City of Portland Skate Code

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Penny Wagoner Signing in for testimony before the meeting.
(Photo Courtesy Audrey Weintraub, SkateAbility,Seattle)

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Commissioner Hales
(Photo Courtesy Audrey Weintraub, SkateAbility,Seattle)

Skaters in the City of Portland, Oregon received an early Christmas
present yesterday as the city council, led by Commissioner Charles Hales
voted three to two in favor of lifting the heavy burden of the skate ban
that has plagued our city since 1992.

The gift we received last night was like a present in a present in a
present, because we got so much more than we had ever dreamed the city council was capable of. Instead of choosing which gift to give us out
of their bulging bag of favors, Commissioner Hales made sure they gave
it all to us, effective January 27, 2001, and our heads are still
reeling! The intense debate at the council meeting last night went until
long after we all should have been in bed with visions of sugar pops
dancing in our heads. It was worth it though, because just LOOK at what
Santa left under our tree....

1. Skating in the 200 square blocks of downtown Portland is no longer a
criminal activity! Although we are prohibited from skating on any sidewalks, skaters, skateboarders, roller skaters and push-scooters alike have the ability to transport themselves without fear of tickets averaging about $300.

2. We can skate anywhere in the city at night, as long as we're lit up
like a Christmas tree! Well, just reflectors back and front, please!

3. "Preferred routes" will be established in the coming weeks, with
signs designating the most direct routes to major points across town.
But no tickets will be given if you choose to not use the preferred
route--it just offers the safest and easiest ride if you do, however.

4. We also now have a sensible helmet law for anyone 16 and under
skating or scootering anywhere, anytime in the entire city. There is a
$25 fine so you better watch out and better not cry!

5. We've been promised more skate parks, and two are in the works, with more facilities for skaters (including the recreational sort) being
considered. (Rails To Trails, here we come!)

6. Skaters are now considered part of Portland's' perfectly written
bicycle code, and have all the same privileges and responsibilities as a

7. The Portland police have conceded they were working to actually
expand the skate ban area, and now they are talking about possibly
considering, maybe thinking about, looking mildly interested in the
finer points of having a roller police squad.

8. For the first time in as long as there have been in-line skates, the
media showed up and we all got to be on TV. Creating priceless images of skaters as the responsible adults they are.

More than the glory of success, more than a battle hard won, more than a
weight lifted from our skaters' shoulders is the fact that the
skateboard community and the in-line community came together in peace
for one night, for one purpose and spoke with one passionate voice about their dedication to and the guardianship they feel for the sport of

There were stern looks and harsh words from the mayor and the
commissioner that heads up the parks department who promised to keep us
under a microscope and take away our skating rights just as quickly they
have given them to us if we fail to prove we can co-exist with traffic.
They've added a special part of the ordinance just to count the dead and
dying skaters because they're not sure we can pull it off. They hope we
can. They hope they're wrong, but they're just not convinced. Still
treating us like children who snagged a real gift instead of the piece
of coal we deserve, I guess.

Just as the last shred of pretty wrapping hit the floor, I thought,
"This isn't really over. Our work as instructors has just begun." We've
got help them decide preferred routes, design skate parks, get the
wording correct on pamphlets, teach the police and city council to
skate, better educate our street skaters, move the education process
into the schools, promote safety more heavily than ever before, help our
councilmen keep their promises and have them help us keep ours. Whew!
Time to settle down for a long winters' nap while our heads and hearts
unspin, wake up refreshed after Christmas, roll up our little elf
sleeves and get busy again!

All this couldn't have happened without the unflagging support and
assistance from the entire IISA board of directors, specifically Kalinda
who sent absolute volumes of information to us, Audrey Weintraub and her entourage from Seattle (we know why she's Instructor of the Year), the many IISA certified instructors who offered us support and advice. We thank the many skaters and skateboarders of Portland who gave such sincere testimony it would have melted even Ebinezer Scrooge's heart, and all the staff members of our city council members who never quit, and never let us down. To each of you that have fought this battle
before us - here's to you! Last night we stood taller on your shoulders
than we ever could have dreamed.

Our special thanks to Bob Naegele Jr. - who has always shown us the
way. This one's for you.

Now to all a Merry Christmas, and to all a good night!

Penny Wagoner
Kim Ensley
Nancy Hartman
IISA Certified Instructors
Portland, Oregon

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(photo courtesy Michael Dukes SK8Portland)

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Multnomah County Commissioner Linn and her Son Testify on behalf of the code
(photo courtesy Michael Dukes SK8Portland)

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From left to right, Commissioners Hales, Francesconi, Mayor Katz, Commissioners Saltzman and Sten.
(photo courtesy Michael Dukes SK8Portland)

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Portland's Kurt Lesser, and Seattle Supporters, James and Chuck.
(Photo Courtesy Audrey Weintraub,SkateAbility,Seattle)