Baxter Woods

A 29 acre open space in the Deering Center neighborhood. Mayor James Phinney Baxter purchased this land which had been an estate of Congressman Francis Ormond Smith in 1882. When Mayor Baxter passed his son Governor Percival Baxter opened the woods to the public for recreational purposes.  It became known as Baxter Bird Sanctuary and several community groups developed nature trails. In April 1946 Governor Percival Baxter presented this 29 acres of woods to the people of Portland as a municipal forest. This park features shady trails, majestic tall pines, 2 ponds, open meadows and an outdoor classroom. This nature preserve in the heart of the city is visited by thousands of walkers, runners and dog owners every year.

Baxter Woods Habitat restoration area

On 10/6/2020 the City Council approved new leash rules for Baxter Woods. The full leash rules for all City properties can be found in Chapter 5 of the City Code

After two years of public discussion at the Parks Commission, Sustainability and Transportation Committee, and the City Council, the proposal for new leash rules was crafted with community input over time to allow for a more balanced use of Baxter Woods that improves wildlife habitat and allows for enjoyment of Baxter Woods by dog walkers (including on-leash and off-leash dogs), school groups, and Portlanders of all ages and backgrounds. When Governor Baxter gifted the woods to the City in 1946, the deed stated that the woods “shall forever be kept in its natural wild state and as a bird sanctuary for wild birds….”. The new rules will allow the City to serve as better stewards of the land, to honor the intent of the deed, and to make Baxter Woods welcoming to all, regardless of their background.

Staff will work with various conservation, school and community groups to create a habitat restoration area where restoration efforts would contribute to creating habitat that can support migratory bird reproduction. The habitat restoration area would be off limits to off-leash dogs year round. This is similar to efforts on the Eastern Promenade where there are designated off-leash areas, as well as wildlife habitat meadow areas. The habitat restoration area would be delineated by designating the Northern Carriage Path and areas north of it on-leash only. This on-leash path would simultaneously create a border for the habitat restoration area and give those people and pets a place to enjoy the woods as well.

(More Information on Baxter Woods Habitat Restoration Area COMING SOON.....)


Baxter Woods Ecological Assessment and Plan