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West Hills Skateboarding Ban

Leonard pushes West Hills skateboarding ban to September

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
There were several skateboards in
Council chambers today.
(Photos © J.Maus/BikePortland)

A proposed amendment to Portland's city code that would ban skateboarding and "other similar devices powered exclusively by human power" (but thankfully, not bicycles) on several miles of roads in the West Hills and quadruple traffic fines on a host of related infractions, is on the agenda at City Council this morning.

*Scroll to end of post for updates.*

Since coming to light on June 11th, the proposed ban and fee increases have drawn concern from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the Portland Police Bureau, and many in the community who feel such a hard-handed response to the issue is unneccessary. Residents of the Arlington Heights Neighborhood, led by board member Eric Nagle, pushed for the ban because they feel it's the only way to stop the high-speed skateboarding that has led to numerous injury collisions in the past year. (more...)

BTA asks Leonard's office to withdraw skateboarding ban proposal - UPDATED

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

"Council finds: Skateboarders use neighborhood streets as a venue for an extreme thrill sport, and not as a means of transportation for which the streets were designed;"
— Text from the skateboarding ban ordinance

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has waded into the debate over whether or not City Council should support a proposed ban on skateboarding in the West Hills.

In a letter to Commissioner Randy Leonard (who's pushing the ordinance at the behest of Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association board member Eric Nagle), the BTA said that despite a recent clarification in the ordinance that the ban would not include bicycles, they remain uncomfortable with the proposal and they want it removed from tomorrow morning's City Council agenda.

Specifically, the BTA is concerned about a section in the ordinance's pre-amble that reads:

(more...)

Skateboarding ban ordinance now excludes bicycles; but concerns remain

Monday, June 25th, 2012
Roads under consideration for the ban are marked in red.
(Graphic: City of Portland)

An amendment to existing City ordinance that will ban skateboarding on several miles of roads in Portland's West Hills near Washington Park will be brought up before City Council this Wednesday (6/27) at 9:30 am.

As I've reported, the push for this ban comes from the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association and their board member Eric Nagle. In a story earlier this month, I wondered if this proposal might impact Zoobomb, the weekly event where people ride bikes down many of the roads under consideration in the ban. Both Nagle and City Commissioner Randy Leonard (who will present the ordinance at Council) have claimed they have no intention of banning bikes; but it was clear — both from the wording in the original drafts of the ordinance and from communications between Nagle and the City of Portland — that this ban could have unintended consequences.
(more...)

Man behind skateboarding ban also concerned about bicycling, Zoobomb

Friday, June 15th, 2012
Zoobomb
Enjoying a ride down the West Hills.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

When I first heard about West Hills resident Eric Nagle's effort to ban skateboarding in the West Hills, my first thought was: Is Zoobomb — and by extension, bicycling — at risk? Even though bicycling down the hills around Washington Park and the type of skateboarding Nagle is concerned with are different activities; it's clear that for him, there is no distinction.

A series of emails from Nagle to the City obtained by BikePortland through a public records request, show that, contrary to his public stance so far, he is painting his concerns with a wide brush that includes not just skateboarding but bicycling and Zoobomb as well.

As we shared earlier this week, Nagle has pushed Commissioner Randy Leonard to propose an ordinance (to be voted on at City Council later this month) that will ban skateboarding on a significant swath of roads in the West Hills. Both Nagle and Leonard have said they are not concerned with Zoobomb and that they are focused solely on skateboarders who, according to the proposed ordinance, "use neighborhood streets as a venue for an extreme thrill sport, and not as a means of transportation for which the streets were designed."
(more...)

Update on West Hills skateboarding ban: Concerned neighbor speaks out

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

"Neither I nor anyone else in the neighborhood, as far as I know, is trying to put an end to Zoobomb. Not now, and not in the future."
— Eric Nagle, Arlington Heights resident working to ban skateboards on SW Fairview Ave

As we shared yesterday, there's an effort underway to ban skateboarding on the steep hills in and around Washington Park and the Arlington Heights neighborhood. I'm watching this issue closely because the roads under consideration for prohibition are also popular for people who enjoy riding bicycles downhill. I'm also interested in this issue because of the precedent it could set for how the City of Portland decides to ban certain road uses in response to neighborhood concerns.

Commissioner Randy Leonard and Arlington Heights Neighborhood resident Eric Nagle say the ban is necessary due to safety concerns. Nagle paints a dire picture of the situation. He claims skateboarders are running into cars and getting seriously hurt with increasing regularity. I have been in touch with Nagle to hear more about his side of the issue. He emailed me about it today saying, "What we're trying to put an end to is the dangerous, crazy skateboarding that's exploded in the neighborhood in recent years."
(more...)

Should Zoobombers fear proposed skateboard ban? - UPDATED

Monday, June 11th, 2012
Zoobomb
Riding down SW Fairview Ave.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A debate has been stirring for almost a year between Arlington Heights Neighborhood residents and people that ride skateboards down the steep hills of SW Fairview Ave.

As reported today by The Portland Mercury, City Commissioner Randy Leonard will propose a ban on skateboarding on certain streets in the west hills. According Leonard's policy advisor Stuart Oishi, the ordinance is currently being prepared by the City Attorney's office and will up for a vote at City Council on June 27th.

As news of this ordinance has spread through the community, many people who bike down Fairview for fun as part of Zoobomb are afraid that this could lead to a ban and/or crackdown on downhill bicycling as well.
(more...)

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