Charlie Hales want’s to be the next mayor of Portland, but he’s getting no love from some residents of southwest Portland’s Arlington Heights hills neighborhood, who seem to be looking for a scapegoat. Why? They live on a hill that has become a popular downhill run, and Hales led the charge to make skateboarding legal on Portland streets. Trouble has been brewing for a while, and it seems unavoidable that heads would butt. On the one side you have wealthy, freaked out landowners who are are worried about hitting people and of course, property damage… On the other side you have a contingent of mostly responsible skaters as well as some others who may be not so conscious of the precariousness of the entire situation. The sheer number of people hitting the hills and the laws of probability dictate there will be incidents. The Oregonian briefly touch on both sides of the issue. The most level headed quote so far is from Hales himself actually:
“It is not OK for people to bomb down residential streets at high speeds on any conveyance — car, skateboard, whatever,” he said. “We need to address that while still making it legal for people to use skateboards.”
Billy Meiners seems to be somewhat in agreement:
“I’m trying to convince the skaters we need to be responsible,” Meiners said. “But making it illegal isn’t going to change anything. Skaters are used to being outlaws.”
Comments on the article on the Oregonian range from thoughtful to predicable and lame. And as the “voice of reason” on S&A, I’d like to encourage our readers to be smart about how they respond instead of taking the bait. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.