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City ready to roll with Steel Bridge skatepark plan

    Dude. The city of Portland hopes to hire a team by late February to help create a large new skatepark at the west end of the Steel Bridge.

    It’s part of a seven-year-old plan to build several skateparks around the city where young people can skateboard and rollerblade on a series of bowls, ramps, rails, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, pyramids, flatbanks and jumps.

    One of the largest of the planned parks, around 35,000 square feet, could be built on a triangular piece of property between Northwest Everett Street, Naito Parkway and Northwest First Avenue, near the west ramp of the Steel Bridge.

    That project, considered the “crown jewel” of the skatepark plan, was estimated seven years ago to cost about $1.5 million. Today, there’s no money identified in the city budget for the project, but it could be built with a mix of public/private funds, said Tom Miller, chief of staff to Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

    City officials will take proposals Jan. 9 from design and development consultants who want to work on the project. A team should be hired by mid-February, with work beginning soon after.

    About $50,000 has been set aside to design what the city calls “a world class, one-of-a-kind, multifunctional recreation place with an emphasis on skateboarding in a complex urban environment.” Design teams will have to show “an understanding of how design details impact the skateboarder’s experience.”

    No money has been set aside — yet — for construction of the park.

    When it will be built is ‘unclear’

    Development of a skatepark at the west end of the Steel Bridge has been on the drawing board since 2001, when then-City Commissioner Charlie Hales worked with business groups, neighborhood associations and a skatepark advisory group known as SPLAT (Skatepark Leadership Advisory Team) to develop plans for a series of skateparks. Projects, sites and funding were all whittled during nearly three dozen meetings with the groups.

    A Portland Parks and Recreation levy in 2002 included money to develop two neighborhood skateparks. The overall plan was to build at least a dozen parks around the city, some small, neighborhood sites and a few large ones in more central locations.

    – Excerpt from the Portland Tribune, November 18, 2008


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