Leash Laws


Dogs in Baxter Woods

Please respect rules and etiquette to ensure everyone’s enjoyment of the park.

Season & Hours:

  • April 1st – July 31st, annually: Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • August 1st – March 31st, annually: Dogs permitted off-leash and under "voice control" from 6:30am-9am and from 3pm-10pm.
  • All Year Round: Dogs must be leashed in habitat restoration area, at all times.
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“Voice Control” means your dog obeys verbal commands.

  • Owner MUST have a leash in hand and remain within 50 feet of the dog at all times. No more than 3 dogs per person and dogs MUST remain WITHIN SIGHT of the owner.
  • Aggressive Dog Behavior will not be tolerated in the park at any time.
  • Proper Disposal of dog waste is mandatory and the law! Failure to clean up after your dog is a violation of city ordinance and results in a $250 Fine.

Portland Park Ranger: 

(207)-232-3721

Portland Police Animal Control: 

(207)-874-8575

City Council Approved Leash Laws for Baxter woods

On 10/5/2020 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 have worked with various conservation, school and community groups to create a habitat restoration area where restoration efforts contribute to creating habitat that can support migratory bird reproduction. The habitat restoration area is 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 is delineated by designating the Northern Carriage Path and areas north of it on-leash only. This on-leash path simultaneously creates a border for the habitat restoration area and gives those wishing for an on-leash area a place to enjoy the woods, as well. 

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