Every town, city and region has parks and open spaces for outdoor enjoyment. Dog parks, walking trails, skate parks, and open spaces exemplify a few of the types of community spaces that we all have the opportunity to enjoy. Some community members cherish these spaces, while others abuse them. Federally, the U.S. Department of the Interior preserves and maintains parks and open spaces with the help of state and local governments.

With the support of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Eugene is able to provide areas for the members of the Eugene community a place to gather, play, and socialize. With Renee Grube leading the City of Eugene, Department of Library, Parks and Cultural Services, she plans to provide areas  “where individuals, families and neighborhoods can feel connected to their community.”

But in what direction are the parks of Eugene headed? The greater Eugene community is constantly growing and changing.  As neighborhoods morph, new places to connect to the others in our community are needed.  Parks must be continually updated and renovated to meet the standard of living that the residents of Eugene want and need.  The process of updating the public spaces is ongoing and never ending.

Maintaining and improving parks requires more than just government funding. Financial and physical local support is required to improve our community areas. Donations and involvement are the best ways to see improvement in parks. One of the easiest ways for a community member to get involved with parks is through the Oregon Parks and Recreation department’s “Adopt-a-Park” volunteer program.  Individuals, groups, schools and businesses are encouraged to “Adopt-a-Park” by providing clean up and maintenance of the community members’ park. In return, the adopters receive recognition in the form of signs, plaques and ribbons for their civic contribution. This program helps to alleviate the burden on city maintenance crews to continually update and improve parks.

New forms of public spaces are beginning to emerge in the Eugene/Springfield community. Some of the more popular public spaces, which have seen a proliferation in recent years, are leash free community dog parks. These parks provide an area for dog owners to bypass city leash laws (which require all dogs to be restrained by theirs owners) and are frequented by community members and their dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. Springfield is in the process of opening its first off leash dog park and Eugene already has five public dog parks. Follow us as we start to explore the rich culture of our community dog parks.