committee meetings have been publicized to the community in the Southwest Community Connection, by e-mail to a list of 250 Hillsdale constituents, and by announcement at the monthly Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meetings. Various affected interests, notably the Portland Christian Center and Robert Gray Middle School, were contacted directly. The Robert Gray Middle School PTA president and principal attended the meetings and helped to formulate these recommendations. Furthermore, the Portland Christian Center conveyed their interests to the committee and an attempt to accommodate their concerns was made.
The members of this committee feel that we have reached consensus and move that these recommendations be adopted by the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association and consequently forwarded to Portland Parks for implementation at Hillsdale Park:
The hours of the Hillsdale SHARED SITE should be limited to minimize conflict with the school, church, other users, and neighbors. The recommended hours of the Hillsdale SHARED SITE should be:
05:00 – 08:00
16:30 – Closing
Hillsdale Park is located adjacent to Robert Gray Middle School and the Portland Christian Center. Due to potential conflict with these users, it is the recommendation of this committee to limit mid-day use of the park by off-leash dog users. This committee recommends that other SHARED SITES parks (e.g. Counsel Crest Park) accommodate off-leash users by having mid-day off-leash hours. The HNA believes an afternoon session is critical to meet the needs of neighborhood families who require more flexibility in exercising their dogs than can be provided by just morning and evening hours, and believes that other parks that are not proximate to schools can better provide mid-day hours without potential conflict to students and other users.
The HNA chooses not to differentiate between summer and winter hours so that the times for dogs can become well known in the neighborhood and, thus, better attended. The morning and evening hours were selected to allow school children and their parents to start and end the school day without undue interference with dog walkers. These can be amended if our selections do not precisely coincide with actual student/parent movements.
To reduce conflict with other users and neighbors bordering the Park, and to provide consistent awareness of where the SHARED SITE is, the year-round boundaries of the Hillsdale Off-Leash Dog Area should coincide with the existing summer boundaries. This is an area bounded: on the south, by the crest of east/west ridge in the park (so as to avoid unnecessary interference with park uses south of the crest. The crest of the ridgeline is a convenient, practical, and obvious dividing line); on the north, by Trillium Creek or the Portland Christian Center parking lot, as deemed by the City of Portland; on the east, by the school property; and on the west, by the church property. We believe these boundaries will also serve well in the winter, where the gentle northern downslope from the ridgeline should provide an adequately-sized exercise area free from mud, thus the "year-round" recommendation.
No fencing is currently recommended; however, in order to reduce conflict, fencing should not be foreclosed to protect sensitive areas in the future.
Access to the Hillsdale Dog Off-Leash Area should be provided at natural approach points from the surrounding neighborhoods. These are 4 in number:
The precise starting point at each access point, as well as the route to the SHARED SITE, is critical to success of the SHARED SITE (and the park, in general). HNA should be consulted on both matters.
Parking at or near Hillsdale Park is required by a variety of adjacent users, including Robert Gray Middle School, the Christian Center, and sports players/parents. There is no dedicated parking for Hillsdale Park; however, to date, parking has not been a problem. Parking should be addressed as part of the master planning process for the park.