A couple of notes prior to this necessarily long diatribe: I am eternally grateful to my hosts in Portland. For lack of a better word for it, they were very Concretin-esque; possibly my highest accolade given my propensity for the hometown crew. I was humbled and amazed by their skate abilities, much of which is well documented in their own websites and the websites of others (Antigravity Press
, Earth Patrol
, and Skate and Annoy
), so, I won't go on about it here, although their talents are deserving of many pages of blogging. Instead I offer you a very ego-centric [surprise!] account of my escapades. Enjoy!
Things I didn’t do in Portland, OR:
1. Get over the deathbox in the Tobin Bowl
2. Get very high on the wall at Burnside
3. Carve Over the Mousehole in Pier Park
4. Get over the Stairs at Glenhaven
5. Grind the Tail of T-Rex at Tigard
6. Meet and Skate with Kilwag
7. Poop in my pants
Which, ultimately, is too bad. Any and all of these would have made for a more interesting story.
Portland, OR is far away - unless you live close to it, of course. But, for a Concretin it is far away. Maybe Far, Far Away. It is a place of myth and wonder. As in: It rains everyday in Portland (MYTH). I WONDER why in the hell they would build so many skateparks in a place so rainy? In actuality it only has 155 days of measurable precipitation. The other 210 days have precipitation – you just can’t measure it.
The precipitation was easily measured when I landed in Portland. It was, as they say in Kentucky, raining like pouring piss from a boot (my mind often wonders how many people of yore had piss in their boot for this to become a colloquialism and how the piss got in the boot also sparks my imagination). When MC, ripper/cartoonist, showed up with Rich, ripper/General of Earth Patrol Media, at a very wet Glenhaven, I assumed we would just bust out to Burnside; it’s under a bridge and potentially dry. But, other plans were in store for this unsuspecting traveler.
My co-woker/travel companion & former street ripper, Chad LaGrange, and I dutifully followed our hosts to one of the strangest sites I’ve ever seen: a concrete bowl in someone’s garage: The Tobin Bowl
. It was deep, tight, slick and very scary. It took me a few “climb-ins” before I could actually drop in. It was fun fo’ sho’ and extremely exhilarating in the fact that it held imminent possibility of your board sliding out from under you. Rich coached me thru a few lines. MC threw fs airs and handplants like crazy. I eventually nutted-up and did what I was told to be a superb impression of Superman when my back wheels jammed in the deathbox and I flew away from the wall both arms extended. If I’d only packed my cape.
After some chow, complete with Portland Microbrew, it was on to Burnside. I felt it a moral imperative to return to Burnside and actually skate.
My previous adventure here left me feeling weak and much like a pup who ran away with his tail between his legs. While I did nothing extremely noteworthy - I mean, other than skate Burnside - I did make peace with this park. I skated every bit of it and walked away. It was one of those epic sessions where one guy tires out and suggests leaving, then gets his stoke back on while waiting for the next guy to tire, who eventually does, but then the rest of the crew is skating, so his stoke comes back, and more people show up who rekindle the stoke and before you know it you’ve skated like a fiend for several hours. Awesome. Then we went to hit some more parks.
The rain had quit so we took a chance and drove up to Pier Park
: Full-pipe with hole – Depends in tow. The fun factor here was very high. It actually felt quite homey thanks to the pipe. Fortunately, the hole did not present the fear factor I had suspected. I will confess there was a tiny hope in my mind that I would carve over this hole. The images on the web kept me from getting my hopes too high, but the thought was definitely there. It didn’t happen. Instead I had to be happy with the fact that dropped in the deep end, and thanks to much coaching from Rich and MC got frontside and backside slashers in the 11 ½.
Everyone was whipped, but the sun was out and since Portland is at about 45 degrees north of the equator it will be out till sometime in mid-July. Rich made the executive decision to ride back by Glenhaven
. We hit it hard AGAIN. There is a pool and a killer butterfly(ish) bowl. Each one super-fun. Kids were rippin the street area and everyone hooted as MC tore up the pool.
And so ends day one. Realistically, we probably got 4 to 4 1/2 hours of riding in over the course of the day. But, every time I mention it, I like to up the duration. I was already up to 8 hours before I left OR. MC said somethin’ and I said, “Well, waddaya expect for skatin 8 hours on Tuesday?” By the time I’m 80 it’ll be a week of skatin’ without stoppin’ when I recount the epic tale.
No skate on Wednesday - nothing but meetings and what-not. However, I could sense The Gnar nearby. The offices we have in the Portland area are about ½ mile from Tigard – a park that it only about a year old - which is exactly where we headed when the work bell sounded on Thursday. Quite gnarly this place is - with perfect concrete everywhere and huge - no HUGE - vert walls. One of the bowls has a double coping. There’s one set at about six feet, then a little tranny up a couple of feet to more coping at the top of the bowl. It was fun to watch people make use of this although I couldn’t get my mind around it. I love the T-Rex and his spine/tail comes close to the corner of a little 4 ft bowl. A better skater than me would be able to pop out the bowl, grind T’s spine then ride away clean. I gave it a feeble attempt and decided to steer clear of this foolishness for the rest of my visit. Just carving this place was fun.TIGARDMORE TIGARD
Next stop: Donald. Next to grain silos in a farm community with a population of approximately 500, the city of Donald, OR put in a skatepark that sports a kidney with pool coping and concrete mini-ramp with a twinkie in the middle of it. I got props from all the park goers and felt a certain bit of pride for myself and Concretins everywhere when I got over the stairs. I then lost any and all earned respect when I cleared the mini area so I could get my picture taken laying next to the twinkie which someone had beautified by painting it into a phallus. Oh well, on to Newberg.DONALD
Newberg was built around the turn of the millennium. The town was clearly ashamed of it because it is placed back a dirt road, behind the pulp mill next to the train tracks. But, it kills. There is something for everyone at this park: big stuff, little stuff, steet-like stuff (although no official ‘street’ area), and some pretty unique stuff you won’t find anywhere else. Time was tight, but I skated hard and tried to hit the whole park. Much fun was had.NEWBERG
So, there you have 2 skate days, 6 parks, 1 garage bowl and lots of fun. Here's to new friends and skatin' for 10 hours straight!