Seattle’s I-5 colonnade off-leash dog park in Eastlake

There’s a dog park under the I-5 interstate in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood. It’s here on a map. Many dog lovers hate it. It’s been called sketchy, dystopian, horrifying, and so on. But it’s not all bad. This post describes it a bit.

Entering from the Eastlake side, at Franklin and Blaine

As you’re entering you’ll see a bit of graffiti, ripped up Amazon boxes, and assorted garbage. This has come and gone over the last few years but is fairly common today.

A heavily graffitied mechanical cabinet

After a brief climb, you’ll find the entrance

Picture of entrance to dog park also showing a scary face of graffiti on the way in
The north entrance to the dog park

It has a gravel surface that gets a bit dusty, and it’s also fully covered by I-5. So it does stay dry in the rain!

A view of the fenced-in area clearly shown under the I-5 south lanes
The North entrance
Golden retriever on leash standing on concrete block inside the dog park
Ready for fun

It has a weird shape that pinches in a number of times, making it really inconvenient for e.g. frisbee throwing and long running for active dogs. I cannot tell you how many times my frisbee has hit a column and then fallen outside of the fence range, causing me to have to climb the fence and hop over.

Used needle in dirt
Watch out for needles

There are rarely any other dogs here, but when there are, it gets fairly dusty quickly. The neighbors have formed a whatsapp group that is used specifically for coordinating when people are going to this park, because it’s less fun with no other dogs, and many people don’t feel safe here alone.

Distant dog running and kicking up a dust cloud
Run and a dust cloud

There is a little pavilion with some info

sign in pavilion that points to and has some other dog related signs
The busted-up sign in the dog park pointing to, which btw is a totally dead URL 😆. I think the new URL is

And a bowl with water

Pic of water spigot and bowl in dog park under highway
Water spigot and bowl in park

The park is long and skinny and goes on for a while with different terrain.

I guess this is where the ravers go?

There are occupied tents near the south side of the park, including some within the fences of the dog park itself. I’ve never had any trouble with people living in them. The lady in the one in the dog park just zipped up her tent as the dog and I went by today.

Dusty blue tent under I-5 highway with mountain bike ramps and columns behind it.
View of tent amongst the mountain bike terrain from the dog park
Dog walking own stairs with tent in background under highway
The tent in the top right is inside the dog park itself.

Here’s the south entrance/exit

Big banner that says "I-5 Colonnade off-leash area" with "POOP WEDREA" spray painted over it in red
A nice sign really, but messed up

At least it says they like dogs

Graffiti on column that says "I love emo bitches" in red
Another welcome message

Overall an interesting park. Better than nothing, but it could use improvements, such as:

  • Lighting at night so it can be used more safely after 4pm (in winter)
  • Change the fences to avoid pinch points so we can play fetch
  • Some dogs feet are hurt by the surface. Consider a rinsed turf section or something?
Panoramic view of the dog park under I-5
Pano of park

Noise level

As you can imagine, it’s pretty noisy under there from the traffic. I made recordings in there and at a nearby location (Rogers Playfield) for comparison:

Noise level at Colonnade park
Noise level at Rogers Playfield

You can clearly hear the difference, but we can also quantitatively measure how much louder the colonnade is using a frequency analysis.

Relative frequency analysis noise comparison between the Colonnade off-leash area and a random nearby park (Rogers Playfield)

That’s roughly 10 dB less, across a broad and noisy gamut of frequencies. As you may know, deciBel’s are a logarithmic scale, so this means that the colonnade is 10x louder than somewhere down the street a bit away from the highway. Ouch.

See also:

Related dog park study

The city recently ruled out other nearby and vastly more popular but unsanctioned parks for consideration in a dog park expansion study, partially because of proximity to this park under I-5. Many dog lovers are frustrated by this because this colonnade park does not feel safe or usable to them. Rogers Playground in particular was ruled out for consideration due to:

  • Proximity to this park (minor)
  • Accessibility (minor) (what)
  • a “No Significant Vegetation” criteria (major) (this one is a real head-scratcher to me)
Rankings given in recent off leash expansion study that rules out Rogers playfield on account of this park, and “No Significant Vegetation” (from here, discussed here)

The TOPS school near Rogers playfield has announced that the city has announced that Rogers Playfield will be closed for the rest of the summer, though the actual city announcement is harder to find.

Updates: Rogers Playfield was locked off at noon on July 20th.

The graffiti pictured in this post was painted over by July 18th (though it always comes back).

Sidenote: here’s a notional park map from a sign in there showing the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park.

A graphical map of the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park sign/map from the top of the park
The I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park sign/map from the top of the park

8 thoughts on “Seattle’s I-5 colonnade off-leash dog park in Eastlake”

  1. I am curious what the sound db levels are under there. I got to imagine it’s pretty loud.

    1. They are pretty loud. I actually planned to add sound measurements to this blog post and will reply here again after I do. I’ll compare being in there to a few other places around.

  2. Thank you for writing this. Your description definitely helps. Personally, I don’t like that park for Chico or any other dogs. I believe my furry friend deserves a happy, green playground. I hope Rogers playground opens sooner and dedicates a few hours a day to dogs.

    1. Unfortunately Rogers playfield is not a sanctioned dog park and the reason for the SPR renovation this summer (according to SPR) is that dogs are ripping up the playfield surface and make it unusable for sports activities at TOPS and other neighborhood groups. I believe they plan more robust policing of Rogers after this work is done.

      1. I saw the TOPS posting linked in the post saying that, but have not seen it mentioned from SPR. Do you have a link pointing to where they say that? There’s a countering view that the playfield was in ill-repair well before there were lots of dogs there. Given the bad conditions of the colonnade OLA, there’s a strong and growing community interest in exploring options to make part of Rogers officially sanctioned for dog use in a way that doesn’t interfere with the school’s usage (e.g. after-school only hours, etc.).

        1. Rogers Playfield isn’t going to be sanctioned for off-leash dogs ever. Even if TOPS was closed as a school. WASHDoT is building noise walls for the 2900 block of Franklin which should allow an amazingly cool off-leash dog park in that triangle. If that works out, the Collonades dog park is best just closed.

          1. Not with that attitude! It was on the list for consideration in the recent study and was ruled out only due to geographic need, accessibility, and vegetation. I wouldn’t say any of those are show stoppers.

            The fact that up to 30 people have found it useful every day year round for many years even though it is totally unsanctioned is a big indication of public need. It’s the most use the field has ever gotten, I’d wager.

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