Address: 5700 NE Halsey St. Portland, OR 97213
Size Segregated: Yes
How many sections: 3
Note on location: Unfenced area is not for offleash dog fun, and you will get in trouble with rangers if you violate this. Also, you can approach small dog area from 55th, which would allow you to avoid large dogs altogether except those on leash in the park.
Weather/Health Conditions: Very muddy, very large puddles; giardia is a concern here so be aware. Staying dry/warm is unlikely during the winter. However, during summer it is well shaded and there is running water.
Training and Enrichment Opportunities: Because rangers are so on top of leash rules in the park, it’s a good place to practice on-leash manners around other dogs, long-leash recall work, and even dog-dog reactivity work at a safe distance.
General Thoughts: Samuel
We went to Normandale on a Wednesday around 12:30 and stayed for a good 45 minutes. The party was myself (Samuel), Rick the black terrier, Rosie with pooches Fiske (Jack Russell) and Bill (mini terrier), my partner Hannah and her min pin/chi mix Boba.
It was another rainy day (surprise!) and there were quite a few large puddles throughout the park. Be prepared with towels for this winter outing. Unfortunately, we we’re not so prepared!
Boba and Bill hung out in the small dog area. That space was relatively puddle-free and the duo stayed pretty clean. They didn’t see any other little dogs during their stay, which worked just fine for them. Boba enjoyed sprinting about and patrolling the perimeter. Bill spent his stint requesting to be held (not an unusual activity for him).
Rick and Fiske split their time in each of the two large dog areas, which were quite flooded. Having the option to switch sides is handy; everyone at the park was pretty well behaved, but that can sometimes vary and having the ability to exit a potential situation without leaving the part altogether is really nice. Each large dog area is also roughly the same size, which I appreciate, as there’s no need to compromise crazy running space for my crazy terrier. It makes creating a safe and enriching outing for your pup much easier.
We probably ran into about 5-7 dogs during our park time. Which is another thing I love about Normandale Park. You will pretty much always run into at least a handful of dogs whatever day/time you go. Though the small dog area does tend to be a bit slower, if memory serves, it picks up on Saturdays.
-Samuel Power, CPDT-KA (and Rick!)
General Thoughts: Rosie
I always enjoy Normandale, particularly because I like the two different “big dog” areas. Since Fiske has some social issues, I appreciate being able to switch sides if there is a dog/group that he’s not comfortable with. It’s also so large that I can really get some distance on Fiske’s ball. I also really enjoy the various logs that they’ve left lying around (trees, really), as Fiske can practice his agility skills on them!
The park is certainly not pristine in the winter; I have included some photos of our trip there in which Fiske’s lovely white coat demonstrates the effects of the park’s significant mud issues. This can also be a health concern because of giardia and other water-borne illnesses, so keep that in mind, especially for immunocompromised pooches such as puppies, older dogs, and already ill dogs.
One thing that I have noticed at Normandale that particular applies to pooches like Fiske, who are very ball-focused, is that the size of the park is a two-sided coin. On the one hand, you can really let fly and get your dog a lot of great exercise. On the other hand, if there happens to be a ball-possessive dog at the park, your dog might end up far from you when that other dog gets reactive, and it would take you a long time to get there to intervene. So, just keep that in mind if you’re seeing another dog guarding its ball. And of course, please do not bring toys to the park if your dog is a toy-guarder.
Finally, the small dog area does seem a generally pretty calm place, though there aren’t as many dogs there as on the big dog side. Since Bill is usually with Fiske and I (Fiske might be 25 pounds, but he does much better with bigger dogs), we generally don’t use that area, but it’s large enough that small dogs can actually get some running in, unlike a lot of small-dog parks, and it does have shade in summer, as well as running water.
-Rosie Schurman, CPDT-KA (and Fiske, and Bill)