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Skateboarding at the Portland City Council

Come make the City Council understand the importance of supporting skateboarders in Portland. Wed, July 20th, 6 pm, Portland City Hall (1221 SW 4th), in the Council Chambers.
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
Council Chambers
6 PM

homepage: homepage: http://www.skatersforpublicskateparks.org/
phone: phone: 503-282-1034

Relevant articles 19.Jul.2005 13:53

Kent Dahlgren

The following articles/reports are pertinent to the topic at hand for those who may be interested in learning more. And, of course, more of the same information is available on our web site. A sample of skateboarders in Portland, pertaining to age and athletic preferences: http://www.spsdev.org/Portland_skate_survey_r3.pdf Aperio Consulting's report on the impact of skateparks on neighborhoods: http://www.spsdev.org/TheUrbanGrind-lowres.pdf


Nice article 19.Jul.2005 20:04

bEn

You should definantily talk to the head of the Mercury, Mr. Busse. When he was running for mayor one of his largest focuses was on the skate parks. I'm sure he would help out.

While you're at it... 19.Jul.2005 21:09

Sephiroth

Don't forget to address the need for more all-age music and entertainment venues, too many of the best bands still can only find 21+ concerts to play - we need to break down the age wall!