The average age of the skateboarder is 14, and most prefer skating urban (or "street-style") elements, such as stairs, rails, etc. According to the Sporting Goods Association, there are more skateboarders than baseball players, and skateboarding is statistically safer than soccer, baseball, football, or basketball. A study in Texas showed how a skateboarder's heart rate doubles in "about 2-3 seconds," thus demonstrating its athletic benefit; one item of value in a nation facing an epidemic of youth obesity.
Yet skateboarders are criminalized as if they were just another "economically undesirable" class as the homeless, forced out of public areas, yet are afforded no recreational alternatives. Just what exactly is a kid, aged 8-18, supposed to do in Portland? A huge number of them skateboard, and are thus "criminals" because too few safe and legal alternatives exist.
In Portland we have Burnside (built entirely by skateboarder labor and funds 15 years ago), and Pier Park (dangerous in its construction, but currently to be redeveloped by funds raised by skateboarders). That's it, for the estimated 28,000 Portland skateboarders.
The meeting on the 20th gives the public a chance to communicate the need to support skateboard kids in the City of Portland. We are NOT just asking for Portland taxpayers to pay for all skateparks; an aggressive grass-roots fundraising effort has been in place and will remain so for the duration, already raising over $150,000. But some support is necessary, not the least being a recognition that skateboarding is productive, positive, and should be supported and encouraged rather than criminalized.
Kids, aged on average 14, should not be forced to run from the police and hide in the shadows in places like the Pearl simply because they cannot afford $4 cups of coffee.
We're seeking skateboarders, skateboarding supporters, friends and families to come out and voice support for skateboard kids. Time and location, again:
Wednesday, July 20th
Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th ave