Oregon Parks

by Jon Humphries It’s funny how the politics of life in the mainstream can sneak into something like skateboarding, and you don’t even know it. I’m referring to how skateboarding is gaining common public acceptance. Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s period of skateboarding, skateparks were virtually unheard of¿especially a public park that’s free and built by the city government. This period was also a time when skateboarding was at an all-time low. This was a time when the kid whose parents were involved with city government was playing Little League. The jock in high school wasn’t trying to launch out of the bowl at the skatepark. In other words, you were an outcast.

The terrain consisted of what you made of it¿curbs and ghetto launch ramps. There was no such thing as a cement transition. In the last few years skateboarding has slowly been taking over Little League. A very obvious reason behind some of these suburban skateparks is the growing popularity of skateboarding through such things as the X-Games and Gravity Games. America is taught what to accept by watching television.

But along with these new people involved with skateboarding come rules! For example, the rule about wearing pads at public skateparks. It defeats the whole purpose of getting the kids off the streets. Or take for instance the Ashland, Oregon skatepark. My job is shooting photos of skateboarding, yet I get hassled for having a camera in the park! At a public skatepark, built with taxpayers’ money, I’m getting hassled for shooting photos!

I was also trying to be a respectable photographer by trying to go the responsible route of asking to shoot photos after-hours. The park officials gave me some crazy run-around that wasted half my day of skating, only to end up with the politician who heads the city parks not even taking two minutes out of his day to talk with me.

Oregon has lots of cement, good cement, courtesy of Mark “Red” Scott, and Mike Swim and his crew.

In the early 90s, Bud Clark, the mayor of Portland, had a son who skateboarded. I think this was part of the reason for the governmental acceptance of early Burnside. And this also in part had something to do with Howard Weiner of Cal State and Sport, receiving money to open a joint skatepark with the city. He used city money to make a skatepark built entirely of mini ramps and a vert ramp when skating was completely dead. I think that was my only experience as a kid with city-funded parks.

I think I’m just jealous of the opportunity of today’s kids. Where was my public park the whole time I was growing up? I guess the only thing to do now is enjoy what has been built.

Ashland, Jacksonville, and Talent¿all in Oregon¿are three of the best parks I’ve skated. All three can be skated without even stepping off your board to push. All the coping is set perfectly, and there’re virtually no kinks in any of the transitions¿unheard of in most of today’s new public, city-built parks.

Lincoln City Skate Park is a piece of artwork. The creator of the course is Mark Scott. He could build a better skatepark than anybody, even with his hands tied behind his back and blindfolded. The park consists of a mini-ramp snakerun that empties into a vert bowl. Endless amounts of line variations, and you can go up and down the snakerun without taking a foot off your board.

If a snakerun was in the movie 2001 Space Odyssey, this would be the future. Concious

It took a while to find a line, and then I was hooked¿not ever wanting to stop, but killed by darkness.

Medford, Oregon is ten miles above Ashland and should be completed as you read this¿could be the next big thing to Cracker Jacks.

Other parks in Oregon worth checking out are St. Helens (45 minutes Northwest of Portland), and Beaverton (site of B3), which has a vert ramp. Keiser features crazy-playground colors and some good skating. Salem and Tualitin parks round it off.

I guuess my whole point is I wish my parents had something to do with the city government when I was growing up. Well, maybe not, I might push mongo-footed.