Readers Respond to a Battle Over Public Access to an Unsanctioned Dog Park

“Be careful, this story is pure uncut Portland.”

Last week, WW unpacked the increasing hostility felt by dog-owning residents of the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood toward Portland Public Schools (“Freedom Fido,” June 22). At issue: the grassy field at Hosford Middle School, which the school district has fenced off. PPS officials say they’re protecting students from dog poop and vagrants. Residents say the district is restricting their access to greenspace—and some of them have begun cutting the fence locks with bolt cutters. Here’s what our readers have to say:

Jason Wilson, via Twitter: “Be careful, this story is pure uncut Portland.”

AtlasPDX, via “I have a dog and would occasionally go to Hosford. When I encountered the locked gate, instead of getting all huffy and taking it as a personal affront, I just walked four blocks to Sewallcrest Park. It is an off-leash dog park with more room to roam than Hosford. Sounds like some peeps need to get more familiar with our neighborhood’s other amenities.”

Allan Rudwick, via Twitter: “While I strongly dislike dogs, I think it’s important that school fields are open to the public, and I really don’t like the way PPS is acting here.”

left_lane_camper, via Reddit: “I love dogs and like having dog parks nearby and all, but unless I’m misreading something, the space in question is a playfield for a middle school, not a dog park? Why is this even a discussion? It’s school land for use by the students, and if the school tells you to fuck off, you fuck off.”

pdxtalldan, via “Hey, taxes pay for the federal courthouse and police stations: How about walking your dogs there? Your taxes pay for PDX Airport as well: It’s such a wide-open space, it would make a good off-leash park as well. “Vandalism is a crime. What are you thinking?”

Nicole Funke, via Twitter: “Tried to have a picnic here last summer and someone’s dog ran up and grabbed our dinner. Owner finally walked up and, not apologizing, just said, ‘It’s a dog park now.’”

MountScottRumpot, via Reddit:WW knows that people love stories about entitled people being dicks. That’s the whole reason they’ve published the Water Hogs issue for the past 20 years.”

Elliott Young, via Twitter: “They come with locks and chains to enclose the commons. PPS is fighting a war against residents, which it will lose because walls and fences don’t work. Bigger locks yield bigger bolt cutters. Why not negotiate a reasonable compromise with people?”

KeepsGoingsUp, via Reddit: “These people just happen to not know that there’s an actual sanctioned off-leash dog park four blocks away? Fido would probably appreciate the extra tenth-of-a-mile walk. “The fence sucks since it really screws up the connection of [Southeast] Caruthers [Street] and forces you onto Division traffic as a pedestrian, but I blame the irresponsible pet owners for ruining a good thing for the entire neighborhood. And that’s coming from having a dog that loves to run.”

Scrappymutt, via “I have a dog, two children at PPS, and I own a home in Southeast Portland, so I have all my skin, bones, and blood in the game. I think the reality is that there is not a simple answer or a correct side to take. “We do need to protect these schools so that kids have a safe place to be. But we also have a responsibility to provide greenspace for people that live in the neighborhood. The real solution would be to turn one of those 50 new condos on Division into a park. But greed knows no bounds, so developers turned every inch into profit and left the kids, dogs and neighbors to fight over the scraps.”

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