GLADSTONE, Ore. -- An off-leash dog park in Gladstone was temporarily closed after one neighbor’s complaints.
Ken Yielding's home, and a portion of his neighbor's, are the only ones with yards that back up to the dog park at Valley View City Park. The alleged cleanliness and noise issues have him threatening legal action against the city.
When the open space became an official fenced, off-leash dog park a year ago, Yielding said the city of Gladstone promised there would be a buffer zone between Yielding's yard and the dog area, but that didn't happen.
"The other issue is safety for my son,” Yielding said. "He gets charged, through the fence, by these dogs barking right in his face, probably once a week or maybe more. There's dogs fighting in the backyard, and he's being traumatized each time that happens."
He also said when it rains, a large section of the park near his fence floods and there's nowhere for it to drain.
"All these dogs are coming and urinating through the fence and when we're out here in our backyard, we have to watch them defecate right in front of us, from five in the morning until ten at night," Yielding said.
He spoke in front of last week's city council meeting and has sent a letter outlining his concerns, saying if the dog park doesn't close, he'll take legal action.
Dozens of neighbors said Yielding is exaggerating the issues and they're upset his complaints have closed the park they've been using without issue since last year.
Neighbor and dog owner James Russell said before the off-leash fence was installed, everyone was using the park for their dogs anyway, but there were no rules and it was a mess.
"It was happening anyway," Russell said. "Now there's a fence there, now there's a garbage can and there's dog bags to pick up droppings. It was all unorganized before and it was horrible before going into that park because you might step in something."
Russell said he can understand that Yielding feels that he has no privacy when he's in the yard or on his deck, but he believes the city can compromise to make everyone happy.
City workers were scooping up leftover dog poop in the children's playground area of the park Tuesday morning. That's because city administrator Pete Boyce told KGW he wants to make this location work, and not move the off-leash area to another park.
Boyce said it'll be closed until the city figures out a way to enforce park rules and hours, create drainage for rain water and consider a solid fence, 30 feet back from Yielding's property, for a buffer.