You probably cannot find Eugene, Oregon on a map. And if you can't, you would be forgiven. Although the town is the second largest city in Oregon, it barely has 150,000 people. Even so, odds are, you are probably familiar with Eugene from popular culture.
Eugene is the home of the University of Oregon, which is where the movie Animal House was filmed. It is also the inspiration for Springfield, from The Simpsons (it is the hometown of creator Matt Groening). And it is the birthplace of Nike. So, you may not know where Eugene is, but you are probably familiar with it, however unintentionally.
Eugene is a hippie town. It was the smallest town to be included on The Grateful Dead's regular touring schedule. The city refused to lower the flags at city hall after President Nixon died. The town decriminalized marijuana in the mid-80s before the idea had taken serious root anywhere else in America. Every street and road large enough to have a stop light has a bike lane. It should come as no surprise that a city like Eugene has a soft heart for animals.
Dogs are welcome in Eugene, whether it is a microbrew pub or a concert hall, or just reclining on the grass on the campus of the University of Oregon. But, those dogs must be on a leash. There are, however, several places that dogs can be their canine selves, off leash, footloose, and fancy-free. One of the best places is Candlelight Dog Park.
Candlelight Dog Park is a big dog park. It is 3.5 acres and it is fenced in, with lots of room to run. There are picnic tables and benches scattered throughout the park. There are also a number of trees that dot the park, most of which are young hardwoods rather than the pine trees that Oregon is known for.
There is also a nice creek at the back of the park that leads to the Willamette. The creek is usually fairly slow but it can have a strong current at certain times of the year. Candlelight Park is a minimalist park. There isn't any agility equipment, and there isn't an enclosure for smaller dogs.
However, there is a fountain for dogs, but not one for their people. The city does provide poop bags and portable toilets, and the city keeps the grass well-mown and the fencing in great shape. The park is open twenty-four hours, so actually getting to the park when it's open isn't a problem. Getting your dogs to leave, however, might be difficult.