Residents want south Ashland dog park

Ashland resident Larry Graves would like a few more places to go to the dogs.

A grass plot on the corner of Iowa Street and Walker Avenue, for example.

The retired aeronautical engineer is trying to establish a south Ashland dog park there.

"I don't have a big yard and I think a lot of folks are in the same boat," he said. "It's inconvenient to drive 15 minutes to the other dog park every day."

Dozens of nearby dog owners use the land as a de facto dog park already, instead of going to the city dog park in North Ashland, off Nevada Street, Graves said.

But dogs are not technically permitted on the partially fenced field, which is owned by Southern Oregon University, said spokesman Jim Beaver.

"Dogs are not allowed," he said. "It's a baseball field. It's state-owned property."

SOU plans to move the campus' soccer fields there, Beaver said.

"We have plans for that," he said. "We're using it now and we have plans to use it in the future."

The grass is already used by the university's softball team and intramural and club sports teams, he said.

Sometimes dog waste is left on the grass, and "the softball team doesn't appreciate that," Beaver said.

Graves said he and his neighbors clean-up after their dogs.

"We're about the best clean-up patrol you could ask for," he said. "We pick up after other dogs."

Miriam Reed, Graves' neighbor on Prospect Street, said SOU doesn't seem to use the field frequently.

"In all my years of going to this field, only occasionally have I seen any games being played," she said.

Graves said he doesn't want to have a "fancy dog park" put in at the location, he'd just like to be legally permitted to bring his yellow Labrador, Jackson, there.

"I don't want anyone to have to spend any money," he said. "I just don't want to keep getting rousted by the campus security and the Ashland cops. I'd like the authorities to tell them, 'If the dogs aren't bothering anybody, leave them alone.'"

City Councilman Russ Silbiger, who helped establish the city dog park, said he supports Graves' efforts to create another dog park in south Ashland.

"Personally, I think it'd be a great idea and my dog also thinks so," he said. "It's always been something I would have personally liked to see on this end of town. There are a lot of dog owners in town, and not a lot of places to take dogs."

Dogs are not allowed in any of the city's developed neighborhood parks, or in Lithia Park, said Don Robertson, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Those who flout the law can be stuck with a $362 citation, according to the Ashland Police Department.

Former Ashland Mayor Cathy Shaw said she also supports Graves' efforts.

"I love this idea," she said. "It would not limit the area for future development for SOU and would be a pretty sweet thing to see as people drive by."

Graves plans to contact the Ashland Parks Commission and Southern Oregon University officials to see if he can work out a deal between both parties to allow dogs in the park.

Silbiger said he might get involved — as a resident, not as a councilman — in the grassroots effort.

"It took citizen involvement the first time around to get a dog park going and likely that's what it'll take again," he said.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

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