Pesticide-Free Parks—Safe for Kids and 4-Legged Companions

By Michael Wade

What strange smells propel our faithful 4-legged friends along the paths we walk? There are many we don’t even know are there, among them the sweet odors of pesticides and herbicides. While not usually harmful after they have been applied and dried, when encountered in an active state these substances are linked to a variety of ailments in dogs and should be avoided.

Better yet, don’t use pesticides at all. That is the objective of a contingent of Portlanders in several pesticide-free parks in the city. The Pesticide-Free Parks program, begun several years ago, officially covers five parks. At these parks, under an agreement with the city, citizens weed and mulch for a couple of hours each month to make application of pesticides and herbicides unnecessary. If you walk your dog in Sewallcrest, Lair Hill, Arbor Lodge, Midland, or Hillside parks, your dog is pesticide free (at least while in the park).

The Pesticide-Free Parks volunteers are always looking for help and to expand their reach into other parks. If you would like to connect with them, write to pdxpesticidefreeparks@gmail.com or to Steve Pixley of the City of Portland’s Volunteer Services at Steve.Pixley@portlandoregon.gov.

Come on out, meet some great people, and help them make your park Pesticide Free!