Portland's only sanctioned downhill skateboarding race, the Mt. Tabor Downhill Challenge, will feature a mini-bike category. The event takes place this Sunday on the slopes of the popular southeast Portland park.
This is the first time the MTDHC has had a mini-bike category and to my knowledge, this is the first officially sanctioned mini-bike downhill race in Portland's history. Veteran Zoobomber Gabriel Tiller says Zoobomb actually started on Mt. Tabor 10 years ago, so this event marks an anniversary of sorts and a return to its roots.
Event organizer Billy "Bones" Meiners says all bikes that enter must have have a stock, 16-inch frame and 16-inch wheels. Some mini-bikers add weight to their rigs to increase speed, so there's a 10 pound limit on additional weights. Bikes are also allowed to have fairings. (more...)
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."
"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."
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.
Just read a funny/worthwhile message on the Shift email list. It's from our friend/man about town Carl Larson and it's a plea to join him on the hill tonight for what will likely be very cold and invigorating night of Zoobombing:
If YOU haven't been Zoobombing in months or EVER (repent!), tonight just might be your night!
Here are a few reasons why you should Zoobomb tonight:
1) It's Sunday and Zoobombing only happens on Sunday.
2) Maybe you don't have to work tomorrow thanks to MLK Jr.?
3) It might snow and that would be AWESOME!
I've invited some friends who've never Zoobombed before and here is the plan if you'd like to join us:
8pm -- Pregame at the NEW Sizzle Pie (formerly Rocco's) at 10th and SW Oak
9pm -- Meetup (and get a "pyle bike" if you want one) at The Pyle, SW 13th and Burnside
10pm -- If you don't want to meet at the Pyle, make sure you're getting off MAX at Washington Park by 10. Follow the people with bikes.
Things to keep in mind: You don't have to go fast. You can ride your own bike (but a little one's WAY more fun). It's safe. You can be home before midnight.
Suggested packing list: Warm clothes (prepare for standing around), shareable snacks or drinks, good lights, styrofoam hat, open mind, $2.10.
and PPB spokesman downtown.
The esteemed British Broadcast Corporation has turned its lens on Zoobombing. The beloved Portland institution is the focus of a recent BBC "Close-up" segment.
The short piece offers classic footage that is hilarious (in a good way). It features a serious journalist interviewing Zoobomb's "Handsome" Dave and Portland Police Bureau spokesman Peter Simpson in front of the Zoobomb Pyle.
Zoobomb's annual Mini Bike Winter fest has begun! The event, which lasts through Sunday, started last night when the Irondelles (Portland's all-female tall bike gang) led a ride to spruce up area ghost bikes and do some craft-making for upcoming events.