Wednesday, June 2There have been a lot of ugly rumors going around concerning Burnside lately. The main one is that the park will be destroyed due to a huge building project in the neighborhood. I have to admit that I even got caught up in the doom and gloom scenario.(see earlier post)
Well, within the past couple of weeks a whole slew of new info has become available and I think a lot of people were jumping to conclusions before they had all of the facts, me included. There have been a couple of meetings that have cleared up the questions about what was happening in the area.
The first meeting was a public announcement of sorts with the PDC, Portland Development commission, and their plans for the Central Eastside redevelopment. One of the big issues was a plan to have a Home Depot come to the area. This did not go over well with the local business owners. I believe there were only negative comments concerning the proposal. Representing skateboarders, and specifically Burnside, Tom Miller, from Skaters for Portland Skateparks, spoke at the meeting and received a standing ovation. It was the only standing ovation at the meeting. That's great news, considering the rumors that were circulating that the end was near.
The next meeting wasn't really a meeting concerning the future of the park, although it did touch on it. It was attended by a few CEIC members, including Joanne Ferarro, Mark "Red" Scott, Tom Miller, and myself. The main reason for the meeting was to figure out how the money that the CEIC has been handling for Burnside would be taken care of. The money had never really been an issue with Burnside, due to the fact that it was never really a substantial amount. But, Steven Baldwin, of the Hollywood Baldwins, came and did a Christian documentary with some local Christian skaters at Burnside. As a thank you, the organization that sponsored Baldwin donated 10 G's. So, now due to the amount of money in the Burnside fund, the CEIC wanted someone else to control it. Burnside has now become a non-profit organization so it can control it's own money.
Burnside has a good reputation and the local business's, PDC, CEIC, and even the city, all support it. With this kind of support I don't think we really have anything to worry about. Yet, it is inevitable that there will be a new look and feel to the area. There WILL be new buildings, there WILL be new challenges, and there WILL be those who want us gone. But now that Burnside is organized and has the proper backing, there really isn't much to worry about. The park is fine and will continue to be there for some time to come.