Brooklyn Street Skate Spot has known since inception that it’s days were numbered. Even when it went from a renegade pour to an officially permitted project (in a very short time) The Portland to Milwaukee (Oregon) Light rail project was always looming in the murky, but not too distant future. To make room for the expanded rail commuter service connecting Portland to the suburbs, the property on either side of the rails is expanding, and the pedestrian bridge has to come down. You might be able to fight a road, but you can’t fight the railroad. This means BSSS will be destroyed in the process. In talks with the city and construction company, tentative plans allowed for only partial destruction of BSSS during the removal of the pedestrian bridge. Unfortunately, circumstances have changed.
[Photo: Pete Lewis]
The pedestrian bridge is still coming down, but a new one will be going up in the same place, at an undetermined time. It was originally planned that the bridge would move a few blocks down the line, but it failed to be ratified by the new neighborhood, and so the new bridge will be built in the existing location. The fence surrounding the tracks is also encroaching at least 20ft into the existing property. City lawyers have been informed that they can not leave a partially demolished BSSS in place while the rail project is underway, and so the BSSS permit is going to be revoked. Why not get a new permit for a smaller footprint BSSS? The filing process can’t start until after the the initial phase of rail project is finished. So assuming a new permit is granted in a few years, the whole thing will have to be torn down again when the new bridge goes up, most likely within a year or two after the rail, at which point the permitting process has to start over again too.
In essence, BSSS is dead. The real reason the perm it was granted with such relative ease in the first place was because they knew the whole thing was destined to be demolished. BSSS organizers have been aware of this from the start. The silver lining is that the City might be persuaded to help fund the new Powell Street Skate Spot as a substitute for the very positive PR the community gave BSSS. In general, the exchange between the skateboarding community of Brooklyn Street Skate Spot and the City of Portland has been overwhelmingly positive, and organizers would like to keep it that way. The message is BSSS had a really good run, let’s not focus on things we can’t change. Instead let’s work towards a viable future, namely PSSS, at least for the time being.
Demolition begins November 12th! Get your sessions in while you can.
Tentative plans for a New Orleans style wake for BSSS are set for November 7th.
Here are a few phone snaps of Brooklyn Street’s humble beginnings. There are a ton of BSSS pics on Instagram, but unfortunately their webAPI doesn’t allow linking to hashtags. If anybody has any BSSS pics they’d like to share, send them to S&A and I’ll put together a gallery. You can scroll through all the posts on S&A tagged with BSSS, dating back to 2010.