Like most cities and park districts, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department requires that dogs be leashed on most parks land. Unfortunately, the rule putting the requirement in place doesn’t specifically say that a person must be holding the leash, and some park visitors have used that lack to excuse letting their leashed dogs run free.

Those folks are too clever by half, no doubt, but they do highlight the lack of clarity in the current rule.

The Parks and Recreation Commission, which sets policy for the department, is being asked to revise that rule and others when it meets in July. Meanwhile, a series of public hearings on the changes is being held around the state. The only one east of the Cascades will be in Bend at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn Express, 20615 Grandview Drive.

Among the proposed changes is one that says that someone must hold onto the leash to which a dog is attached.

Other proposals include ones that set a limit on how many berries, mushrooms, fruits and the like may be picked for personal consumption (5 gallons a day); clarify what may and may not be used in campfires (untreated wood, yes; gasoline, no), and require special permits for organized groups of more than 50.

Many of the proposed changes simply tidy up existing language, to be sure. Others, however, are more substantial.

For example, hunting would be banned at six Willamette River Greenways, mostly in the Eugene area, where nearby development makes it dangerous. Too, most rule violations would become Class D violations, many with a specific fine of $60.

A complete copy of the proposed changes is available at the district’s website, The meeting announcement and directions to the rules may be found in the NewsStand section of the home page.