A POLITICAL OLLY
Last week, in a continuing effort to decriminalize skateboarding in the eyes of the city, a new nonprofit organization, Skaters for Portland Skateparks, met with skaters (and their parents) to discuss the location of a new park.
While skaters revealed their manifesto to build a skatepark in every quadrant of the city, group founder Tom Miller says they will settle for half the duck pond at Westmoreland Park in Sellwood.
Rob Wojtanik, a landscape architect for the city, attended the skateboarders' meeting and schooled the group on the resistance they will encounter during their fight for territory: neighbors, who may fear "extreme sports"; bikers, who have other plans for the pond; and environmentalists, protecting the green space.
Even if Westmoreland Park does not house the new skatepark, the meeting was an indication that area skaters are becoming increasingly political. In May's election, a property tax levy to help fund the city's Park & Rec. Bureau failed because minimal voter turnout; that levy would have carried $500,000 for a skatepark. At last week's meeting, skaters vowed to rally for a similar levy in this November's election. JAYMEE CUTI
ENOUGH PEPPER ALREADY!
First, it was needlessly pepper-spraying dozens at a demonstration against President Bush on August 22; now it seems the police are at it again. After 800 bicyclists began their Critical Mass ride last Friday, police officers on motorcycles apparently began to weave within the crowd, causing confusion and several accidents. According to participants and bystanders, within minutes, officers began to indiscriminately pepper-spray participants. According to eyewitnesses, one bicyclist lay motionless on the pavement for several minutes after being tagged with a stun gun.
This week, local attorney Alan Graf plans to file a suit against Mayor Vera Katz, Police Chief Mark Kroeker and the City of Portland. The potential class-action lawsuit will represent a family whose children were pepper-sprayed at the Bush demonstration. The suit will seek monetary damages and the barring of violent methods for crowd control. Documentation of unwarranted police violence is being collected on a message phone at 503-772-9989.