Gentlemen, start your engines!

Portland\'s Steel Bridge skatepark project

As part of Portland’s 19 skatepark master plan, the Steel Bridge site was chosen for the main Regional Facility, or essentially, the destination park. The official Parks & Rec definition:

Regional Skatepark: A regional facility will be a single large facility (>40,000 square feet) that will accommodate many users at once. It could be lighted and possibly serve as a venue for competitions. This type of facility will not be located in residential areas.

Steel Bridge is supposed to be our Louisville, in terms of square footage and drawing power. Our landmark skatepark, not that anything could replace Burnside in the skateboarding public’s eyes. The City of Portland has started accepting proposals – the RFP is posted. You need to be a registered vendor to view the related documents. The list of registered vendors (as far as skatepark building companies is concerned) appears to only contain Dreamland, New Line and surprisingly, Wally Hollyday Design. (UPDATE: Found another – Artifex.) The rest of you need to get your paperwork in order because the bid closes on january 9th of 2009. Also confusing, there’s an item marked Estimate:$50,000.00, which isn’t going to buy much. Perhaps Mr. Miller will enlighten us. Flame on!

– Thanks to Matt Redhead for the tip. [Bridge Photo: Wikipedia]

P.S. Where is the money going to come from?


  1. get Team Pain to built it.

  2. Keep Wally out!!!! I have skated a few of his parks and am always disappointed.

  3. nweyesk8 on November 13, 2008 - Reply

    get team pain to bid….then they might get to build it

  4. wormhoudt is on the list now. keep wormhoudt out also.

  5. As much as I appreciate diversity, and as much as I’m stoked on the Newline Ed B design, if this is going to be Portland’s flagship park , then it really needs to go to a local crew. ie. Dreamland.

  6. You’ll get no argument from me. I think the rest of the 19 should come from multiple build/design companies, but Steel Bridge should go to Dreamland. Maybe all the splinter groups can unite to work on this together.

  7. The money will come from… Henry Paulson?
    Come on man, you’ve got all that free money. How about you kick down a couple mil. We promise we won’t tell.

  8. colin walsh rules on November 13, 2008 - Reply

    let kids build it w/ dreamland or w/ your mothers

  9. Collaboration between Dreamland and Grindline would be sweet.

  10. Abegnegal on November 13, 2008 - Reply

    Dreamland all the way. No beginner, oldschool v newschool, street v vert compromise BS either. It’s under a bridge in Portland, Dreamland [period]

  11. Battle Ground, WA was designed by Grindline and built by Dreamland.

  12. Sounds good to me. If this is Portland’s “landmark park”, it needs to be spectacular, and should be locally designed and built. In Skate-Town USA, “landmark park” is a tall task, but one that Red and the crew(s) have been preparing for for years. I can’t wait.

  13. Tom Miller on November 13, 2008 - Reply

    Some of you may recall that the City of Portland flirted with the Steel Bridge site for skatepark development in 2001. Local urban designer Lloyd Linley – who today chairs the City’s Design Commission – compiled a feasibility study with input from a fledgling group of skaters with names like Mark Scott, Sage Bolyard, et al.

    It was a bold concept for its time. Check it out at Local developer politics killed that project. The death of that project had two outcomes that impacted Portland’s skate scene.

    It pushed two clowns with zero profile in Portland skate circles to start Skaters for Portland Skateparks. (Mark Conahan came later.) The mission was to resurrect that project and generally agitate about the lack of skateparks in Portland.

    It also led to $500,000 being earmarked in the 2002 Parks levy to build two skateparks. The clowns had something to fight for.

    Fast forward to 2005, expectations have evolved dramatically. City council adopted the skater-created 19-park master plan. Steel Bridge is identified as the site of the city’s anchor facility, the crown jewel.

    In late 2007 city council allocates $50,000 to update the 2001 study. In November 2008 the RFP is released. The winning team will use the $50,000 to provide a project concept, including a turn-key budget.

    If this sounds different than the typical skatepark development process it is. It differs in two substantial ways. First, this is a very complicated development site. It’s asymmetrical, deemed waste by the private development community, in an urban setting, surrounded by roads. The range of attributes and challenges that come with urban life are on full display down there.

    Secondly, the aspirations for the project are without limit. The RFP makes clear we’re aiming to provide the best skatepark experience for skaters and the broader community on Planet Earth. What does that mean? Good question. The City is offering $50,000 to anybody who wants to tell us what they think that means.

    It’s obviously open to any bidder, but my guess is that a team comprised of a landscape architecture firm and a skatepark-specific design/build firm will win this bid. I don’t know that either specific entity has the range of expertise to answer all of the questions this study needs to answer.

    We know it won’t be Portland’s response to Shanghai, Calgary, Winnipeg, Denver, Louisville, San Jose, or any other mega project. This won’t be – can’t be – a cookie-cutter mega project. (Winnipeg actually belongs in its own category because New Line took the plaza concept to another level there.) The challenges of the site alone ensure it will be a unique project.

    The project can’t sprawl. Quality, not quantity, will define this project. It won’t include every feature every Portland skater wants to see in one project. (Among the many reasons for the 19-park plan is the opportunity to evolve over time.)

    Without too much preconception, I expect to see concepts that incorporate a level of texture, color, and public art that we’ve never seen before.

    It’s too early to say how it will be funded. The only thing I’d say on this topic is that a public/private partnership is expected.

    I hope that helps, and I would close by saying any and all thoughts on what would make for the most amazing skatepark experience are encouraged.

  14. It sounds like you are saying this is an RFP to define the RFP that will secure the bid to design and build. This bid isn’t about the final design and build contract. Am I missing something?

    Strange that this would be needed on top of all the site studies that were done in the first place.

  15. Wow, this looks like something big.

    The pressure of the winning designer will be great and whoever gets it will need to have the support of the skaters. Unfortunately, skater support will not necessarily get you the best skatepark.

    I think it would be a shame to do the same-old-same-old skatepark. Portland should take this opportunity to pick a designer who has the ability and creativity to define what is the modern skatepark and not some tired pools and coping extravaganza.

    Take another look a Wally Hollyday. There is some of his mid-career parks that consistantly score as the best in the country (see the Concrete Wave Country park at Two Rivers Park in Nashville, TN for example).

    Although Wally has tended to do some of the more typical Dog Town design era parks recently, he is one of the most creative designers out there when he is allowed to do something creative by the skaters.

    Tell him what you like about all of your favorite parks and he’ll take that information and give you what you want and something better.

  16. Tom – as far as “sprawling” goes, it will be too bad if the compactness of the park prevents flow from one feature to another.

    The Bowling Green, KY park is a good example of what not to do. The individual features are great but there is no connection between features. In fact, there are three foot tall ledges and level changes between every area.

    Compactness doesn’t have to mean that there is no flow between features.

  17. Get the fuck out, Michael Poindexter. Keep your little pink dick in Tennessee and leave us the fuck alone. You may have noticed that we don’t need skatepark advice on this side of the wheat field.

  18. nweyesk8 on November 14, 2008 - Reply

    as a NW destination park, it should be built by a crew who consistently gets applauded, not by a company that is vehemently disliked or that has to point to certain parks for good examples of their work. I have never heard a bad word about any dreamland park and having ridden quite a few of them myself, I find their work virtually flawless. There is no other park crew you can say that about. Geth is a friend, but there are some definite complaints and reservations about some of his parks. I have personally ridden a few Grindline parks that had serious design flaws or poor craftsmanship in the final product. PTR parks are few in the NW, I think they do a decent job, but I have some serious issues with their scale, Seaside is a great example of a nice park but built for people in the 3-4′ height range and not for full scale adults. I haven’t ridden a team pain park in several years, so I can’t personally comment on their progression as a concrete park company.I think these are some important factors to consider when touting a company to build a park. Most any park builder can listen to what the locals want and provide a park that fills their wants, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be the best park it could be. I am all for diversity and seeing different companies build a wide variety of parks in the Portland area, Gabriel is freakin sweet and I am anxious to ride Ed Benadict too, but a showcase park should be built by true NW concrete artists and not by people whose parks are hit and miss affairs.

  19. Portland skateboarder on November 14, 2008 - Reply

    I. The death of that project had a third impact as well, incidently also involving a clown: Jim Francesconi. He was head of parks for 8 years and did nothing to support our community and thus was not re-elected.

    II. Fuck landscape architects

    III. Fuck plazas

    IV. With all due respect, this “$50k for an idea” is a waste of money (i.e. less concrete). We’ve already discussed it, researched it, prepared for it, and waited years and years for it. We, the community, are ready.

    The Steel Bridge park is not for politics, nor art, nor spectating, nor walking the dog, nor urban planning experiments. We’ve waited too long to let some academic grand theories fuck it up. Steel Bridge for skateboarding!

    There is no group more deeply invested in Portland skateboarding than Dreamland. They have the history (Burnside), experience (+10 years industry leader), commitment (~60 completed parks), and imagination.

    Don’t overthink this and blow it motherfuckers. Dreamland all the way.

  20. casting my vote for ANYBODY BUT WALLY KOOKIDAY.

  21. Where exactly is this spot under the steel bridge, so we can start digging?

  22. Wally NO
    Grindline no
    New Line no
    Site Design no
    Team Pain ?
    Dreamland YES

  23. Jesus christ, I hope this doesn’t go to Dreamland/Grindline. Some of you people need to wake the fck up. Nweyesk8 claims that “I’ve never heard a bad word about any Dreamland park..”. Do you only get your skate info. from this website? Do you only ever skate with the same 5 old dudes? Have you been to the Holly Farm skatepark? Dreamland is completely out of touch. They only build what they want to ride and their half-ass attempts at street obstacles are usually wack (see euro-gap quarterpipe at Glenhaven). How many steep as fck, hard to skate, over-vert, gimmicky bowls does the Northwest need. More bikers ride those big bowls than skaters nowadays. Pay attention when your at the parks and watch what most of the kids are skating. Just wait and see how crowded Ed Benedict will be when it opens. You old fools need to let it go. You’ve got countless options of ugly bowls to go carve, slash, and dirt grab in. Let’s build for the future of skating now.

  24. Abegnegal on November 17, 2008 - Reply

    Just cause you’re scared and can’t skate it don’t mean it sucks. Holly is the best skatepark in Portland after Bside.

  25. Neil the hater is back!

    Old man this.. boll troll that…

    Build for the future.. Hilarious, considering the town you speak of is part of the reason skateparks have a future. Must be a drag to skate in the town world famous for bumming you out.

  26. Fuck Wally Holliday, that shit is weak. His designs are alright, but his parks are on the low end of the good parks. I live close to the Greenlake park and it’s fun, but not top-of-the-line by a long shot. Let Dreamland build the bowl(s) part and have New Line build the plaza part.

  27. I think we have a good pool of quality designer/builders to choose from. Dreamland, Grindline, New Line, Team Pain, Air Speed would all build something rad. Let’s keep the kooks out (Wormhoudt) and let those 5 battle it out. Dreamland isn’t immune to design flaws. Look no further than that pile of shit street course at Pier.
    It would be rad to see something completely unique on the West side of the river.

  28. You guys are absolutely amazing. If all you want to do is talk shit about parks, then go for it, as long as you stay the fk out, so no one has to listen to your bitching during the session. More runs for skaters.

    Oh yea, I for one certainly NEVER want to skate that kook built park Lake Cunningham, or Louisville… what the hell was that Worm freak thinking!? (sarcasm for those not paying attention) And one last thing, the Bowling Green park kicks ass! (definitely not sarcasm)

  29. colin walsh rules on November 18, 2008 - Reply

    i like metal ramps, roller blades, asians w/ cars and a bunch of spoiled oregon people that complain about over the 200 parks they have eat a dick pussies.

  30. Ordinarily, I’d be all about DL and GL not building another tranny-specific place for all you old bastards to carve around… There’s enough of those already.

    But this is Portland’s flagship, and Portland gets a flagship because of the efforts of Dreamland and Grindline. It would be wholly inappropriate for anyone else to build this park.

    And given the space, it begs for something unique–something beyond street or tranny, something that fits.

    I’m pretty much a low-tranny and street skater, and guess what? MY NEEDS DON’T MATTER.

    This park should be beyond what we’ve ever seen. Make it huge, tight, smooth, rough, gnarly, flowy–whatever. Just make it different, and if it doesn’t meet your needs, go skate somewhere else. We’ve got a pretty good mix of street and tranny nowadays, and it’s only getting better.

    Dreamland all the way!

  31. Hey george, if i recall, the street course at pier was not designed by Dreamland. I think the plan came from some local skaters.

  32. Hass, I believe you’re right but the end result turned out drastically different from those plans.

  33. i think ‘drastically’ might be an overstatement. i thought that there was a sps ‘street’ guy supposedly ‘consulting’ on the pier street area.
    wasn’t this discussed a couple years ago?

  34. Tom Miller on November 18, 2008 - Reply

    Not to digress off the Steel Bridge topic too much, but opinionated folks may want to know…

    For the record, Jesse Bracewell had full design authority over the street section at Pier. I know because I wrote it into Dreamland’s contract. Jesse is well-known in Portland’s street skating circles, as well as (at the time) a vocal critic of Dreamland’s street work. We gave him (on behalf of Portland’s street skaters) more authority than any project Parks has led to date.

    We were also constrained by Parks’ insistence that we stay within the original footprint (basically a square). Obviously contemporary street designs tend to be more linear in design, consistently with the linear nature of street skating (run up, trick, bail/roll out). We pushed Parks to embrace a panhandle design at Glenhaven, which has proven to be much more effective. Ed Benedict embodies that; its teardrop shape is long and thin.

    I hope we add to Pier to better accommodate street in the years to come. There are some obvious and relatively inexpensive opportunities.

    If you’re familiar with the Steel Bridge site, you can imagine a plaza concept stretching the length of the site parallel to Naito Parkway.

  35. There you go. Make the Steel Bridge park a massive street plaza and give the other 15 left to Dreamland/Grindline/Airspeed/Placed to Ride

  36. We can throw out builders all damn day, but there isn’t any money to build anything, so that crap don’t matter.


    No money. It doesn’t matter what you want to ride, what we did wrong at this other park, what we did right at some park in Tennessee, etc.

    Did I mention we don’t have any money? If you want to contribute to the outcome of this project: figure out a way to help raise the cash.

    Pretty simple.

  37. wow

  38. Tranny Hall of Fame on November 20, 2008 - Reply

    “For the record, Jesse Bracewell had full design authority over the street section at Pier.” -Tom

    Jesse who? Will Jesse be tied into the Steelbridge contract?

    Neil: “Pay attention when your at the parks and watch what most of the kids are skating.”

    Jesus, Neil. Beat it, you old goat, and move to Kansas. Hell to pay if Steelbridge is built for the kids. Its our responsibility to use the experience and knowledge gained from years of skateboarding and years of skatepark work to build a park far better than what the kids want. Forget the kids, the kids will ride anything (just as we did). They got no bones in it. Steel Bridge is ours! Make it Burnside II.

  39. “Carl Says:
    November 14th, 2008 at 10:12 am
    Get the fuck out, Michael Poindexter. Keep your little pink dick in Tennessee and leave us the fuck alone. You may have noticed that we don’t need skatepark advice on this side of the wheat field.”

    Carl – sounds like to me you need alot of help. I’ll post anywhre I want. Whaddayo gonna do tough guy?

    I hope some young school riders get invelved in this process and come up with something beside the same old Dog Town old man’s skatepark.

    It probably won’t happen though. From what I know about Portland it is just some old hippie town that can’t move past the 1960’s.

    why plan anything? You all know better than anyone else. Just give everyone a bag of concrete and let them build what they want just like Burnside.

  40. nweyesk8 on November 24, 2008 - Reply

    DaddyYo, you have obviously never been to Portland and you are funny for trying to ‘sound’ tough in an online post. Even more funny is the fact you are on one hand bitching about ‘dog town’ skate parks, whatever the fuck that means, and at the same time your trying to hype Wally ‘Dogtown’ Hollyday to build our park. If it wasn’t for burnside we wouldn’t be enjoying such a surge in good to decent public parks, they would all be pre-fab shit piles, if they existed at all.

  41. I would not go to Portland but I do know alot about it.

    Me sounding tough? Did you not read the post by the prick I quoted?

    I’d like to see what are the top concrete park in the country in any objective poll. Wally Holleyday parks would be on the top of any list.

  42. I know a lot about places I have never been to as well!

    Remember its not who you know…

  43. daddyyo, you are obviously out of touch with modern skatepark design to say that wally “would be at the top of any list.” top 10? ok, i’ll give you that. top of the list? no way. while his parks are better than prefab, they leave alot to be desired, and are cookie-cutter designs with the cookies set up with slight variation from park to park.

    and since you have stated you would not go to portland, then stay the fuck out of discussions about portland’s flagship park.

  44. Trolls don’t go to parks without police presence… ’cause sayin’ shit in person is dangerous… Don’t feed the troll.

  45. WINNER: DaddyYo!!! –

    Says: “Portland it is just some old hippie town that can’t move past the 1960’s.”

    That’s really funny!

  46. dude daddyo is the spokesjerk for skaters for public skateparks!

  47. There are many things to love about Portland. You should definitely visit some time. Then after you have spent all your money, go on back home.

    I’m having trouble moving past the seventies ad campaigns.

  48. “Trolls don’t go to parks without police presence… ’cause sayin’ shit in person is dangerous… Don’t feed the troll.”

    Excuse me? Is that a threat? I’ll have to make sure I keep an eye on SkateTn to see when you come to the CWC. Guess I’ll have to have the Parks Police there for your visit since you have threatened me.

    Nik is like what I have heard of the skaters in Portland and is clear from bobcats attiude that Portland skaters are very immature.

    Let me remind you tough guys one thing – you are adults that are subject to the laws of society. You may ride toys but you are adults and your little playground bullying doesn’t work on me.

    Conahan – thanks for the invitation but how is me spending money in Portland going to save the planet?

    Let’s get back to skatepark design.

    How is the designer going to be decided? For such a high profile skatepark I think a design competition would be appropriate.

    Put out a competition announcement patterned after what major developers do for large public and private buidlings. That way, you’ll get a number of designs to choose from and the best one would be paid. The rest take a chance to win the contract.

    It is also a way to see what other designers propose. If the person with the best design doesn’t include some of the elements favored by the losing designer those elements can be added in later.

  49. What Tom Miller said, “I hope that helps, and I would close by saying any and all thoughts on what would make for the most amazing skatepark experience are encouraged.”

    Neil, let’s here what you have to say. Don’t mind what Tranny says.

  50. Daddyo, the whole point of this post was to tell the community that the city has started accepting proposals for the park’s site. Only 3-4 companies had filled out the proper paperwork to submit their proposal.

    This is the public bidding process or “competition” phase that you are trying to advocate. Its the same process that went into the 5 other parks built under the 19 park plan.

  51. hows the flowboard riding, daddydouchbag?

  52. Hass – yes, I am familiar with the RFP process. However, what I am talking about is quite a bit different.

    Maybe it is too late now.

    bobcat – shut the hell up. Why you gotta bring your harassment to this discussion. You ain’t nobody and you’ve got nothing to say.

  53. Mikey? Was I talking to you? No. Why on earth would I ever talk to a fkn dirtbag like you? I was in fact, talking to everyone except you. I’ll explain it for the idiot reader(whomever that may be): It’s an observation about fkn trolls being scared to say shit in person. As Mikey was so gracious to prove. Anyway… sorry Northwest Skaters, for the Tennessee troll derail… can’t wait to join you for some sessions on your kickass ‘crete.

  54. nweyesk8 on November 25, 2008 - Reply

    Bobcat is no nobody? I am so disillusioned right now….

  55. “bobcat Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 11:38 am
    hows the flowboard riding, daddydouchbag?”

    I don’t ride a flowboard, ya dumbass.

    What are you doing on this forum Jason Harrison. You don’t live in Oregon.

  56. nweyesk8 on November 25, 2008 - Reply

    DaddyYo, what part of ‘Skate and Annoy’ don’t you understand?

  57. Yeah, man we’re annoying globally here.

  58. oh, good, daddyyo is here. thank god we can get mired down in his bullshit instead of the topic at hand.

    oh, and could somebody post some links to the countless times the dudes on skatetn made mr poindexter look as stupid s he is?

    i could use a laugh.

  59. DaddyYo rules. It’s nice to have someone to point to that is an absolute horse’s ass. And, it is nice that he lays it all out there for us to see so obviously. From reading his posts, I realize that his brain functions are so below the average intelligence level, that it make me believe that the rest of society just might be okay.

  60. seriously, go kill yourself you have to be the most retarded people to call themselves a ‘skater’ in the history of skatekind.

    And for what it’s worth I was born in Portland so go back to fuckin your sister, redneck.

  61. This is quickly going south. Literally. I mean, the insults could at least be funny, right? Stop bringing us down, boys. Lighten’ up, already. Oh…shit… that’s some authentic NW hippie-talk coming outta my keyboard right there. Peace.

  62. Is this what they call Cyber Bullying? haha!

  63. nweyesk8 on November 25, 2008 - Reply

    YEEEHAAAWWW!!!!! we dun reched the top tin komemints, thank ya tenesee daddiyo…

  64. your not like the other folks,here at the trailer park on November 25, 2008 - Reply

    psst. you gotta real purty mouth…

  65. Haw, haw. Or should I say Hee Haw? Come on, we’ve got intelligent readers in Tennessee, and let’s face it, We’re the skatepark capital of world, but we’re probably not far from being the Meth capital of the world either.

  66. your not like the other folks, here at the trailer park on November 26, 2008 - Reply

    …really? tennessee? intellegent?! readers?!!

    …psst? whosgotmeth? you? is that what you’re saying?

  67. DaddyYo on December 1, 2008 - Reply

    So you don’t have anything else to say about the skatepark?


  68. they just don’t care to hear your crappy opinion, gramps.

  69. DaddyYo on December 1, 2008 - Reply

    Ha, ha. I know. They would rather hear you opinion about what other people think about my opinion.

  70. DaddyYo on December 1, 2008 - Reply


  71. grown ass man,pops. grown enough to handle enough concrete to fill your trailor.

  72. ByTheWay on December 1, 2008 - Reply

    “Fuck Wally Holliday” I did. He just layed there. And on the 8th day he built Apple.
    “Portland it is just some old hippie town that can’t move past the 1960’s”
    Not Really…

  73. wally holliday built the park in my town (edmond oklahoma) and its sorta good, they did a pretty good job, the street area is really good, everyone likes it, it flows really good, the bowl is sort of good, but it has no vert and is only sort of gnarly with an 8 foot deep end, but like i said it has no vert and after 3 years of skating it, its gotten kinda boring

    ive also been to the wichita kansas park built by Wally, it has 3 bowls but they are pretty much just cookie cutters, one of which is a “pool” with tile and vert but steel copping (??) which makes no sense, the street area was pretty lame as well, buuut it did have this cool bank thing, i dunno, hard to explain, it was the one thing at the park that i liked

    soooo there you go, if you want ok parks with one cool thing that you will be bored with in 3 years, theeeeeeeen Wally holliday is for you!

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