I always leash my dog. But right now, both Zuzu and I are missing our unleashed friends terribly. Baxter Woods is an asset held in common by the citizens of Portland. I think those who love and use the park should take precedent. So why has the city imposed incoherent rules for using this park?

Presently, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., all dogs must be on a leash at all times of the year. This makes sense. Folks who don’t want to deal with dogs can walk in the park during those designated times.

But from April 1 to July 31, dogs must be on a leash at all times. This is allegedly to protect birds. If that was the case, why hasn’t the city imposed similar rules at the 11 other city parks that allow unleashed dogs? As Marc Lesperance charges in his lawsuit (“Portland man sues city over Baxter Woods leash law,” May 3), the reason is that the rule is unenforceable.

What we have here is poor governance. This is a “half a loaf” rule, enacted to accommodate a vocal few, which pleases nobody and angers just about everybody. From April to August, people who love this park choose to not use it. Most mornings, I see one or two neighbors when I used to greet a dozen friends and their pups. That is a tragedy.

It’s time the city resolves this issue in favor of those who love and use Baxter Woods – and their pups.

John Schaberg

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