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Volume 16, Issue 6
June 2018


Park News
Somerset West Park Phase 1 improvements

Somerset playground
Conceptual image of the proposed new playground. Additional funds from a grant are needed, add your support!

Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD) held an open house meeting in February to present the plans for upgrades to the park. Neighbors who attended seemed to be pleased with the proposed improvements. Drainage has been a problem at this park, making most of it unpleasant to use during the rainy season.

Phase One of the project will include “daylighting” the stream that runs more or less east-west through the park. The pipe that currently carries the stream to a culvert that runs beneath 185th will be removed, and the streambed will be recreated and planted.

somerset map

A loop path around the northern half of the park will be constructed so it will be dry, accessible, and usable year-round. A new playground area will be constructed south of the existing outdoor swimming pool, consisting of both traditional play equipment and some nature-play features. A patio and covered picnic area will be built between the playground and the pool.

THPRD is applying for a Local Government Grant from Oregon Parks & Recreation Department to help fund redevelopment of the park, supplementing current bond funds. They are looking for letters of support from anyone who would like to see these improvements. If you can provide your input, please contact Liana Harden, Engagement & Partnerships Specialist, at 503-614-4007 or lharden@thprd.org. They hope to put together their application by mid-March to make sure they meet their deadline.

Dog Park recommendations in
Parks Functional Plan

THPRD has been hearing from many area residents that they need to provide more off-leash spaces for owners to let their dogs get exercise and socialize with other dogs. In an effort to respond to the demand, the administration asked the Parks and Facilities Advisory Committee to study a variety of issues and make recommendations to include in an updated Parks Functional Plan.

Keith Watson, THPRD’s Community Programs Manager, says, “We worked directly with the Parks & Facilities Advisory Committee over an eight-month period in 2018. The dog park topic was on their agenda starting in April and interested members of the public were invited to attend. We also developed and offered a public survey specific to dog parks that garnered almost 700 responses.”

Committee members visited dog parks in the district and throughout the region, and considered the feedback from the public to make their recommendations.

The new section of the Plan begins: “Dog parks are an important component of the district’s park system and ensuring their distribution throughout the district is critical. Dog parks can be stand-alone components or included as part of an overall park development. THPRD’s current policy on dogs was developed to keep parks clean, safe, and sanitary; it requires that dogs be kept on leash unless in a designated, fenced dog park.”

The new section notes that the existing three parks with off-leash areas (Winkelman, Hazeldale, and PCC) contain all the traditional amenities. It goes on to say that, “public input has suggested that THPRD dog owners would like to see more options at their local parks. These would be smaller areas within neighborhood parks that may not have all the usual amenities and would serve a more local crowd.”

“A dog park is a larger (at least one acre) fenced area designated for dogs to exercise and socialize off leash. Design elements shall include: a minimum four (4’) foot perimeter fence, double gates for entry, separate areas for small and large dogs, appropriate surfacing for the chosen location, seating (benches), shade, fountain or other appropriate water source, covered trash receptacles, dog waste bag dispensers, and regulatory signage. The dog park is typically included as part of an overall park development process.

“A dog run is a smaller (10,000 square feet) fenced area designated for dogs to exercise and socialize off leash. Design elements shall include: a minimum four (4’) foot perimeter fence, double gates for entry, appropriate surfacing for the chosen location, covered trash receptacles, dog waste bag dispensers, and regulatory signage. The dog run is typically an added amenity to an existing park following a specific request and community outreach process.”

Watson says, “The next big challenge is finding sites. As you know, this has been the biggest hurdle with past efforts to add new dog parks. This step in the process will require a very thorough public outreach process and planning effort. No definitive timeline for this effort as of yet.”

If you want to read the full text of the new section of the Functional Plan, it’s available as part of the Board Packet for the February 12 meeting on the THPRD website here (beginning at page 29 of the PDF).

It’s good to know that THPRD is responding to the demand, but it may still be some time before dog owners get more options. Be sure to pay attention to the upcoming election in May, when four of the Board positions will be on the ballot. CPO 1 will invite all the candidates to their April 9 meeting so we can hear their positions on this and other topics.


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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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Portland, Oregon 97291
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