Volunteers trying to build skateparks in Portland » Blog Archive » End of an Era: Rod Wojtanik Moves on

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

End of an Era: Rod Wojtanik Moves on

Rod skateparks

Rod Wojtanik, one of the most influential voices in Pacific Northwest skateboarding, is packing his bags for a new professional opportunity and leaving behind skatepark development. Rod recently announced his pending departure from the City of Portland’s Parks & Recreation bureau for a landscape architecture position with Metro, Portland’s regional government. He’ll begin in September.

Bureaucrats come and go in government, but Rod occupied a unique position. In addition to more traditional planning and landscape design project responsibilities, Rod oversaw development of Portland’s groundbreaking skatepark program. Portland, you probably know, has three new skate projects open to the public, two more awaiting execution, and 14 more sited and planned for development. No city on earth has done what Portland is doing, and Rod steered the system from its inception to its current status. For skateboarders, Rod’s departure marks the end of an era.

It would only be fair to acknowledge skaters’ relationship with Rod through the years has had its share of ups and downs. Advocacy requires vigilance to achieve desired goals, and sometimes that means rejecting the bureaucratic status quo. Rod didn’t always share skaters’ views or strategies, but he learned a lot about skateboarding in a hurry and always worked to see skaters get the same respect every other recreational interest group enjoys. We presented the facts, and he helped broadcast them.

Rod knows more about skateboarding and its subculture than any non-skater we know. We owe him a debt of gratitude for making the effort to translate our needs into a language the mainstream machine understands. The reality is successful advocacy is a two-way street: you can’t expect people to support your needs if you are unwilling or unable to express them in a way people understand. Rod often served as our translator.

With successful parks in the ground, skateboarding is no longer the neighborhood bogeyman, the convenient surrogate for fear of change. In this new era SPS looks forward to developing an even more collaborative relationship with Rod’s successor. For now though, cheers to Rod for having our backs over the years. Portland’s skatepark system enjoys a momentum skaters in every other city would kill for. It wouldn’t be happening without Rod Wojtanik.

5 Responses to “End of an Era: Rod Wojtanik Moves on”

  1. Skate and Annoy » Archive » Rod Wojtanik moves on Says:

    […] Rod Wojtanik, one of the most influential voices in Pacific Northwest skateboarding, is packing his bags for a new professional opportunity and leaving behind skatepark development. Rod has been the skatepark guy at Portland Parks and Recreation. He led the skatepark siting and public outreach efforts, organizing and presenting at dozens of meetings with neighborhood associations, city council and more than a few NIMBYs. Rod has helped the skateboarding community navigate the bureaucacy and non-skating public opinion. With three skateparks in the ground, two more contracted and awaiting execution, and 14 more sited and planned for development, Rod has us off to a good start on the 19 skatepark system. Read more at Skaters for Portland Skateparks. […]

  2. Kilwag Says:

    Good news for Rod, bad news for Portland skaters. Congratulations Rod, we owe you!

  3. Beth Ragel Says:

    Rod is the man! He was a huge asset to PP&R as well as to skaters and the broader community. Best of luck, Rod!

  4. Rod Says:

    Thanks for the props. I appreciate the recognition of effort.

    While my chair will be with a different organization I am not going to fade into the darkness. I’ve agreed to help shepard Ed Benedict skate plaza and Gabriel skatepark through the design and construction process. I’ve been given the right to walk away but it’s funny how you get so invested in this ‘silly little scene’.

    My next goal is to organize a group consisting of tranny dogs and street rats to serve as an advisory group to PP&R. I won’t be able to consistently remind PP&R about Portland’s larger skatepark system. Like it or not, the entire skate community is going to have to take more ownership in helping to implement #6, #7, #8…

    Sure you can sit back and let a core dozen or so do all the work. It’s easier that way. Or you can step up, get involved and really make a difference. Mark, Tom, Sarah, Randy, Grover, Rich, Sonny, Kent, Dean, Taj, Chad, Dave, Joe, Leandro, Ryan, Nick, Jesse, Flipper, and a couple others have followed me to more than their share of the over 85 meetings I have held in the past four years. They’ve done alot of work to make this all happen. Now the next group should put in their time.

    Now I’m not expecting the typical 8 year old to be at public meetings fighting for their manual pad. But, if you can drive yourself to a skatepark and you don’t take the time to get involved in the bigger process, be a man and don’t bitch about the results on the internet.

    And take it easy on my predecessor. They’ve got a great deal to learn about the project, the process, the personalities involved..and most of all, that they’re not going to make everyone happy.

  5. nobody important Says:

    I hope the replacement is less bmx friendly than rob.

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