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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Council Passes New Skate Law, Banning Skateboarding at Night in SW

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Listen up, skaters. As of today, skateboarding in the SW hills will get you a ticket after 10pm. Violating other road rules—like not having lights at night, running a stop sign, or riding in the wrong lane—could snag you a $115 ticket, unlike the city's old $25 ticket.

Skaters at city council this morning
  • Skaters at city council this morning

These changes are part of the new skate ordinance city council passed today. It's a compromise measure whittled far down from what some SW neighbors upset with skating on their streets previously put forward to council. In the spring, council weighed a plan that would have banned skating outright, on all days, all times, on 10 steep streets around Washington Park. Just a week ago, the revised ordinance included a mandatory all-ages helmet law for skaters.

Neither of those drastic measures made their way into the final version, which was hammed out by neighbors, the police, and city staff with much help and guidance from skaters Billy "Bones" Meiners and JP Rowan. The skaters involved in the process see this as a win that will improve the tense relationship between skaters and SW Portland residents. As Meiners said last week, “Skateboarders aren’t going to leave, but the least we can try to be respectful and not noisy. We have to work with the neighbors.”

It's telling that only one person showed up at council today to testify about the new law and she was an Arlington Heights resident who wanted to voice her opposition to the stance of her neighbors that skating was dangerous and should be banned. When she sees the skaters zoom past her house, she told council, "I see the exuberance of youth, the joy of gravity."

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