Posted by:on September 14th, 2007
A high school in North East Portland had to be closed down due to asbestos or black mold, or so the rumors go. It was too expensive to rehab it and they apparently didn’t need the space so they decided to tear the whole thing down. It was where Gus Van Sant filmed the 2003 movie Elephant that Grover mentions in his GVK episode titled Paranoid Park Tryouts. It was already vacant when they filmed the movie, and for the past few years or two it was home to a DIY street plaza that the locals had built in the semi-secluded parking lot. There were a bunch of grind rails and artificial ledges set up on the island curbs, as well as a couple crazy ramps of various size and design. It was all very sketchy, but admirable. Every once in a while I would spy a few kids dinking around on their boards. Whenever I drove by, which was a couple times a week, I made a mental note that I should photograph it. Well, needless to say, I waited too long. This Spring they finally demolished the school to make way for some real estate development because the Portland school district needs the money. Before the demolition started they removed all the street obstacles and fenced in the parking lot for the workers and support equipment. By the time I got there with a camera, the only skating obstacle left had been moved upstairs into a courtyard balcony. I can’t even remember the name of the school since they tore down the sign. It’s now a big empty field on the corner of NE 42nd and Killingsworth. The athletic fields and expansive adjacent park footage are not included in the redevelopment plans, and will remain in place. The park has ironically been chosen as an eventual location for one of Portland’s 19 skatepark sites.
Leave a Reply