OAKLAND / Trying to save their skate park / Caltrans plans to tear down illegal site
August 03, 2005|By Jim Herron Zamora, Chronicle Staff Writer
A group of skateboarders and their supporters have, over the past year, built a skate park under an elevated section of Interstate 580. Chronicle photo by Chris Stewart
Credit: Chris Stewart
D'ontae Smith took a break from riding the double halfpipes Tuesday to say that Bordertown Skate Park was about the coolest thing to do in Oakland.
"It's really the only place to skate in Oakland," said D'ontae, 15, who skated at the West Oakland park Tuesday. "We built it. We love it. It's the best."
But it also happens to be illegal. The volunteers who cleared trash, dug holes, built the metal frame and poured concrete to build the elaborate Bordertown Skate Park last summer on formerly trash-covered no-man's land underneath Interstate 580 never got permission from the property's owners -- the California Department of Transportation.
Now, Caltrans officials -- who discovered the park under the MacArthur Maze only last week -- have warned the skateboarders that they plan to demolish it next Wednesday because that land is needed for storage during the construction of a new freeway on-ramp at MacArthur Boulevard near San Pablo Avenue.
"We need this space for the ramp project," said Caltrans spokesman Jack Gaines, who visited the skate park for the first time Monday. "We were planning to put the pile drivers right here. It could really be a hazard. It's way too close to the construction project."
Gaines said workers had first noticed the park when they went under the freeway to count the number of homeless encampments that would have to be cleared before the construction began.
But they were surprised to learn that a group of neighborhood volunteers, skateboard enthusiasts and local teenagers had forced the homeless to move a few hundred yards and built one of Northern California's most elaborate skate parks near 3400 Louise St. Bordertown takes up less than an acre on the lot, which is several hundred acres.
"This place was a dumping ground," said Brian Mitchell, 27, a park co- founder who lives a block away. "It was covered with trash. There were homeless people and crackheads everywhere. And it seemed like every night some construction guy would dump a load of stuff at the dead-end because it's cheaper than going to the dump."
Mitchell, who does not skate, said he just wanted to clean up the area and "do something good for West Oakland." But his neighbor, skateboarder Josh Matlock, 30, wanted to build a renegade skate park similar to one that was torn down in San Francisco last year. So on June 10 of last year, they began cleaning up the area and laying the foundation for the park, which has grown to include several 8-foot-tall smooth concrete halfpipes.
Bordertown Demolished From Thrasher Mag
Unfortunately, Bordertown met its fate yesterday.
Posted: November 29, 2011
Photos: Ken Nagahara
Fuckin Lame!The crack heads will be back in there in a week.That's way better than the kids havin fun and learnin new skills...