Volunteers trying to build skateparks in Portland » Frequently Asked Questions

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

Frequently Asked Questions


Burnside is Portland’s first skatepark. Why is Pier Park sometimes labeled Portland’s first?

Pier Park is Portland’s first skatepark to be supported with public funding. Burnside was built and is maintained by the skate community directly and does not receive public funding.

What relationship does SPS have with Burnside?

SPS has no formal relationship with Burnside. SPS’s founders were (and are) inspired by Burnside’s DIY ethic, i.e. the idea that skateboarders are best prepared and obliged to lead development of skateparks. At the request of Burnside founder Mark Scott, SPS’s Tom Miller prepared legal documents for Burnside Skatepark, Inc., the non-profit corporation that formally manages Burnside Skatepark under the direction of Mark Scott, Sage Bolyard, and Chuck Willis. Miller occasionally provides pro bono legal assistance to Burnside Skatepark, Inc.

Will the Steel Bridge Skatepark ever be built?

Yes. It is part of the City Council-endorsed list of sites secured for future skatepark development.

I heard a skatepark may be built under the I-405 ramps in Northwest Portland. True or False?

Portland Parks & Recreation considered a site for skatepark development at NW 19th and Savier/Raleigh. The site is owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), a state agency. ODOT initially discouraged pursuit of a skatepark, and Parks dropped the site from its list. However, various sites under the I-405 ramps would serve skaters well. Should the community get excited about a potential skatepark there, we expect ODOT to consider it.

Some think big corporations like Nike and Adidas are bad for skateboarding. Why did you accept their money for Pier Park? Will you keep taking their money?

You are welcome to your opinion about companies like Nike and Adidas. We work to build world-class public skateparks in Portland for everybody to enjoy. If corporations like Nike and Adidas can help make that happen, we welcome their assistance. It should be noted that Nike’s contribution to Pier Park was catalytic both in terms of amount ($75,000 the largest private contribution) and timing (early in the fundraising process which helped established credibility for our campaign).

What is Skaters for Portland Skateparks’ relationship with Skaters for Public Skateparks?

These are two independent organizations that share a general mission—world-class public skatepark development. They also share a legal bond for tax purposes. However, our mission is narrowed to skatepark development in Portland, Oregon. Skaters for Public Skateparks, by contrast, is a general education and advocacy resource without geographic limits and managed by an entirely different board of directors.

30 Responses to “Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. SAUCYYODA Says:


  2. Tom Miller Says:

    Gabriel Park, in SW Portland. Portland Parks & Recreation is expected to announce the winning bid in the next week or so. The park will be tranny-focused because of the sloped terrain. Its tranny-centric focus will be balanced by the next (4th) park: Ed Benedict Park, on SE Powell and 100th, which will be 70% plaza 30% tranny.

  3. kilwag Says:

    Gabriel Park

  4. ty Says:

    there NO skatepark for BIKES ONLY in Oregon, yet SEVERAL for skateboarders and rollor bladers only. STFU skateboarders, you little annoying people

  5. mark.conahan Says:

    Hey, not sure your comments on the SPS site are appropriate or useful but I wanted to respond.

    You wrote: there NO skatepark for BIKES ONLY in Oregon, yet SEVERAL for skateboarders and roller bladers only. STFU skateboarders, you little annoying people

    There are lots of bike only facilities in Oregon: BMX track in Newberg and Hood River mountain bike single track, many miles of bike commuting lanes to name a few examples of public money being spent to support bike riders.

    No one is going to volunteer to do years of work for some abusive little twat. The reason there are so many skateparks is because skaters have worked for many years to get us to this point. I have been seeing bike folks getting more involved lately. Bike riders did most of the advocacy on the Madras, Oregon park and have been very active in the Washington parks. On the flip side, some bikers were very abusive at the meetings in Florence, Oregon so bikes were banned.

    You should get involved in a postitive way. Think about what you want to see in a bike park, draw up some plans, organize with other bike folks, call to arrange a meeting with the Parks commissioner Dan Saltzman, do some fundraising, look into corporate support – doesn’t Matt Hoffman have a foundation that gives money to projects the way Tony Hawk does?

    As a skateboarder, I have no problem sharing a bowl with bike guys if they are willing to share with me. It’s a tough mix though when you have riders of widely varying skills. I bet you would hate a bike only park if you were trying to ride and a bunch of beginners were piddling around in the bottom getting in the way of your lines.

    Maybe we should have bike only or skate only hours or days. I hate the idea of more rules though. The Portland Parks we are working for are all open to everyone.

  6. Wesley Says:

    How are the locations prioritized? Obviously skaters who live near locations slated for skatepark development would like to see theirs built sooner than later. Is there opportunity to advocate for a certain location? Thanks to everyone involved and to the O.G.’s for planting the seeds. This is the greatest era of skateboarding yet!

  7. sean Says:

    when will the westmoreland skatepark be built?

  8. sean Says:

    What is going to be the order of all the skateparks?

  9. Alex Martin Says:

    Your group’s attitude towards bike riders is hypocritical at best. There was a time, not too long ago, when skateboarders were unwelcome and excluded from pretty much everywhere. I find it interesting (though not surprising) that once a group of skateboarders gets support from the greater society, they advocate the same treatment that they recieved, so recently, for the much smaller BMX (and mtb) community.

    The suggestion of bike only parks is clearly impractical. There is very little difference between a good park for bikes and a good park for skateboards. Why should tax money be spent on two seperate parks for different groups when that money could be spent on parks for both groups. I would much rather be able to ride more parks and be cautious for skaters (yes, even with groms “piddling away in the bottom getting in the way of my lines”). Not to mention the amount of work that I’ve seen various bmx communities put into skatepark advocacy only to eventually have their voices drowned out by other interest groups and be banned from the parks that resulted.

    Also, I’ve heard a lot about the supposed damage that bikes cause to coping and other features in parks. However, in all the parks that I’ve ridden over the years, I’ve seen very little actual evidence of it. I can’t help but believe that it’s blown vastly out of proportion by certain groups who are unwilling to share their parks and spots.

    Anyways, this ended up being way longer than I intended. Sorry.

  10. SenSan Says:

    It is blatant hypocrisy to not allow BMXers because they are destructive. Metal beats concrete in the RPS game of life. We should stop pointing fingers and share.

  11. Ben Says:

    I’m new to this whole BMX/skate controversy. As a father of two new and young BMX enthusiasts I hoped to bring them to a local skatepark so they could taste the feel of riding ramps and bowls etc. We quickly found that many of the PDX parks are too crowded any later than 9:00 am for newbies to have a chance to ride and learn. Compensating by getting up early and going to several parks in the early am, we still found that we were made VERY unwelcome at all of the parks we visited by boarders, even when there were as few as only 1 or 2 others there. It is evident that boarders treat these PUBLIC parks as THEIRS.

    Given that the skateboard community has put in the lion’s share of the work in getting these parks built, it is understandable that they would have a sense of ownership. I cannot, however, forget that BMX riders are made just as unwelcome in public places as boarders. There are virtually no reasonably close places for BMX riders to learn stunts and verts other than illegal street spots, or skateparks.

    This bias is carried over to Portland’s Dept. of Parks and Rec that offers several options for skateboarding lessons at local skateparks, but nothing for cyclists, including BMX riders. In all likelyhood the BMX community is largely to blame for this, as it must not be as well organized as the skate community in Portland.

    Let me just finish by saying how disappointing it was to listen to my two young boys cry as they discovered just how unwelcome they are at these parks. I’m sure that not all skate enthusiasts would be as rude as those that we ran into, however, the tenur of this site, and others that I’ve researched seem to point to little in the way of understanding of the challenges faced by the BMX community in access to riding opportunities.

  12. juestin weesner Says:

    will a skate park be put in at Berry dale??????

  13. baba Says:

    when is the woodstock park going to be ready for riding?

  14. Caleb Says:

    Skateboarders can go ahead and wrongfully look down on bike riders for being unorganized, but they should recognize that bike riders have much less potential to get anything done than skaters do. I recently learned that skateboarding is the 3rd most popular sport among teenagers in America, falling only behind football and basketball. How about bmx? I don’t know, but I think it’s safe to say that bmx doesn’t even come close in popularity. So right away, we see that bmx doesn’t have the advantage of numbers like skateboarding does.

    Secondly, I don’t think bike riders are often encouraged to attend meetings for skatepark planning. Sure you express that sentiment on your web sites and what not, but how many bike riders are actually receiving the message? How many skaters are suggesting to the bike riders out riding ramps to join them at the meetings? Few bike riders are even aware of the meetings.

    You can’t necessarily blame them for having given up on looking for them. The youngsters don’t want to put in the effort, because they are so often looked down upon by skaters with preconceived notions of them. They don’t want to go to a meeting if they know everyone (including most city officials) will be working against them. By the time a few bikers show up, they don’t have the numbers it takes to get anything done, and often times they are smeared with a negative image that works against them anyway, even if the image doesn’t fit. This is because city planners have been working with skaters for so long that they’ve adopted the ignorant mindset many skaters have of bike riders, which I’ll touch on later. That’s understandable, as groupthink plagues us all, but it’s something we should work to get past.

    Skaters have this rich history of building places to ride. For that they get much due respect from people in control of building parks. But that doesn’t mean that bike riders should be labeled as lazy because they haven’t needed to make the same steps. When Burnside was being built, bmx was extremely different than it is now. Skateparks didn’t interest bike riders nearly as much as race tracks and dirt jumps. However, bmx riding has evolved into a body of participants who would rather ride ramps or street. Thus we see so many bike riders who love the exact same kinds of obstacles that skateboarders do.

    So what kind of negative image has been placed upon bike riders? It’s one that’s not much different from what skateboarders used to have lurking over their own heads. Just at the top of this page we can see it. “bike use in skateparks incontrovertibly displaces skaters – especially youth – and damages the facility.” What wasn’t mentioned was the common mentality assuming that bike riders also cause collisions, because their equipment is more cumbersome.

    Let me address each issue. “Bikes damage facilities”. This argument for keeping bikes out of parks is extremely flawed. I’ll admit, bikes can damage facilities, but I’ll also admit that skateboards can as well, and they both do.

    Most users complain that bikes cause damage by grinding. If a park is properly built, a bike’s round peg will not do damage. If edges are lined with steel, the peg will slide right over them nicely. If skaters want edges to not have steel coping, then just ask the bike riders to not grind those edges rather than kick them out completely. Or perhaps make rules requiring no use of pegs, or the use of plastic pegs as a precautionary measure. Look for compromise before ruling out one group of users.

    Sometimes a bike rider might crash and as a result the bike will land on its side and damage the surface of a ramp. This is no different from damage done by skateboards, though. I often see ramps that have many little chips and dents in them from a skateboard’s wheels landing too hard on a surface. Often times I’ll see a skateboarder fall off his board, and the board will fly through the air and land on its nose or tail, which also does damage similar to a bike falling on its side.

    I have been building my own ramps for years, and any of the skateboarders that I let ride them could tell you, as they’ve told me, that their boards have done more damage than any of the bikes I’ve let in. That doesn’t bother me, though. I understand that’s the way it is. Both bikes and skateboards do damage to the obstacles they ride.

    The average bike now weighs less than 25 pounds, and likewise the average weight of a bike rider appears to have decreased significantly since just a few years ago. At the same time, bike riders’ styles have collectively changed to become extremely smooth. Therefore, bikers no longer damage obstacles to the extent that they used to. It’s time for everyone to wake up and realize that a bike rarely does significantly more damage than a skateboard.

    This website claims that bike riders made one feature of Pier Park unusable within the first week. I’ve been to Pier Park multiple times, and I’ve seen skaters use every single feature of the place.

    So what about bikes displacing skaters and causing collisions? I have yet to see skateboarders leave a park due to me showing up on my bike. If skaters get displaced by bikers, the problem is not with the bike; it’s with the user of the bike. Skaters and bikers alike wish to leave an environment where either one is being hostile. However, if neither one is being hostile, nobody has a problem, and they go on enjoying the park.

    What about collisions, though? This is another illegitimate argument against bikes in parks. I grew up riding a very small skatepark. In this skatepark, there were usually 10-20 skateboarders hanging out and riding. I never saw more than 3 bike riders there at once. We bike riders got along splendidly with the skateboarders. They didn’t complain about us, and we didn’t complain about them. Why is that? Because we all respected each other. We made sure nobody was riding (or was about to) where we wanted to before dropping in. The skaters did the same.

    Think about it. When there are only skaters in a park, are collisions nonexistent? They are if everyone pays attention. The same goes for when bike riders are in the park with them. The most disappointing fact about going to skateparks today as opposed to 5 years ago is that people have become so ignorant of etiquette when enjoying the ramps. I often see skaters collide or nearly collide because they aren’t paying attention to each other when they are riding right next to each other. So the problem isn’t the bikes. The problem is a lack of etiquette and awareness. People need to be patient and take turns, rather than focus only on themselves and jump at every dangerous opportunity to take a run. I aim that statement at EVERYBODY.

    So I guess that’s about it. There are many fools who ride bikes, and there are many fools who ride skateboards. We’re all the same, so why can’t we treat each other the same? Feel free to bring up any dispute you have with what I’ve said. Discussion is important for these kinds of matters. So go out and discuss with all your friends, but remember that we have no reason to get angry over the results. Let’s all just put aside our differences, look at the grand scheme of things, and figure out what works for everyone.

  15. kody Says:

    scooterers ride for the same reasons as skaters why arnt we allowed in most of the parks??
    if you think its just little kids then look up….terry price,coedie donavan and theirs a million more . . .so why do you have to take away are sport ..thers no were else for us to go???

  16. chris Says:

    I’m sure that these parks are on the back burner due to the economy, but hopefully they won’t be forgotten! I vote for Woodstock or Lents to be next!!!

  17. PDXBMX Says:

    “We work to build world-class public skateparks in Portland for everybody to enjoy.”

    Maybe you need to go back and re word this because it goes against everything else you say in this article.

    How about:

    “We work to build world-class PRIVATE skateparks in Portland for SKATEBOARDERS to enjoy, even though everyone in the public pays for part of it in their taxes.”

    Then go to this website and read up.



    All these images were results from SKATEBOARDERS

  18. emma bishop Says:

    I am currently enquiring about structures which could temporarily cover a skate park. The structure would need to be removable, as it will only be used for four months of the year. It would also need to be waterproof.
    We are located in Whistler, BC, Canada. The structure would need to cover an area of 13.5x18metres.
    Do you know of any companies, which could provide a suitable structure??
    I would really appreciate your help.
    Thank you for your help,

  19. Tom B Says:

    Anybody know whats next? ive been wondering for a while.

  20. Tom B Says:

    anyone know what park is going to be next?

  21. jon Says:

    clean out your inbox so i can send you my skatepark designs.

  22. Ryan Says:

    why are BMXers still calling them skateparks? that’s like saying I go Skiing all season. I’m new to Portland and this idea of all these parks blows my mind. this organization is so amazing. Love skating everything built so far. can’t wait to see what come next. anyone know what’s next?

  23. Dan Says:

    This is stupid! We have the same fricking problem here in colorado. Forget bike only parks. Every groups just needs to accept that it’s not their park and they need to share it with bikers, skaters, and even scooter kids. Just get over it. If people would wait 30 seconds for “their turn” (i know it sounds corny), the skatepark would be a welcoming place for everybody.

  24. longboard review dude Says:

    totally agree with the rest you. i hate when groups start to become clickish. think this problem goes way beyond skaters and bmxers though. either way it would be nice to find some common ground in this so everyone can enjoy these awesome parks.

  25. Doug Says:

    The anti-bmx stance is hypocritical.

    I have faith in the skaters that most would think this is bs. Skateboarding is about accepting not excluding.

    Recently I was at pier park with a mix of skaters and bikers and all was cool. Mark Conahan was their. I had no idea who he was. I didn’t notice any sneering, but I must assume that he was annoyed by the horrible damage my three year old was inflicting as he thrashed the place.

    Lobby for inclusion. Become mainstream with support from Nike, etc, then exclude.

    Predictably lame. You can do better. Skateboarding is not a crime. Bmx is not a crime.

    Get over it.

  26. mark conahan Says:

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with bikes, I have skated with bikers on many occasions and have enjoyed the session. When this was written we had finally managed to get some skateparks built after long years of effort. Our efforts had been driven entirely by skateboarders and since mixing bikes and skateboards in a crowded skatepark session can be dangerous and we had evidence of bike damage… Since then, the BMX community have been contributing to the skatepark effort. If everyone using the skatepark is mindful of lines and respectful of everyone else using the park, mixed used can work. That said, meandering through the middle of a heated session in the gnarliest part of the park when you are a beginning scooter rider or bicyclist or skateboarder can be dangerous to everyone. Would you insist that your child has a right to ride his tricycle across a motocross track in the middle of a motorcycle race? It’s time to update our stance on bikes. I’ll take it up with the board.

  27. Doug Says:

    Hi Mike,

    I’m really glad to see this. My son is really excited to ride and because he’s so young I’ve been nervous about the attitude we would run in to. By myself I can ignore it, with a child that’s more difficult.

    It’s great to here that things have changed.

    Thanks for the response.

  28. Jay Says:

    To all the whining bmx people… you are not excluded from riding skateparks. Maybe you are just easily intimidated by the spots and the reputations of the spots you are going to. If you are learning you should try less crowded or at least mellower spots. I don’t mind if you are trying to learn and go slow when it’s your turn, but if you just sit in the bowl going back and forth to no end someone will tell you to get out of the way, biker, skater or whatever else you decide to do.

    One of my good friends is a biker and we would roll up to skateparks together. I don’t have any quarrels. Unfortunately, there are always a few that seem to have no repect for anyone else and ruin it for the rest of us, like many things in life.

  29. mark.conahan Says:

    It can work but everyone needs to be respectful of the other riders and look out for each other. Good advice on beginners looking for mellower terrain and less-crowded sessions.

  30. SkateAndDie Says:

    1. Any biker can make a sweet park with a shovel and some elbow grease. That’s how I did it when I was a kid. Skateboarding, however, requires smooth, clean concrete. Bikers are notorious for breaking off little chunks of concrete near the coping when they grind. These pebbles are not a problem for the bikers, so they don’t even notice. For skaters, these pebbles can be deadly. (Before you argue that skateboard grind break the park too, know this – skate trucks are made from soft aluminum, bikes are made from reinforced steel.)

    2. If 2 skaters collide, it’s body on body. Every time I have been hit by a biker (and its has always been their faults), I got hit by their bike, too. I know a biker will make the argument of boards flying at heads, but I would much rather be hit with a little piece of wood, than a large chunk of metal.

    3. I don’t mind advanced, in control bikers. But, that encourages the young/inexperienced to do the same thing, and then it is dangerous for skaters. Everyone can ride a bike, but simply riding a skateboard is trick in itself. A skater grom has to be at a certain level before he would even come to the park for the mere fact that it is scary and he is most likely going to eat it. However, young bikers have the tendency to use the park as a NASCAR track, circling around at full speed without even hitting the features, just snaking all the skaters.

    4. People don’t go start a pick-up football game in the middle of a baseball field while player are of practicing. Yes, they are both grass fields with dudes running around playing ball, but the two games can not co-exist safely. That is why the municipalities have spent the money to build both facilities.

    5. Local bike only facilities – The Grotto, Beaverton, Forest Grove, Newburg, Hood River….

    SOLUTION – Skaters could hand down the parks after they are too rough to ride. Take a rad park like Newport or St. Helens, that is now too pitted for a skater to get speed, and then, designate it a bike park.

    Good luck everyone!

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