Being a dog owner sucks during Portland winters. The wet fur, the muddy paws, the days upon days trapped indoors with a stir-crazy pooch...oh, the things we do for love. But come summer, Portland is a doggie paradise for pets and humans alike. Since most of us don't have two-acre estates, we need a lot of dog parks to give Fido his daily workout. Here is our guide to the best of the breed:

Brentwood Park

Southeast 60th Avenue and Duke Street

Pro: All fenced in and ready for the pup that likes to make a sudden break for the street.

Con: No running water, so bring a bottle and bowl for hot summer playdates.

Chimney Park

9360 N Columbia Blvd.

Pro: It's gigantic at almost 6 acres, with two separate fenced-in areas.

Con: Not a ton of trees, and it can be hard to find shade on very hot summer days.

East Delta Park

Northeast Union Court and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

Pro: Fenced in, with some picnic tables for human companions. However, we don't suggest bringing along a barbecue, as any meat is sure to get snatched out of your hand by a sneaky pooch.

Con: Sometimes closed during winter months.

West Delta

Parking lot at North Denver Avenue and Victory Boulevard

Pro: The biggest park on the list at nearly 9 sprawling acres.

Con: Not fenced in—though the park is so enormous your little runaway is not likely to run into trouble should he or she take off.

Gabriel Park

Southwest 45th Avenue and Vermont Street

Pro: Fenced and fabulous! The prevalence of human-friendly activities in the park makes Gabriel one of the more populated dog runs. All of the staples are in place: running water, poop bags and trash cans within reach.

Con: The main dog run shut down this winter for re-growth, and pups are moved to a smaller area for now.

Overlook Park

North Interstate Avenue and Fremont Street

Pro: Running water and lots of human-friendly spots for baseball, picnicking and more. A children's playground is close to the dog run for those who parent human children along with their canine babies.

Con: The dog area is tiny and boring, and seems like an afterthought compared to the rest of the park. Also, it's not fenced, and if Fido wanders slightly out of bounds, a parks department vehicle will magically appear out of nowhere and slap you with a citation.

Normandale Park

Northeast 57th Avenue and Halsey Street

Pro: Not only is Normandale fenced, it's double-fenced! The park features a small dog run in addition to providing space for your giant Tibetan mastiff/St. Bernard mix.

Con: We honestly couldn't find one. Normandale may be the perfect dog park.

Alberta Park

Northeast 22nd Avenue and Killingsworth Street

Pro: Alberta's multitude of fir trees and pine-needle ground cover make it one of the best dog parks for rainy winter use, as it provides shelter and prevents mudding. The trees come in handy during heat waves, too.

Con: Not fenced in, and sandwiched between two relatively busy streets. Use leash discretion with bolt-happy breeds.

Sandy River Delta

I-84, Exit 18

Pro: Once you get past the mile-plus hike through the sandy forest, you arrive at a honest-to-goodness dog beach with ample shade and lots of safe, shallow-water areas for splashing.

Con: Hiking a couple miles through sand is no joke; be ready for a serious workout just getting to the dog beach. More than a few newbies have gotten lost trying to find the trails, but enough dog lovers gather at the trailhead that you're sure to find assistance with directions.

Summer Guide 2011
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