Tuesday, September 7I was down at the park this weekend and a couple of people came up and asked if it was true that part of the park was going to be destroyed. I was totally surprised. I was like, "What the hell are you talking about?". They said that they heard the park was on someone else's property and they wanted it back. I just kind of laughed and told them not to believe what they hear about the future of the park unless it's from a certain group of people. Stop with "the sky is falling" stories about the park. Nothing is going to happen to it. There is a group of us that are watching out for the well-being of the park.
The reason for this latest round of "the park is going to be dozed" rumors is because Kent was out measuring a plot of land called parcel 4. Parcel 4 is a small piece of land that cuts into the northwest side of the park by about 12 feet and runs east 100 ft, almost to the square bowl. Here is the map of the area.
Going right across the center of the map is the Burnside bridge. Look for the two 4's on the map, that is parcel 4. If you notice how parcel 4 extends from under the bridge by about 10-15 ft, that is the parking lot.
I can understand why people might get a little worried, but to me it looks like a great opportunity to expand the park. We have squatted half of parcel 4 for more than 14 years now and I think, with all of the Burnside Bridgehead development coming up, we have a bit of leverage to acquire the rest of parcel 4. Of course it's a little early to really say one way or the other, but I will be pushing hard for it.
Last week, after I found out about this, I went over to the Portland Development Commission headquarters to find out who owned parcel 4 and ended up speaking with the project manager of the bridgehead development, Michael O'Connell. They have been picking up the land around the Burnside area for their project, so I thought if anyone would know, they would. I was surprised that Mr. O'Connell took the time to speak to me, and even more so that he was somewhat supportive. I say somewhat because it is still a bit early in the whole project to really get any definitive answers.
I explained the parcel 4 deal to Mr. O'Connell and told him that Burnside is very interested in getting the rest of parcel 4 to expand the skatepark. But like I said, he really couldn't give any real firm answers to my request due to the development still being in the very early stages. I told him that when the developers start meeting with the public with their plans, which is required a minimum of 3 times, I will be at each one trying to get as much land for the park as possible. He was very receptive to my ideas.
I could go on, but everything is still so up in the air that it really isn't needed yet. My point of all this is that there are those of us that are taking care of the park and looking out for it's best interest. If you see us out there measuring or looking for survey marks on the ground, don't worry. We're just trying to figure out how big we can build the park.
One last thing. In the near future the park is going to get a facelift. Red is going to be getting together with a few of us to figure out what we should fix, build, or rebuild before Halloween. So if you have any requests or ideas that you think the park should get, hop over to the Punk Wall in the Burnside forum and let us know what in the thread "Rebuild or go home".
That's it. Go skate!