Report Concerning Grant Park Dog Off Leash Meeting on October 1

 

There have been several requests received for a report about the dog park meeting last week. The following is my best effort to accurately summarize what occurred.

 

First, as background, it should be made clear that this was a Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation (Parks) meeting, even though the Grant Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) helped facilitate it by arranging the date through the Grant Park Church. GPNA also distributed flyers prepared solely by Parks concerning the event by hand delivering them to homes that directly face the park on all sides, in addition to secondary streets in all directions. There were also articles in the latest GPNA newsletter and the Hollywood Star, although they likely appeared either shortly before the meeting or possibly even after, depending upon the efficiency of the volunteer delivery staff. I also personally delivered flyers and newsletters to local businesses where I thought they might be seen, such as QFC, New Seasons, Whole Foods, the Hollywood Library, Pets on Broadway, MudBay, and others. I sent electronic versions of information about the meeting to Irvington, Sullivanís Gulch, Hollywood, and Alameda neighborhood associations and to registered sports league field users with a request for publicity through any available means on September 19. Unfortunately, Parks did not place lawn signs in the park itself advising of the meeting until the Friday before the meeting on the following Thursday evening. Thus, although there was a large variety of publicity concerning the meeting, interested parties may not have received it until shortly before (or possibly even after) the meeting occurred. This was due to circumstances beyond my control, as I promptly distributed information when it became available from Parks.

 

The agenda for the meeting was not submitted to me until about one half hour prior to the commencement of the meeting, and the responsible Parks representative made copies but failed to bring them to the meeting. I did not know that Parks intended to limit discussion solely to consideration of three fully fenced locations within Grant Park, although I was aware of the locations in question. I expected the meeting to be more open ended with discussion about possible variations and different fencing options, such as partial as opposed to complete.

 

Approximately 40 people attended the meeting, and there were representatives from Grant Park, Hollywood, Irvington, Laurelhurst, Sullivanís Gulch, and Portland Youth Soccer. Mike Grosso, Parks Maintenance Supervisor, moderated the meeting and recognized audience members who wished to speak. I played no role in calling on people, although I stood at the podium with Mike. His stated policy was to make sure that everyone who wished to speak did so before any individual spoke a second time. At least one attendee complained later that she was not called on. Some voiced a desire to discuss other options besides full fencing, and Mike said that would occur, but not until the end of the meeting time allocated. Unfortunately, the opportunity to speak about other alternatives did not happen until the very end of the meeting with about 5 minutes remaining, which frustrated some attendees. Some found the stand mounted park maps of the locations difficult to see due to size and lack of contrast. Again, Parks was solely responsible for these posters and declined an offer of a projector and screen.

 

Parks distributed a survey questionnaire at the meeting and asked for completion by all who attended. The survey is also available online and must be completed by October 15 to be considered. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GrantParkDOLA

 

Some people complained of feeling ďblind sidedĒ by the fenced location proposal, claiming lack of knowledge or notice. This was a particularly frustrating occurrence for me personally, since there have been many articles in the Grant Park newsletter over the past two years concerning this issue and most have clearly stated that the proposal made was for a fenced location. Here is available information:

 

Holiday 2013 page 2; Spring 2014, page 2; Summer 2014, page 2; Fall 2014

Multi-page story beginning on page 6; Holiday 2014, long story on page 6.

 

Parks will determine the next step after expiration of the survey completion time and tabulation.

 

Ken Peterson

Vice-President and Land Use Chair

Grant Park Neighborhood Association