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Brooklyn 'Skate Spot' and pedestrian bridge demolished

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Colin Sharp, owner of Unheard Skateboard Distribution, stands with his children, India & Kiran, in front of the railroad overcrossing and at the site of the Brooklyn Street Skate Spot, just before both were demolished.Skateboard enthusiasts are mourning the loss of their small, colorful do-it-yourself skateboard park at S.E. 16th Avenue and Brooklyn Street. On November 9th, some 100 skaters gathered for a New Orleans-style wake at the Brooklyn Street Skate Spot, recalling the camaraderie and fun of the charming little skate park built by volunteers and skateboard enthusiasts in 2010.

The site was designed and maintained largely by Colin Sharp, whose business, “Unheard Skateboard Distribution”, is located next door.

The skate park – whose opening was previously reported in THE BEE – was tucked under the northern base of the pedestrian bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, between S.E. Gideon and Brooklyn Streets. The park was begun by Sharp on unused land owned partly by the railroad, with some cement leftover from a home project.

The facility eventually received a temporary permit from the city – until the footbridge was to be removed, starting on November 12. The requirements of the MAX Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project essentially doomed the skate park from the beginning, but skaters enjoyed the slopes while they could, and received many positive reviews.

Sharp tells THE BEE that since the skate park was eventually validated by a city permit, he hopes that a replacement skate park will be built soon at Powell Park to accommodate the displaced skateboarders. A City Comprehensive Master Plan for skateboard development, called “Nineteen in the Parks”, was created in 2005 to promote the creation of new skateboard parks in Portland. The site proposed for Powell Park would be located on the northern edge of the park, adjacent to Powell Boulevard.

While the future site (about 2,500 square feet) has been identified, and a general design has been drawn up, Sharp acknowledges that the committee will have to raise $40,000 before construction can begin. Sharp says that so far, the Powell project has raised about $8,000 – much of that from independent donors.

For more information, or to make donations, go online to the Portland Skate Park Alliance at: www.skateportland.org

Meantime, for pedestrians who were using that footbridge to get across the railroad yard, the structure was removed to make room for support columns along the new MAX light rail line – but pedestrian access across the tracks can still be made via the S.E. 17th at Powell Boulevard underpass, or by using the pedestrian/railroad crossing at S.E. 12th and Gideon Street. A new footbridge is expected to be built at or near the site of the former structure, although at this writing, plans are not yet firm.