Aaron Renier
PIPE DREAM? Tom Miller has a long way to go before he realizes his dream for 10 municipal skateparks in Portland. Currently, there are only two. And to put in a third has taken two years and even more politicking than Al Gore put into his 2000 Presidential bid.

A Portland attorney and co-founder of Skaters for Portland Skateparks, Miller has been skating since he was five. A couple years ago, he joined forces with Portland Parents for Skaters organizer Ted Wall to push Parks & Rec to allocate funds for a skatepark at the city's Southeast Westmoreland Park. The plan was a go and then it wasn't, but now it has been green-lighted again.

Thanks to the property tax levy passed in November, the city set aside $500,000 as part of its Park & Rec's Master Plan. The money is intended to create two new skateparks. At a meeting in mid-June, the "Plan" was finalized--finally!

"It's difficult to be patient with the process," admits Wall. The city has surveyed the site and heard several rounds of testimony, but it could still take three more years before the skatepark actually opens. Parks & Rec has assigned one person to research parking and noise issues.

Even though the Westmoreland's Citizens Advisory Committee supports the idea, a small group of resident anti-skaters have complained that a skatepark could turn their dog-run green space into a vandalized ghetto. DAVID BARKER

THE STATE OF ESTATES Talk about estate taxes may seem like chatter for the polo and champagne set, but the sprawling network of non-profits in Portland--those who serve the city's most needy--have been buzzing about a proposed repeal. With the interest of the nation's most wealthy in mind, the Bush administration has been pushing forward a plan to wipe out estate taxes, a move that would take a huge bite out of non-profits' donations. The Treasury Department estimates such a move could slash $6 billion a year from non-profits' budgets.

"What happens when you take away millions of dollars in donations?" asks Jody Wiser with the Coalition to Preserve the Estate Tax. "What happens to those services, to all those jobs?"

On Friday, Bill Gates, Sr. will speak at the City Club (1849 SW Salmon, noon). Gates, Sr. co-wrote Wealth and Our Commonwealth advocating against a repeal of the Estate Tax. M. WILLIAM HELFRICH