Ruckus Warehouse Sale

Leonard pushes West Hills skateboarding ban to September

Posted by on June 27th, 2012 at 9:55 am

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.

Nagle was a working member of a coalition that has worked for 11 months to improve the situation; but he says he left after he learned some members of the group were simultaneously promoting what he feels is an illegal skateboard race. Nagle called that a “slap in the face” and went directly to City Hall where he found a sympathetic ear in Commissioner Randy Leonard.

Yesterday, Leonard opened the door for a reconsideration of his proposal.

At the Council meeting today, Randy Leonard pulled together a panel of his staff and Arlington Heights residents to make a presentation outlining their concerns. I’m in Council chambers now and will be updating this story as it develops…

Skateboarding ban at City Council-2

Leonard listens to a presentation on dangerous skateboarding.

Leonard’s policy advisor Stu Oishi tells council that boarders are “Wildly surfing through their streets… beyond safety limits.”

An Arlington Heights neighborhood association board member said the issue affects neighborhood livability and that they have tried to solve the problem over the last couple of years but nothing has worked. “We are very afraid someone’s going to be killed.”

Skateboarding ban at City Council-5

Eric Nagle (L) with Leonard staffer Stu Oishi on the right in background.

Eric Nagle, an attorney by day, echoed that sentiment. He gave a slide presentation and showed YouTube videos of skaters careening down streets. “The reason we’re here,” said Nagle, “Is that we are really, really afraid someone is going to die on our streets.” One of Nagle’s slides said boarding is not “green transportation” it’s a “thrill sport.”

Skateboarding ban at City Council-4

Nagle’s presentation also included many YouTube videos shot by boarders. The videos show some very insane and dangerous riding. He is also recounting several of the chilling and sometimes serious injury collisions that he and other residents have documented.

City Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees the Parks Bureau, asked an Arlington Heights representative about displacement of the boarders if these routes were banned. That led to an interesting exchange where the resident suggested the creation of a “lineal park” — a designated route where skating could happen completely unimpeded by cross traffic or other vehicles. Fish seemed to like that idea and he made an analogy to his work with off-road bicycling in Forest Park (where Fish’s strategy was to defer the trail discussion in favor of finding more MTB-specific locations).

When it was Leonard’s turn to speak, he made it clear that he felt this was a serious issue. He was clearly trying to re-frame the public discussion that he was simply doing the bidding of Eric Nagle. Recounting his experience as an elected official who has been a part of many public safety issues, he said, “I know the difference between a serious problem and a non-serious problem. I don’t get pulled into other peoples’ issues… The fact I’m here says this is a serious issue.”

Leonard also made it clear that he disagrees with the Portland Police Bureau’s contention that Nagle left the group talks about this issue too soon or that he did an “end-around” on the process. “Mr. Nagle did exactly what I’d want any neighborhood resident to do.”

With that being said, Leonard said he’d like to postpone this proposal until September 5th in order for the process to, “Pick up where it left off.” When the issue comes back to Council on the 5th, Leonard said he wants to see a “consensus agreement” between all the stakeholders. Absent that, Leonard threatened he would put the ordinance up for a vote.

In the interim, Leonard advised the Police Bureau to do a few enforcement missions up on the West Hills to cite road users who are operating dangeriously and illegally.

The main representative for skateboarding throughout this process, Billy “Bones” Meiners, finally got a chance to speak after Leonard’s big announcement. “I would love a chance to implement the work we’ve done,” he said, referring to the safety measures that were ready to go before the ban proposal came to light. “The busy summer skating season would be a great chance to put this into action.”

Meiners said he’d be happy to advise the police on safe and effective ways to issue citations to people skateboarding. “I actually encourage it [writing tickets to skateboarders].”

“I would like to continue doing this safely and legally,” said Meiners, “and encourage others to do the same.”

Nagle agreed. “I think the neighborhood is willing to hear what skaters have to offer… We’re looking forward to stepped up enforcement.”

Carl Larson, a bike safety educator with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, said the current skateboarding that occurs on SW Fairview is “terrifying.” “It’s unacceptable to feel unsafe in your own neighborhood streets,” he said, “and the BTA is eager to be a partner in any effort to make sure our streets are a safe place for anyone who uses them.”

Larson testified that there needs to be a “multi-faceted effort” to the problem that should include engineering, enforcement, and education.

“The ban being proposed,” he continued, “puts all these potential solutions into enforcement.” “By keeping responsible skating legal, Portland will be able to address the problem with not just enforcement, but with engineering and education as well.”

— For more background on this issue, check our archives.

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  • lisa smillie June 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

    “The reason we’re here,” said Nagle, “Is that we are really, really afraid someone is going to die on our streets.”

    Dear Mr. Nagle,
    People are already dieing on our streets, but it’s not because of skateboarders.

    If only we did this much hand wringing over the real threat to public safety. Speeding, red-light running, texting while driving, DUI. Maybe we should ban driving since it cause so many deaths.

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  • are June 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

    were the “many youtube videos” shot on the streets in question?

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  • Jerry June 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Well said Lisa.
    I’d only add that it seems disingenuous of Leonard to say that he doesn’t get pulled in to other people’s problems. If I had City Hall in my back pocket you can bet that we’d be talking about getting those thrill seekers in Urban Assault Vehicles off the road. Oh, that is different because their actions endanger me. If I am a skateboarder my actions endanger… me?

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  • felix June 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Thank you for going to this and reporting. I had to work or I would have been there. I hope they come to a resolution and we don’t make more laws that wont change anything.

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  • Rol June 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I feel like those accidents, those injuries are a built-in enforcement/deterrent mechanism. But I suppose it’s psychologically hard on the one who ends up being the instrument of justice… even when a moron plows into your car it’s still traumatic I suppose. And your insurance premium goes up. Still, you have to figure that if this truly is a “thrill sport,” they’re doing it BECAUSE it’s dangerous and BECAUSE it’s illegal. So, making it slightly more illegal, kind of ah, I don’t see the point. I can’t believe I keep paying attention to this story, in fact. A testament to how boring my job is!

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  • are June 27, 2012 at 11:02 am
    • Spiffy June 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

      I like how they disabled comments and ratings, likely because they knew they’d get a lot of comments supporting the skateboarders…

      I see nothing but a bunch of people sharing the road… cars, boards, bikes, pedestrians… they’re all moving fluidly through the streetscape…

      so what’s the problem?

      the description says that 7 boarders have died in the last 3 years… what they don’t tell you is that there have already been 121 traffic fatalities just this year…

      so what’s the dangerous problem plaguing our streets? I think everybody know the answer, but only some of us will admit it…

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      • are June 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

        “I see nothing but a bunch of people sharing the road… cars, boards, bikes, pedestrians… they’re all moving fluidly through the streetscape…”

        for real? i see at least one instance in which a skateboarder passes an oncoming car (albeit stopped) on the left, and at least one instance of skiffing. and any number of blown stop signs. at this moment in time, these are not the agreed norms.

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        • Spiffy June 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

          at this moment in time, these are not the agreed norms.

          bicycling is also not the agreed norm… I won’t stop riding just because of that…

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          • are June 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

            no, but if you want to change norms you might want to engage people in constructive conversation

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    • Granpa June 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      The video confirms that skateboarding is not a crime, but skateboarders are criminals.

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      • Nathan June 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        Let me fix that for you. Certain skateboard riders are criminals.

        Just as certain bus drivers are criminals, certain airline pilots are criminals, certain truck drivers are criminals, certain car drivers are criminals, certain bicycle riders are criminals, certain motorcycle riders are criminals, and certain people are criminals.

        If anything, the video begs for enforcement of existing laws for all mode users on these roads.

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    • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I am actually impressed.
      Despite the one pass where the skater took to the passenger side of the vehicle at the stop sign, the “boarder’s ( I will refrain from calling them athlete’s/thrill seekers for obvious reasons)in this video showed deft skill and ability to stop their skateboards nearly on a dime!
      I believe there is an opportunity for the City of Portland to work with these amazing and talented “Gravity Vehicle device” operators, the Portland police Bureau, and the concerned residents of the fabulous Arlington Height’s neighborhood,to strike a balance between perceived risk,rights to the road, and dispelling the awful myth that skateboarding is dangerous.

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    • BicycleDave June 28, 2012 at 1:08 am

      You do realize the perceived speed is distorted because of the wide angle lens used in the video right?

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      • oskarbaanks June 28, 2012 at 2:05 am

        Yes, BTW, I was a photo/video major at a prestigious Art school before you were born. And my depth perception was never lessened by any hallucinogens I was taking at the time. Periphery is my major, mofo’! Did I mention that when my child( @the age of 2) saw Bo Diddley, 11 month’s before he died that he had a greater grasp of the world as we know it than your entire family for 8 generations combined?

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  • Dan June 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Wow, sorry, but that looks pretty reckless to me. Now I’m glad I bike up Kingston instead of this road.

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    • Mindful Cyclist June 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Good luck biking up Kingston when it’s dark unless you have a very good set of lights.

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  • Joe June 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

    just put up some signage 🙂 we can all share right?

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  • Jerry June 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Yeah, and if the subjects of those videos lived doesn’t that disprove the fear of death argument?

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  • Brian June 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    “Fish seemed to like that idea and he made an analogy to his work with off-road bicycling in Forest Park (where Fish’s strategy was to defer the trail discussion in favor of finding more MTB-specific locations)”

    Which, if experience has taught us, means that there will be no respectable solutions found. A simple solution, one we are all taught at a young age, is to simply share. Share the trails in Forest Park. Share the roads in the West Hills. This seems to be an incredibly difficult concept for some to grasp here in Portland, yet works with very little conflict in many other cities. Sad.

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    • davemess June 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      yeah, I didn’t get that at all?
      You mean the work where you strung cyclists along for years and arbitrarily screwed them at the last minute to cater to a small group of locals? That work?

      So this would look like “sure we’ll give you a separate course to skate on”, and 5 years will go by with nothing done and skaters with no place to go.

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  • Dan June 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

    just put up some signage 🙂 we can all share right?
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    Signs like, “Caution: skateboarders with limited braking capacity may ignore adjacent stop sign — Enter crosswalk at your own risk”.

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    • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Yeah, That sounds good, although a bit wordy.

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  • GlowBoy June 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Wow. Thanks for the link, are. That’s some seriously crazy-stupid s*** happening there. Is that typical, or just an occasional exception?

    I don’t want to ban skateboards (or start down that slippery slope), but if it’s happening a lot I DO want to ban a lot of what I just saw in that video.

    Oh, wait. It already is illegal to blow through stop signs at 35mph, passing other vehicles stopped at the sign. It already is illegal to meet an oncoming car by going to the extreme left side of the road and going around the other side of them.

    If cops can sit at a stop sign and ticket cyclists who roll through when no one else is around, why can’t they set up periodic stings of idiot skateboarders who race past stop signs without even slowing down?

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    • wileysiren June 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Revenue generation for the City of Portland – set up stop sign stings in the West Hills. For *anyone* running stop signs, regardless of mode of transportation.

      This whole argument sounds like it’s a few bad apples making most everyone else look bad. *sigh*

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  • Spiffy June 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    “It’s unacceptable to feel unsafe in your own neighborhood streets,”

    I agree, please get rid of the cars… they constantly scare the sh¡t out of me…

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    • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      “It’s unacceptable to feel unsafe in your own neighborhood streets,”

      True. If they feel unsafe there maybe they could move to 82nd an Foster. of over off Fessenden somewhere, or South Chicago, or any where in Philly,Detroit,Kansas City,Memphis,NawLin’s…etc.etc.etc. Poor West Hillsbilly’s, it is so dangerous over there!

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      • wsbob June 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        “It’s unacceptable to feel unsafe in your own neighborhood streets,”
        True. If they feel unsafe there maybe they could move to 82nd an Foster. of over off Fessenden somewhere, or South Chicago, or any where in Philly,Detroit,Kansas City,Memphis,NawLin’s…etc.etc.etc. Poor West Hillsbilly’s, it is so dangerous over there!
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        Oh that’s funny! Or maybe instead, skateboarders could go to 82nd and Foster, etc to skate? Not quite as funny. Without the steep hills downhill boarders want, the places you mention probably wouldn’t be considered to offer much in the way of fun for downhill skateboarding.

        Skateboarders want to be allowed to skate the Heights’ hilly streets. What are skateboarders prepared to bring to the table that would enable skateboarding to be a less disruptive activity in the neighborhood than it has been?

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        • Zimmerman June 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm

          Let’s see if the skateboarders can pull a well connected Federal Attorney and some rich landowners out of his back pocket. I think that’s what the skateboarders need to bring to the table, no?

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        • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm

          …uh, my point is that the West hills are fairly cream puff in regards to extraneous danger. In fact, just what is the gun related fatality rate per year over in that portion of Portland,that is not related to illicit personal affairs, or suicide due to market fluctuations? I think I will look that up, while were thinkin’ about it… let me get back to ‘ya.

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  • Spiffy June 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    skateboarders on Skyline/Burnside… this is where they’ll go when they get displaced… I think it looks a lot more dangerous…

    so the ban obviously won’t end the practice of fast downhill skateboarding, it will just move it to somewhere else where people have less political power…

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    • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      That made my palms sweat! I love bombin’ that on my bike. I hit 84mph on the descent from Nederland to Boulder once. Monarch Pass fully loaded with 50 lbs of stuff in a BoB trailer, 64mph,easy for over 40 mins. I wish I had the skill to skate like that. If I did, I would do it. I know there are many here who don’t want to hear a 52 year old say that, but …

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  • Paul Manson June 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I want to agree with the general angst against the entitled homeowners up there. But boy, the skateboard video makes the skaters hard to ally with.

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  • Jon June 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I constantly have to defend all bicyclists when my non-cyclist co-workers see the reckless actions of riders who run stop signs at full speed and blantantly break road laws. Why we (bicyclists) or our advocacy organization (BTA) would want to group ourselves with this reckless bunch of thrill seekers is beyond me. It diminishes our political clout to be associated with or supporting skateboarders like this.

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    • are June 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      read carl larson’s comments more carefully. i don’t think you will find him allied with the stuff you see in the video.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm


      I’m not sure you’re paying close enough attention. I have been watching this closely and so far I have not heard a single person line up in support of “reckless bunch of thrill seekers.” Everyone around the table is concerned about the crazy speeds and daredevil riding that’s going on.

      People oppose the ban because it won’t work and it’s poorly conceived policy. Commissioner Amanda Fritz had a great line at the meeting today when she pointed out how there’s already a ban on biking and skating on downtown sidewalks, but it happens all the time and remains a problem.

      The ban won’t work. Not to mention it would cause anger and division in the community.

      One other thought about your comment, is that you might become more comfortable in the future if you didn’t see “bicyclists” as “we”. I like to think we’re all in one big community where some people ride bikes, some people drive cars, some people drive, and so on.

      Lumping people together based on nothing other than the fact that they love and/or ride bikes, isn’t the best way to see things in my opinion.

      Thanks for the comment.

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    • Richard Allan June 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      “I constantly have to defend all bicyclists when my non-cyclist co-workers see the reckless actions of riders who run stop signs at full speed and blantantly break road laws.”

      Jon, you don’t “have to defend” anyone. You are not responsible for the behavior of others. Tell your co-workers that.

      Don’t play into their game of “OMG! This morning I saw a bicyclist fly through a red light, knock down a blind old lady, and flip the bird at a rabbi and a nun . . .” The game isn’t about you. It is about them. Detach. Breathe. Relax.

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  • Kevin June 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Last Sunday I personally witnessed 3 skateboarding youth traveling in excess of 25 mph down Fairview and blowing through the stop sign at the bottom of the hill. Fortunately for them, the large SUV at the stop sign yielded right of way to the skaters. I sat there in awe thinking “Darwin Award recipients” as they hurtled past me chuckling about how they almost lost control into a row of parked cars. I wonder what the rhetoric on this site is going to look like after a cyclist is taken out by one of these reckless kids?

    It is too bad that a few can ruin the image for a large group. It is also too bad that we can’t seem to enforce current laws that would possibly prevent this behavior. Placating the disgruntled residents by passing more restrictive laws is not going to do anything to provide/increase enforcement of current and future laws related to solving this issue.

    How about a bicycle officer positioned at the corner to catch these offenders? A bike would have the mobility to be effective in apprehending them.

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    • Chris I June 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      The same way it looks when a car or truck takes out a cyclist. Calls for prosecution of said individual at fault.

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  • 9watts June 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    problem: some daredevil folks on skateboards in Arlington Heights endangering everyone not just themselves.

    established process: everyone or most everyone sits down to figure out how to eliminate the crazy dangerous stuff.

    …we interrupt this process and E.N. & R.L. come up with vindictive broad brush ban and stiff increases in fines for actions in other places (downtown) which don’t appear to have anything in common with the ostensible problem that spawned this end run to Council…

    What I hear is an eagerness on all sides to distinguish the dangerous stuff from skateboarding as an activity, and to enforce existing laws. The language in Nagle and Leonard’s ban, however, doesn’t capture this very well but comes across as vindictive and classist. The public discussion we’re having here, and a version of which was presumably occurring in those meetings for 11 months, on the other hand, are more interesting and more likely to lead to meaningful solutions. It sounds like there are a few more months in which to wrap up that process. Hats off to those who drew attention to this and got the ban off the table for a while.

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  • dmc June 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    This reminds me of all the times we built dirt jumps as kids on unused public property. All the fun times we had playing there for free only to have it taken away from us every summer.

    This Eric Nagle character could give a s*** less if some hipster skateboarder punk flew off it skateboard and had his/her face ripped off by the asphalt. He is just tired of the noise and seeing them flying down his street.

    People are considered about a fatality that hasn’t happened on their street but don’t give a crap about the numerous traffic fatalities a few blocks away from their home. It stinks of selfishness.

    What was that old nintendo game called? Skate or Die? 🙂

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    • dmc June 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm


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  • q`Tzal June 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    To bad all this wasted time and effort on the neighborhood’s part couldn’t be put in to paying for an extra policing division for their embattled fiefdom.
    And I don’t mean private rent-a-cops but honest to goodness official police officers that would have the legal jurisdiction to enforce laws. They would have to cough up the funding for full union wages, benefits and some gear.
    The local police could ensure that traffic drops off to locals and lost tourists if cops are hiding everywhere ticketing skateboarders and cyclists for the most minor infraction.
    This would backfire when the police realize they can ticket the speeding drivers too.
    “I noticed you didn’t come to a full and complete stop back there and I clocked you 1MPH over the speed limit; please step out of your vehicle.”

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    • are June 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      i do think as this process moves forward they ought to talk about how these streets are potentially dangerous if misused not only by skaterboarders or bicyclists but also by motorists, and if they want to combine enforcement with much, much steeper fines they should increase the fines for all users. designate specified streets as increased fine zones and have at it, but include the motorists, both in the ordinance language and in the evenhanded enforcement.

      and drop this nonsense about increasing the fines for skating on downtown sidewalks. that is a separate problem.

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      • wsbob June 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm

        “i do think as this process moves forward they ought to talk about how these streets are potentially dangerous if misused not only by skaterboarders or bicyclists but also by motorists, …” are

        A big problem for skateboards as a legitimate mode of transport on public streets, is that skateboards don’t have brakes, while other modes of wheeled transport for use on the street, probably all of them…do have brakes.

        Misuse aside, without brakes, even cautious use of skateboards on the street in traffic leaves people using them far less well prepared to slow and stop for stop signs, people, pets all manner of other obstacles commonly encountered on the street, than people riding bikes or driving cars.

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        • q`Tzal June 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

          This principle would apply to fixies with no visible brakes, right?
          Rather than simply stoke the “cars are more dangerous” angle I’ll add this thought: if we are to place limits on the operating envelope of autos, bikes and other wheeled conveyances perhaps we need to study at what range of speeds do “accidents” increase nonlinearly.
          For example: if I pull up stats for all automotive crashes in this neighborhood each segment of road will show that most crashes occur above a certain threshold of velocity. Not to say that a lower speed is necessarily less deadly just that fewer crashes have occurred at that lower speed in that area.
          The same logic and rigor can easily be applied to bicycle and skateboard borne offenders.
          Concentrate efforts on preventing public harm not on being a Vogon

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          • wsbob June 28, 2012 at 12:49 am

            I believe it does, and also, that fixed gear bikes without brakes aren’t street legal. The archives of bikeportland probably still contain stories and comments where this was discussed extensively. As I recall, efforts made in Oregon Legislature to have fixed gear bikes without conventional brakes be regarded as legally equipped for street use failed precisely because the braking capability of a fixed gear bike’s drive-train, applied by the riders leg resistance, ultimately wasn’t considered sufficient to be reliable across a general cross section of people that might be inclined to ride those type bikes.

            Vogon. Hah! Forgot…had to look up the hitchhiker/galaxy reference. Perhaps something about them, you had in mind as relevant, from wikipedia: “… Vogons are described as mindlessly bureaucratic, aggressive, …”. Hitchiker was funny, but use of that reference here is insulting and misplaced.

            Keep in mind that apparently, it was unresponsive actions of downhill skateboarders over a period of years, that eventually brought Heights residents to, as a last resort, prepare to have city ordinance amended to bring downhill skateboarding in their neighborhood under some control.

            Neighbors voiced their concerns about skateboarding….skateboarders rebuffed them. Years ago, downhill skateboarders could have been proactive in their interest in using the neighborhood’s hilly streets for skating, by seeking an amicable relationship with neighbors, by organizing on their own, developing self rules and regulation reflecting regard for safety and livability of the neighborhood. If I had to guess, I’d say Arlington Heights probably would rather not have had to go through this rigamarole with ordinances, city council and Leaonard, etc. Most likely, they’d have been much happier if skateboarders would have simply considered…in co-ordination with the neighborhood association, voluntarily restricting their skating to certain mutually agreed upon hours of the day, weeks of the day, etc. .

            are…I responded to your comment…that’s why I included in my response, an excerpt in quotes. It was intended to be an open response though. I’ll say it again: ‘Skateboards don’t have brakes’. The neighborhood apparently is not having a problem with vehicles that have brakes; cars, bikes, etc. It’s having a problem on the streets in its neighborhood with skateboards, (as far as I know, not legally considered to be ‘vehicles’.)…a mode of transport that doesn’t have brakes.

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            • q`Tzal June 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm

              I think the problem can be solved with an overzealous over-application of those raised dot surfaces used in compliance with the ADA to assist the blind.
              Wouldn’t stop larger wheeled vehicles but would likely make skateboarding a “breif” sport in that neighborhood.

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        • Zimmerman June 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm

          Skateboarders traveling at reasonable speed, (and reasonable is different for every skateboarder depending on skill level) can stop safely for all those things.

          This ordinance is ridiculous because there are already laws on the books that need to be enforced. Do you agree with that or do you think Arlington Heights needs to drive a wedge into the community by steamrolling this thing through?

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          • are June 27, 2012 at 6:59 pm

            if that question is directed to me, my comment was intended to suggest that right now today there is apparently very little enforcement of any kind on this particular hill, and that if the neighbors want to up the ante to make things safer the negotiated outcome should include stiffer fines on motorists rolling stops, speeding, etc., and not just formalizing a vendetta against a handful of thrill seekers. and if enforcement is to be increased it should not single out skaters.

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      • dwainedibbly June 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

        Those streets are dangerous by their very nature. They should be closed to everything except pedestrians!

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        • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

          Yeah, imagine how beautiful the neighborhood was before people built big homes all over it ! There would be tons of nice trails there.

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      • q`Tzal June 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        Ticket everyone equally regardless of mode of transport.

        My prediction is that if they get this biased law passed they will be doing the same thing as Ladd’s Circle: taking valuable human resources in a tightly constrained police department and diverting then to labor intensive sting operations that will be easily avoided by Twitter empowered skaters.

        Another pointless law on the books with no funding to enforce it.

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  • JF June 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I love extreme/adrehalin sports! And downhill skateboarding is one that should be encouraged and people participating in the sport should be given a place to practice. Before organized car races, bike races, freestyle skiing events, and urban skateboarding parks, people would compete in the streets, or on closed sections of mountains, or trespass on private property. People would race on city steets downhill on bicycles against one-another. Skateboarders would use public structures, schools, and parks to practice/compete. And car drag racing would occur on highways.

    Now, we have established places for people to practice car racing (PIR), urban/freestyle skating (skate parks), freestyle skiing (terrain parks), downhill mountain biking (chairlifts/maintained terrain) and organized bicycle clubs for other races.

    Am i saying this has abolished ‘extreme’ sports on city streets, no. But outright banning a location for someone to practice without presenting an alternative for a sport in its infancy will not fix the problem.

    The neighborhood association is using the “not in my backyard” approach to fix something they see as a problem instead of coming up with a solution.


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  • Sunny June 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Since skateboarders are already in an upright position, can’t they jump off and stop quickly compared to a bicycle? This reeks of non-skaters trying to judge the safety of an activity they have never partaken — akin to how non cycling drivers think cyclists are nuts to be out on the streets with motorized traffic. I won’t judge the perceived dangers of skateboarders in a video if I can’t even skate.

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    • Mike June 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      I saw a woman try that technique (jumping off at moderate speed ~ 15 mph) at Mt Tabor about 4 years ago.
      WARNING: This is about to get really graphic ………..

      Have you ever heard the sound of a dropped watermelon? Everyone at Tabor did. Don’t know how she fared, but she was out cold and pretty messed up. Backboard and C-spine to the hospital.

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      • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

        I have an 8 year old skater. He is above average, but in my eye’s he is AWESOME! Will his head hit the ground like a melon someday? Maybe. Do I worry about it? Some. Enough to stand in the way of his passion, life and free will to grow? No.

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        • Andrew Holtz June 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

          When I emailed Randy Leonard raising doubts about the rationale for his proposed ban, he replied that I might feel differently if I were the parent of a kid speeding down the hill on a board without a helmet.

          Leaving aside the fact that his ban doesn’t specifically deal with speeding or helmets or children… I replied to him that I am a parent and I’m most worried about the leading cause of death of children in the US: car crashes. I asked him to help do something about that #1 killer.

          He didn’t respond.

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          • oskarbaanks June 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm

            @ Andrew.. and he most likely wont. here is my beef, which seems far more important, yet ignored…
            My child (along with a couple of other’s) who lives in NoPo, is more likely to contract, and/or die of cancer, because Benzine levels along I-5 and Lombard are over the EPA acceptable limit by what,38-45% ?
            Was it Mayor Adams that said Portland had a plan to reduce benzine by 20% in 10 years, or some b.s. like that?
            It is quite possible in my mind to imagine someone in Arlington Height’s being part of the political influence that allows fuel producers to continue to perpetrate the use of this fuel additive, when the rest of the nation is making greater strides to curtail it’s use, if not ban it entirely. Sorry,there is my unrelated non sequitur.

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          • Opus the Poet June 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm

            According to the CDC motor vehicle wrecks are the #2 cause of death for ages 0-4, and the #1 cause of death ages 5-35. Now if you factor in diseases caused by the sedentary lifestyle created by our auto-centric infrastructure, the pollution from motor vehicles and from the support industries that only exist to keep motor vehicles running, well you pretty much cover everybody from birth through the late 70s.

            So yeah, we have to worry about those scary skateboarders.

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      • GlowBoy June 28, 2012 at 12:06 am

        I don’t know how you could successfully jump off a skateboard at any speed faster than you can RUN. Care to enlighten us, skateboarders? I’d be really interested in a YouTube video of a skateboarder pulling this off at the 30+mph speeds we saw in the clip above.

        I don’t skateboard, but I do have a Razr A5 (adult sized, 8″ wheels) scooter that I ride regularly. With more practice I MIGHT be able to jump off it at my top running speed and land on my feet, but realistically my limit is probably 10-12mph or so.

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  • J.M. Jones June 28, 2012 at 7:29 am

    and if the police simply enforced the existing laws instead officials making new ones?

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  • BURR June 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    The fact that Leonard postponed the vote until September indicates that he didn’t have the necessary three votes on Council to pass this yesterday.

    That’s a victory of sorts, but it also means that y’all need to keep up the pressure on the other four Council members not to vote for this when it comes back in the future.

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    • wsbob June 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      “The fact that Leonard postponed the vote until September indicates that he didn’t have the necessary three votes on Council to pass this yesterday. …” BURR

      The reasons, reported on in this bikeportland story, that Leonard postponed the vote, are far more important than whether or not council member positions on the issue currently were sufficient to have passed the amendment.

      Options for consensus approved skateboarding the hilly streets of the Heights, that the working group may have been discussing, haven’t been reported on here at bikeportland, but it stands to reason there may have been such options on the table before discussion was interrupted by apparent miscommunication amongst members of the working group.

      It’s very premature and ill adivised to urge people to launch into a divisive effort, starting now, to persuade council members to vote, some three months down the road, against the amendment, before the working group has even a chance to find out what kind of mutually agreeable arrangement might be arrived upon to provide for downhill skateboarding on hilly streets of the Heights.

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      • BURR June 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        Au contraire, Nagle pulled out of a collaborative process that was for all intents and purposes working, and did an end run around the process by going to Commissioner Leonard, and all you really need to know about City Council is how to count to three.

        Leonard simply couldn’t get three votes and the compromise he came up with amounts to him acknowledging that he couldn’t and coming up with something more moderate to save face.

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        • wsbob June 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

          “…Nagle pulled out of a collaborative process…” BURR

          Opinions aside, reports indicate it was the Arlington Heights neighborhood association, with Nagle, as a member of and with the support of the association, that pulled out of the working group talks…pulled out because skateboarders apparently scheduled skating events before mutually agreeable arrangements for skating the neighborhood’s streets were arrived at.

          The Heights neighborhood seems receptive to downhill skateboarding in its neighborhood, but not in the haphazard manner that characterizes the way in which the sport has been carried out in this neighborhood.

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  • Terry D June 28, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    My partner and I went to the Zoo today so we rode down the streets in question to take a look for ourselves. Admittedly the roads were pretty quiet in the middle of the afternoon but I did not see anything dangerous or out of the ordinary. We did see two nice elderly women walking IN the street because the sidewalk was too overgrown with invasives. They did not seem very worried about their safety, so the streets must not be that dangerous, but I digress.

    There is one very scary hairpin turn that would cause anyone out of control to go over a cliff, everything is narrow (made much worse by the parked cars) and overall required some concentration and breaking skill. I can imagine Mr. Nagle sitting on his deck watching the boarders and cyclists blow through the stop at his front corner (a google search easily located his abode). I am pretty sure he is so opposed mostly because his location gives him a bird’s eye view of it all since we all know that the real issue is not safety: it is the disruption to their quiet life, class conflict and the fear of liability if there is an accident while driving through the neighborhood (read: Money). We all know that that driving down 82nd or Powel is much more dangerous.

    Now, we know bans will not work (since they NEVER do) and the PPB has better things to do than to sit at the corner and ticket skateboarders in wealthy neighborhoods, so there needs to be an engineering combined with educational solution. There are a few wide style speed bumps on Fairview to slow cars down ahead of a marked trail crosswalk, what is wrong with these (since I do not skateboard)? Would skateboarders look at this as a new ramp and increase speed or would it do some speed reduction? One in advance of scary hairpin turns and stops would slow down the cars, bikes and skaters. It seems on Fairview that the problem is the speed of cars less so than the speed of skaters (from a safety perspective) whereas with the extra loops on the “no-no” list the problem is more the skaters disrupting the wealthy neighbors since there is little through traffic on the couple of side routes.

    Some warning signage of course would also help, but who pays? It is difficult enough to get a marked crosswalk between 60th and 68th on east Burnside much less a bunch of speed bumps or other calming devices on a quiet residential road in a wealthy neighborhood. If the neighborhood is so convinced that this is a nightmare waiting to happen then they should shoulder the burden of paying for engineering a fix that will provide a safer environment for all users.

    I see the dangers, but the city has much more serious issues than this to worry about. All Nagle has done here is upped the anti to the point that this controversy has ADVERTISED the thrill of the route. I am sure there will be many more skateboarders and cyclists taking HIS roads now….I know I will next time I come down from the zoo.

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  • jcsuperstar June 29, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Wow! Is it just me or is Randy Leonard’s ego really that large?

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  • Spiffy September 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    it’s official, Mayor Adams hates skateboarders…

    Portland City Council bans late-night skateboarding in West Hills

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    • are September 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      the ordinance as adopted still includes the across the board penalty increase from 25 to 115. this includes skateboarding on the restricted downtown streets, though a rationale for this is not included in the preamble, which talks only about “neighborhood” streets, and washington part in particular
      this is vindictive b*llsh*t.
      also i think the rationale for the restriction on washington park, which is that the streets were “designed” for transportation, not sport, is a slippery slope. obviously as to bikes, but also as to pedestrians, kids playing stickball, you name it.

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      • 9watts September 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        you make excellent points, are.
        This piece linked to yesterday in another discussion here on bikeportland speaks to this question of sport vs ‘more serious’ pursuits…

        and I quote:
        “Another common argument for limiting human-powered mobility is that many or most pedestrians and cyclists are walking for recreation – they don’t need to be using roadways important to motorists. There are two problems with this argument. First, there is no hierarchy of trip importance in government transportation policy or the Right to locomotion. Many motoring trips on important roads are for recreational purposes; for example, automobile traffic jams frequently occur on holidays, long weekends, sunny days at the beach, and at sporting events. “Sports cars” and “recreational vehicles” consume considerable highway resources but are completely legal. Discrimination against non-utilitarian pleasure travel is not tolerated in a free country. Second, it would be impossible to reliably determine which road users “need” or “ought” to be using the roadway for “worthy” purposes without stopping to interrogate each and every one. This would constitute unreasonable search. We must conclude that surrendering our freedom would be much more costly than safely accommodating recreational human-powered travel on roadways.

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