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A budding off-leash dog-park project is emerging in Aurora, with initial steps and resources in place

COURTESY OF SCOTT JORGENSEN - Aurora City Councilor Brian Asher mows down tall grass on a city-owned site at the east end of Ottaway Road that could potentially serve as a dog park.Anyone in Aurora interested in a dog park?

Over the past decade or so, off-leash dog parks have been springing up in municipalities and state parks around the Willamette Valley. This year the city of Aurora has dedicated some resources to undertake such a project.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, June 8, anyone interested in an off-leash dog-park project is invited to stop by the east end of Ottaway Road, near the Pudding River, where an idle city-owned lot is being considered for that purpose.

This year's city budget has set aside some starter funds, $5k, to prime the project. The city inventoried its land, and set sights on the ¾-acre Ottaway parcel. COURTESY OF SCOTT JORGENSEN - Aurora City Councilor Brian Asher mows down tall grass on a city-owned site at the east end of Ottaway Road that could potentially serve as a dog park.

City Councilor Brian Asher, who also serves on the town's resurrected Parks Committee, has mowed the grounds with a tractor this past week so advocates, area neighbors and potential volunteers can get a clear look at the lay of the land.

"We're working on something; looking at what we have to work with," Asher said. "We're trying to do it on a shoestring and get the community involved."

City Recorder Scott Jorgensen said the city put feelers out via social media earlier this year, and the survey results showed 75 percent of the respondents were favorable to establishing a dog park.

"It's something nice to have, and we want to make sure we do it right," Jorgensen said. "We will have a better sense of where we are going with this after June 8."

Jorgensen and Asher both noted that people do access the river via that site, and they stressed that would not change.

"Historically folks have used it to access the river, and we would like to preserve that use," Jorgensen said.

"It does go down to the river, so river access would be very nice," Asher added. "Some have gone down there to fish. It's a total community park concept. We would like to fence the inside area, leave room on the outside and have the dog park in the middle…we'd like to have a split entry and a separate area for the small dogs."

Asher said that while there is no data, such as census statistics, that cite pet ownership, anecdotally there appears to be a fairly substantial number of Aurora residents who have dogs. Results from the recent social media surveys suggest that as well.

The councilor believes some dog owners will travel to places like Wilsonville or possibly Lake Oswego to use those municipal dog parks. Woodburn, Newberg and Silverton, along with Champoeg, Willamette Mission and Molalla River state parks, are among the other nearby entities that have designated off-leash areas.

Generally, the resources required are significantly more than what Aurora currently has available; Stayton and Monmouth, for example, raised $50k and $55k respectively to achieve one in recent years. But community involvement is a key resource.

Independence established a fenced off-leash area in 2011 with a relatively tight budget -- and a lot of help.

"I know our (dog-park advocacy) group raised about $13k and leveraged a lot of volunteer labor," Independence Community Development Director Shawn Irvine said. "Public Works ran a water line and set the fence posts, then the volunteers actually put up the fence."

Asher said the current objective in Aurora is to impart the project idea and invite community participation. Help can come from many avenues, including ideas, volunteer labor, materials and donations. The ultimate aim is to realize a pleasant community feature.

"Dog parks can just make your community much more livable," Asher said.

For information or input, contact Jorgensen or Asher via the city: HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 503-678-1283.

Aurora Parks Committee meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Aurora City Hall, 21420 Main St NE.

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Area dog parks

Some Mid-Willamette Valley dog parks/off-leash areas established over the past 20 years

Champoeg State Historical Area 8239 Champoeg Road NE, St. Paul.

Dallas, Oregon dog park, Central Bark, established circa 2010, SE Juniper Ave.

Independence Dog Park, founded in 2011, 54 Grand St.

Keizer Rapids dog park, established in 2010, 1900 Chemawa Road N

Lake Oswego/West Linn, Hazelia Field Dog Park, 17800 Stafford Road

Molalla River State Park Canby, Ore.

Monmouth Dog Park, (part of Monmouth Recreation Park), dedicated in 2013, 1164 Alberta Ave. E

Newberg Dog Park at Ewing Young Historical Park, established in 2010, 1201 Blaine St.

Silverton Dog Park, established in 2013, 115 Westfield St.

Stayton Community Dog Park, established in 2017, N 4th Ave. and E Florence St.

Tigard dog parks (3), Ash Avenue, established in 2002, 9025 SW Burnham St.; Potso, established in 2001, 7960 SW Hunziker St.; Summerlake, established in 2003,11450 SW Winter Lake Drive

Willamette Mission State Park, 10991 Wheatland Road NE, Gervais

Wilsonville Memorial Park Dog Park, Memorial Park Forest Trail ; Ash Meadows (fenced) Dog Park, Ash Meadows Lane

Woodburn dog park, a part of Centennial Park, established in 2010, 900 Parr Road NE

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