A skater's paradise - almost
More than a year after the concrete set, the skatepark at the corner of Southwest Paris and Palermo streets in Villebois still isn't completed or — officially — open to the public.
But since concerns of loud and disrespectful use of the unfinished park during the summer of 2016 were brought before the Wilsonville City Council, some neighbors say that it has been a positive addition to the neighborhood.
During summer 2016, Villebois developer Polygon Northwest completed the majority of the skatepark, closing it off with 8-foot security fencing to discourage neighbors from using it before completion. However, neighbors living near the skatepark reported a series of disruptive use of the park after hours.
At the time, former Sgt. Richard Sheldon of the Wilsonville Police Department said that some of the trespassing allegedly was the result of a miscommunication between contractors building the park and locals interested in using it.
"It was reported that some individuals were told that they were allowed to use the park after hours," Sheldon said in an email last year, adding that this was misinformation and that people using the park early could be considered trespassing. But a year later, Sgt. Jason Ritter of the Wilsonville Police Department said that to the best of his knowledge no major incidents or complaints have occurred since last summer.
For Villebois resident Laurie Tarter, who lives a stone's throw from the skatepark, there hasn't been any negativity from having the skatepark as a neighbor.
"For me and my husband, we see it as something that's beneficial for the community," Tarter said. "There's a lot of music and a lot of laughter, and I'd rather see young people doing that than trolling the neighborhood with nothing to do and getting in trouble. This is a very positive thing for them to be doing — they're exercising and socializing, they're seeing their community come together to provide entertainment for them for free."
Even though the park is not yet completed — missing lights and a parking lot — a spokesperson of the Polygon Portland Division President, Jason Baker, said that they tentatively anticipate the skatepark opening this month. The representative was clear to say "tentatively" due to the fact that the park's opening has been delayed for months because of "long lead times" for backordered items, such as park lights.
But this fact hasn't deterred neighbors and community members from using the space, and Tarter said that she could see how parking could be frustrating for the houses directly adjacent to the skatepark since the parking lot is also unfinished.
"I think that it's a wonderful resource for young people and families," Tarter said. "I've seen dads out there with their kids, playing with their razor (scooters) and cheering them on and we think that it's such a positive thing and that we need to give resources to our young people so that they stay out of trouble."
Villebois resident Katie Green and her family are also among those enjoying the new facility.
"I can tell you our kiddo loves it!" Green wrote to the Spokesman on the Facebook page Villebois Community. "He has taken up a love for the scooter and is working on tricks."