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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BMX Fans Plan Protest of Gresham Skatepark

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Look, rag on Gresham on you want, but their skate park is pretty great: Opened in 2010, the Dreamland-designed skatepark is 5,700 square feet right downtown on Main Street.

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The only problem? No bikes allowed. The city council banned BMX bikes from the park a few months after the opening. They reasoned that bikes would scratch up the skatepark surface and were also a safety hazard. Somewhat dubious reasoning quote from the city: "If two skaters collide, it's two people hitting each other," said Mike Abbate, the city's director of planning. "And if one has a bike, there can be serious injuries."

Well, Gresham BMX riders and friends are not too psyched on being kept out of the park—or on city resources going to ticketing riders. Lack of fun places to ride BMX bikes has been kind of a big issue around Portland.

"The police are under a mandate to confiscate all bikes seen in the park," says Kate Baker, who recently started a petition to allow bikes in the park. "Unfortunately Gresham has a small police force and as a tax payer I feel like their resources would be far better spent dealing with actual crimes."

The BMX fans are planning to swarm the park with bikes this Sunday at noon. Will Gresham budge on the no bikes rule?

Update 1/11: Gresham's city spokeswoman says that the police responded to 53 calls for service at the skate park last year and confiscated 10 bikes.

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