Volunteers trying to build skateparks in Portland » Blog Archive » Airspeed concept for Gabriel Park

Volunteers trying to build skateparks in Portland

Skaters for Portland Skateparks mission is to create a comprehensive system of world-class public skateparks in Portland, Oregon.

Our vision is to make skateboarding safe and freely accessible to every skateboarder every day for everybody’s benefit.

Skaters for Portland Skateparks is a non-profit corporation, tax exempt pursuant to 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

Board of Directors:
Colin Sharp
Bryce Kanights
Mark Conahan

Airspeed concept for Gabriel Park

Airspeed Gabriel Park Skatepark concept

I have been trying for a couple of weeks to get Parks to let me have a look at Airspeed’s winning concept for Gabriel Park and there it is on the Airspeed website.

Thanks to Randy Gawlik for the tip.

19 Responses to “Airspeed concept for Gabriel Park”

  1. Peter Says:

    I hope that isn’t the final design.

  2. Josh Says:

    I think that design looks pretty sick. I still think a snake run would be a rad addition.

  3. aaron Says:

    its a good design but the flat bar and ledge on the side should go down a bank or some stairs

  4. mike Says:

    Please, will someone help skateboarding in portland!!!!!! This is out of control. I feel so bad for all the kids in town that just want a good place to skate with a VARIATION of terrain. Please, lets get together and do something about the current parks. Lets fight Dreamland and others. They Build great parks but they design garbage.

  5. mike Says:

    battleground Washington. They got it right up there so why can’t we figure it out??

  6. jf Says:

    not too stoked about the first look either. I wish they would use the natural slope at Gabriel and design around it…like a cool snake run with a bowl or something like that. Also the fact that everything is connected could be sketchy…small kids in the small bowl and big kids in the big bowl going fast don’t mix too well.

  7. Rod Says:

    It’s unfortunate that you want to paint Parks as being unresponsive when I emailed Mark C. three times while I was on vacation telling him that the Gabriel Park design is still in the hands of the City’s Purchasing Department and that he should contact them. When do I get cut some slack?

    To reiterate, Purchasing is working with Airspeed to get them under contract. Once they are I can get a digi copy of their design and can share it with the public. In the meantime, Michale Perrie is your man.

    Airspeed has indicated to me that their second design reiteration will look very different from this one. They will present it to the Community on June 26th from 7-8:30 at the Multnomah Arts Center at 7688 SW Capitol Hwy.

    And no Pete, this is not the final design. Mike, this park will ba tranny focused and Ed Benedict will be a plaza. The RFP for that design/build team is now on the street and will be due June 12th.

  8. cs Says:

    Because its all hooked up people are guna crash like crazy and theres hardly any street. I hope it isnt built like this because not only will people crash and stuff but there are already parks in portland that have tranny. people want a park to keep skaters off the street. People who skate street obviously want a more street oriented park. I skate street all the time and if this is the park I might go to it a couple times, but most of the time ill be off down town skating street.

  9. mark.conahan Says:

    The guilty flee where none pursue! I apologize if I gave the impression that I was being held up by Parks. I wasn’t complaining, I happened to make my request when both Rod and Michael were not in the office. I was surprised to find the image on the Airspeed website while I was waiting to hear back, that’s all. Once again we see the drawbacks of internet communication – it’s too easy to read things between the lines that aren’t really there.

  10. kilwag Says:

    I think it is important to relay what I’ve heard about the process, mainly that the park design was not a major part of what got Airspeed the job – Meaning that their overall approach to the bid was more important. So what you are looking at up top is not necessarily THE design for the park, just one suggestion. Geth has said elsewhere that he is committed to working with the skating community to building something we want. Let’s take him at his word.

  11. Neil Johnson Says:

    Not only Portland, but skatepark design in the whole pacific northwest is becoming completely pathetic. I was glad to read that at least some people are starting to speak out. That Airspeed design is WEAK. Enough with the over-vert/full-pipe baloney. Can anyone from Airspeed, Dreamland, or Grindline even pull their heads out of their butts long enough to see what the majority of skaters ride at the parks that are in existence? Are they even vaguely aware of how amazing it feels to pop your tail and do an ollie? Do they study what park builders are doing in other parts of the world? Do they consider beginners or the progression of the sport? Do they care anymore? Or is it just about their egos and what they want and the money and showing off how gnarly they can build with concrete. Why are the bowls even getting worse? Has anyone figured out how to really hit that 45 hip in the bowl at Glenhaven? Flat-top on the cradle at Battleground? “The Helmet” in Polson? Florence?……….

    We need variety. How about some clean lines and simplicity. How about really examining the architecture the kids are street skating on in magazines and videos? We have enough swimming pool replicas at skateparks. Check out some of what Newline Skateparks is building recently in Canada. Team Pain built a park in St. Petersburg, Florida that is outstanding and check out some of their indoor parks. Site Design did some great parks in Arizona.

  12. Tom Miller Says:


    Your plaza is coming next to Ed Benedict Park at SE 100th and Powell. That’s been communicated many times now.

    Personally, I would characterize Glenhaven as a very simple, very traditional design. The only novel in the pool is the little bit of flat wall in the shallow, and that’s really subtle. The mid-bowl is a rectangular mini ramp with a novel extension/hip combo. I skated Glenhaven a lot in the first few weeks before returning to Pier (my preference of the two). During that time I saw plenty of folks blast that 45 degree hip. Overall, I’d say Glenhaven is the simplest design Dreamland has ever done in an 11,000 square foot footprint. That’s not to say you have to like it obviously, but if you want simple, Glenhaven is about as simple as they come.

    I’ve skated most of Site’s work in Arizona. The street initially was weak but has become quite good though formulaic, e.g. Peoria and Tempe. The tranny remains subpar. The closest thing they’ve done to good tranny is Goodyear, and while a huge step forward for them, there are obvious mistakes there.

  13. Tom Miller Says:

    Also, Kilwag makes a good point for folks about the relative importance of the proposed design in the selection process. Rod can and should speak to that as he drafted the RFP and presumably selected the criteria and its weighting.

    I have copies of the RFPs and proposals for Gabriel and Glenhaven. My intention is to scan and post them on our site when I get the chance. My preference would be for Parks to do this on their website as a matter of transparency since they’re the public agency whose mission is to serve us. However, this is not their standard protocol so we’ll do it ourselves if we can.

  14. Neil Johnson Says:


    It is great that a plaza park is going to be built. I hope it will be designed by someone who truly appreciates that type of park and who maybe even has experience building them.

    My concern runs much deeper than just getting a plaza park. I’m pleading for a fundamental change in Pacific Northwest skatepark design. I want to see parks that are completely functional and accessible to a wide range of skaters. These are community parks that are being built with public money. I believe the parks should be examined, evaluated, and openly critiqued. There are still significant flaws in the parks being built. Shouldn’t we try to avoid the same mistakes in the future? I’m exasperated with how the major Northwest skatepark companies and the older skatepark advocates won’t even acknowledge the inequity in terrain favoring large transitions. C’mon dudes. Are you certain that what you want is what is really best? I think there are plenty of giant sprawling bowls that only safely accommodate one skater at a time. The reality is that most skaters aren’t interested in vert bowls.

    You describe the Arizona street parks as being “formulaic”. If the formula is adequately spaced and well proportioned standard obstacles, then I am all for it. Here the formula is to make the bowl as big as you can get away with and then adorn it with some sort of over-vert gimmick. How many tricks have you ever seen in a full-pipe or “hoody”. I bet you can count them on your hands even if you count a carve as a trick. I’ve witnessed lots of creative and advanced skateboarding go down on pyramids, manual pads, euro-gaps, mini-ramps(mini-bowls), ledges, curbs …. Plus, beginners can learn tricks on them as well.

  15. Farvah Says:

    What ever happened to a tennis court with a bank ramp?
    ankle high flatbars, and a ill wicked jump ramp?
    my kind of park people…..lol wait? i love longview.
    In my day we drove an hour to get some of that..
    groms dont know how good they got it..
    get off the nipple. Sheckler is god

  16. Tom Miller Says:


    Thanks for the well-articulated, reasonably presented comment. It’s a rarity to read a skatepark-related comment on an internet-based forum that prioritizes substance over drama. (Which helps to explain why many of us who have been doing skatepark advocacy for awhile no longer spend much time sharing thoughts on the internet.)

    My view is that the “fundamental change” you seek in NW skateparks will not happen in the foreseeable future. Two reasons: first, the design/build teams that win most of the jobs in Cascadia (WA/OR) have different views on good skatepark design than you do. Second, even if most skaters agree with you – and I’m not sure they do – most are content to simply let the public procurement processes unfold without their active involvement.

    Said another way, the Dreamlands and the Grindlines generally enjoy very strong reputations in the PNW. It’s why they continue to win jobs.

    Obviously the PNW has been lacking on the non-bowl side of the skatepark front. (Notice I didn’t call it “street.”) I’d say Dreamland made strides with Glenhaven, and the Grindline/Dreamland combination did even better at Battle Ground. But it still doesn’t match the NewLine work in Canada. You know that NewLine was selected to design the Ed Benedict Skatepark in Portland, come 2008. NewLine is currently considered the best in the business; we should hope and expect that ushers in a new era of plaza-style terrain in the PNW.

    Having NewLine’s design work locally won’t result in a “fundamental change” to PNW skatepark design. Instead it will supplement what is already present, i.e. what most consider to be the very best bowl/tranny-focused work in the world. Based on today’s standards, my sense is that most skaters would consider a Dreamland/Grindline type paradigm for tranny paired with a NewLine design idiom for plaza to be the best of all known possibilities. There will be a lot of momentum behind that reality.

  17. Yonnie Says:

    So this bowl idea looks great But where is the street section? there is a lot more street skaters around the Gabriel park area. please just put it in some street stuff! bowls are fun but not for everyone. we need a PLAZA!! There is no good parks to skate on the west side of the river unless you want weak little bowl parks for little kids with there hot moms….i don’t mind the hot moms though there pretty cool. Plaza the west side!!

  18. mark.conahan Says:

    Read the comments. Ed Benedict will be a Street Plaza and was supposed to be next but they switched the order. Check out the 19 parks page, find out what parks are still to be decided in your area. Get involved, go to meetings.

  19. cole Says:

    Great Ed Benedict will be a street plaza! While that sounds great people need variety in their local park. I am local to the Gabriel area and some tranny is fun to mess around on, but I want street too. Why cant there be a street section with a bowl next to it? Its not black and white. Only street and only tranny parks just doesnt make sense if your goal is to make as many skaters happy as you can.

Leave a Reply