Happy New Year and I hope everyone had an excellent holiday season. I’m still working at bringing a new indoor skatepark to the Portland area and want to bring you an update and ask for some help for the community!
The building search has been harder than I ever imagined it would be, but I’m not one to give up easily, and I’m not one to do things halfway. Because of that I’ve learned a lot about the building and zoning codes in the State of Oregon and in the various cities I’ve been looking at. We are still in talks with the owners of a building in Oregon City, but it is going slowly and I hope to hear back from them soon. I didn’t imagine Oregon City as an option at the outset of this project, but this building is really amazing and I believe would make an incredible home to Stronger Skatepark and be a bring some needed family friendly retail to downtown Oregon City.
There is a very real chance this building won’t work out and I’m aware of that. Thats where you can help. I need more eyes looking for possible locations for Stronger Skatepark. The challenging part of this is that any potential buildings need to be already approved for an “Assembly Use” according to the state occupancy code. We simply can not afford to do a change of occupancy at the outset of the park unless the building owner is able to pay for the needed safety upgrades to the building. The types of buildings this includes are restaurants, gyms, theaters, schools, churches, bowling alleys, and other recreational facilities. The buildings we CAN NOT use are retail stores, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities, unless they have already gone through a change of occupancy and have been approved for assembly use.
In the past many parks and ramps in Portland have opened up in retail or warehouse spaces illegally and I think that’s one of the beautiful parts of skate culture, we make due with what we can. Portland is home to Burnside, one of the greatest DIY victories in skate history! But ongoing DIY spaces like Burnside are the exception. We learned that again in 2016 with the loss of the lower freddies DIY. In 2016 we also lost The Grotto and the Trusty Bowl (former D.O.S). I’m missing these spots as much as anyone as this long cold winter carries on.
In 2017 I hope to see more parks and spots open than close, including Stronger. I’m planning on Stronger Skatepark being an important part of the skate community in Portland for a decade or more! That means we need to do this park by the books and it’s easier to do that at the start than it is to try and get up to code later.
If we can find a building that is already approved for our use we will be able to get in and start building the park right away, only needing to do minimal upgrades to the building itself. With more eyes looking for these types of spaces I hope to find our home sooner. If you have an idea of a building send some info and the address to contact@StrongerSkatepark.com. If your information allows us to find a space we will give you a one year membership to Stronger Skatepark as our way of saying thanks!
The entire idea behind Stronger Skatepark is to strengthen our skate community by working together, Together we are Stronger! Let’s start that today by keeping our eyes peeled for any large spaces that could be the new home for our park and our community!
Below is a screen shot from the state building code of what is considered an A-3 use. Any buildings that are currently or were recently used for these types of businesses are the type of building we need to move into to avoid hundreds of thousands in expenses relating to a change of occupancy.