For several years now, the city has pledged to build at least two new skateparks. It has been an exciting promise, dressed up with rhetoric about world-class facilities and plans to bring in crazyass events like the X-Games. Unfortunately, the idea has moved forward at a snail's pace, crawling through bureaucratic hoops and spending far too much time figuring out ways around residents' objections.

But even a snail eventually reaches the finish line and this week the plans for the first of two skateparks inch closer to reality. All week long, Parks & Rec. will sponsor community meetings to consider proposed locations for the skatepark. City council plans to approve a site in May, and construction could begin as early as September.

Already, the city has collected more than $500,000 as part of a voter-approved property tax levy to build the first two skateparks, which will serve as the crown jewels for a network of smaller neighborhood parks. All told, the city is looking at more than two-dozen proposed sites.

However, some sites have already been nixed. Last week the Oregon Department of Transportation denied three out of five proposed sites, all on prime ODOT property. But two ODOT sites remain--one adjacent to the Steel Bridge and another under I-84. The area near the Steel Bridge is considered a choice location and had been proposed as far back as four years ago, before the deal suddenly fell through. Some believe that big property owners in the area lobbied city council members to kill the deal. As yet, there have been no public objections to the Steel Bridge site.

On Thursday, Park & Rec. will host a meeting to look at sites in North Portland (Kenton and University Parks). University Park Community Center, 9009 N Foss, 6:30-8 pm. On Monday, they will discuss locations in southwest Portland (Garbriel Park and Rieke Elementary School). Southwest Community Center, 6820 SW 45th Ave, 7:30-9 pm. Sites in outer southwest (Lents Park, Ed Benedict Park) will be considered on Tuesday. East Precinct Community Room, 737 SE 106th Ave, 6:30-8 pm.