Marginal Way Battles Vandalism – Pier Park Slipping Too

Marginal Way Battles Graffiti

The folks at Marginal Way skate park are having a some recent problems with theft and vandals. (Anarchy Burger!) They are trying to publicize their plight in hopes of stopping it or getting a tip. Portland’s Pier Park has been experiencing it’s own share of boneheads lately. The demographics of the offenders might be different, but the problem remains.

Pier Park graffiti seems like it might be done by local kids too blinded by peer pressure to pull thier head out of their asses and realize they are screwing up their own turf with misguided pride – At least learn how to spell the name of your park if you plan on “ruling” it. I don’t know if Marginal Way has a nearby indigenous population like Pier Park, but some legitimate (MW) park users are leaning towards vigilanteism. Of course that’s a different scene from what we have at Portland newest public park. Hopefully, in Pier Park we can appeal by example (cleaning up graffiti in view of the kids, talking to them etc.) before we have to resort to more drastic measures. On that topic, does anyone know if the “Goof Off” solvent is bad for concrete sealant? I’d hate to replace purely aesthetic damage with potential structural damage.

Here’s the piece Marginal Way submitted to the Stranger.

The guys who built and run Marginal Way Skatepark are majorly pissed off. Tuesday night, someone spray-painted illegible graffiti tags, names and anti-skater messages around the volunteer-funded park, stole wood stockpiled for new projects and crudely screwed boards to an unfinished half-pipe.

The Marginal Way Collective – guys who cleaned up the trashy area under a freeway bridge on Marginal Way two years ago – suspects BMX bikers did the damage. There’s been hostility with BMXers since the park opened; steel/aluminum-framed BMX bikes can gouge skatepark cement and Marginal Way officially banned BMXers back in January. They’ve received angry emails from bikers, says Collective member Dan Barnett, “I tell them, you know, Home Depot sells shovels and bags of cement to bikers, too, and there’s plenty of bridges in town.”

Other Collective members are more hestitant about pointing the finger at BMXers, saying the ones who antagonize the park are just a handful of Seattle’s many bikers, but everyone is frustrated with the vandalism. “Part of our deal with the city is that we gotta keep it clean and people are down there destroying our hard work,” vents member Shawn Bishop, “If this goes on, the city could pull the plug.” Looking at the wood crudely nailed to the unfinished half-pipe, Barnett thinks BMXers came and hastily finished the ramp – leaving it in good enough condition to be used under the tough wheels of BMX bikes, but useless for skaters. The wood screwed on by the vandals will have to be thrown away and that, along with the outright stolen wood, will cost the park builders several hundred dollars.

“I’m about ready to go down there and camp out with a baseball bat,” says Barnett.

Marginal Way Collective


  1. Nice article Kilwag. I think we need to get that dude from West Linn to head up the local skatepark anti-graffiti task force. 🙂

  2. jeff kendal on October 30, 2006 - Reply

    I was thinking of using “Dirtex” an aresol spray that I don’t think will kill concrete.
    Check it out in the Paint section, or I can always go down there and pic off a few punks with my surpressed, Bushmaster AR-15 carbon fiber pistol….I like supression, makes for a nice quiet plinker. Of course it’s all about placement.

  3. Travis Mckenney on November 18, 2008 - Reply

    A friend and I went to skate marginal on Monday. When we arrived we found someone had poured used motor oil over all of the transitions. The buckets they carried the oil in were left at the park, and a couple of used car oil filters. It took five of us a couple of hours to clean up the mess with dirt, and brooms. I don’t know who pissed who off, but they made a big mess. The transitions are still stained from where the oil was placed.

    Big thanks to a couple of local business that donated their shop brooms to the afternoon clean up.

  4. Someone did that at West Linn, OR once too. Bikers got the blame (If I recall correctly, they also left some “skate fags” graffiti.) though I’m sure it was a couple of a-holes and not representative of the whole BMX community.

  5. “local skating activist Jason Harrison” Bobcat in the news!

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