Tips For A Safe Park Visit

Two Park Rangers talk with a group of 4 people in a grassy field
Portlanders love parks – and we do too. As with everything, safety comes first! You can help protect the natural and cultural resources of our public spaces and keep you and your fellow visitors safe by following these simple tips.

1. Know Before You Go - We Can Help!

Four children going down a slide in a Portland Park

Find a park or natural area with your favorite activities using the Park Finder page. Before you go, review Trail Closure information, and learn if you need a permit for your event or activity.

Top concerns that our Park Rangers address in parks:

  • Attaching items to trees, poles or picnic benches (like slacklines or hammocks) is not allowed. 
  • Loud music and alcohol can disturb other park visitors. You can drink alcohol and play amplified music by obtaining a permit from our Customer Service Center.
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times, and poop must be picked up. PP&R has a wide variety of off-leash areas where your pooch can run free!
  • Smoking and drugs are not allowed in parks.

Not sure if your activity is allowed? Check out our Park Rules for a list of prohibited activities in parks.

2. Leave No Trace

A group of visitors walking on a brick walkway in a rose garden

In order to steward our land for this generation and the next, PP&R strives to create a culture of “Leave No Trace”. We encourage visitors to be positive stewards of our parks by:

  • Planning ahead and getting permits when needed. Be legit, get a permit!
  • Putting trash where it belongs and picking up the poo!
  • Leaving what you find: rocks, flowers, etc.
  • Keeping wildlife wild by sticking to trails and leashing dogs.
  • Being considerate of other visitors.

Thank you for making sure you leave our parks as good or better than you found them.

3. Be Aware and Report Problems

Five kids play basketball on a court in a park, with the child in a red t shit preparing to pass the ball

You can help keep our parks and natural areas safe by reporting concerns or problems.

Common safety tips our Park Rangers provide to our visitors, include:

  • Being aware of your surroundings and keeping your belongings with you.
  • Checking play equipment, sports fields, and play areas for any issues that need to be reported, such as damaged play equipment, holes, broken glass, etc.
  • Park vegetation, logs, and rocks are often critical habitats for urban wildlife. Please teach children to leave these items undisturbed.
  • Monitor children’s play on playgrounds and be sure to remove bike helmets while playing on equipment.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed, or follow them. Squirrels and birds nest are in parks even when not visible.

Learn about how to report problems in parks and how Park Rangers can help solve user conflicts, permit issues, and more.

4. Keep it Green

Two people sit on a blanket in a park with children standing in the background

Our parks and natural areas are full of abundant flowers, trees, and vegetation. Trees and vegetation are essential infrastructure in the city and provide a multitude of environmental and public health benefits, including mitigating the effects of climate change. 

You can help keep parks and natural areas green by:

  • Protecting our trees. Do not attach anything to trees or climb them, for their protection and your safety.
  • Don't be tempted to cut or remove roses from our public rose gardens. These beauties are for the enjoyment of all, and removing them is a violation of City Code.
  • Treat all living plants with respect. Carving, hacking, or peeling plants and trees may kill them.

5. Remove valuables from your vehicle

Ranger checks on a yellow parked vehicles with lights on.

A car prowl can be completed in a minute or less at any time of day and in various settings, from street parking to parking lots and garages. Most vehicle prowls are done as a crime of opportunity. An offender will often choose a car to break into based on the perception of the items of value visible in the vehicle. The following list includes some things anyone can do to help reduce the chance of your vehicle becoming a target for car prowls:

  • Remove all valuables and bags when leaving your vehicle. Before reaching your destination store them in the trunk if you cannot take them with you.
  • Close vehicle windows and lock vehicle doors every time.
  • Keep unused chargers and accessories in your glove box.
  • Be observant when you exit or enter your parked vehicle, stop and take a look around the area. Report any suspicious activity to park rangers or the police.