Newberg: After the Honeymoon
When Newberg opened in July of 2000, it was -to put it mildly- very well received. Though there were two other great skate parks within driving distance, Burnside in Portland and Lincoln City, something (atmostphere, accessibility ?) about Newberg rang the bells of the skating community. Newberg was a vivid paradise and boomed as the destination skate park of the Pacific Northwest if not the country.
Since it's birth at least a dozen skate parks have opened within 100 miles of Newberg, a handful of which are very good. So how is Newberg fairing?
By numbers, there are certainly less people visiting Newberg. But when
one considers that there were as many as 500 people visiting the park
on a summer Saturday, the numbers game may be misleading. As a community
facility there is no question it remains a healthy and popular source.
Newberg has several local and a few national competitions every year.
There is a new skate shop in town (the location of which may ensure its
survival) and at least one skateboard company, Newberg
Anyday. The diversity of skaters riding Newberg continues to grow
from professional skateboarding teams to Team Old Man, a local group of
older skateboarders to individuals coming from around the world. The local
talent continues to deepen and astonish. The photos below are moderate
examples of such talent. Not shown is Bret Sells and Walter Kulnis trying
monster kickflip grabs into the bowl, or Wade Currie carving around the
park during his second session of the day.
Physically the park is exceptionally well designed and built. The volcano is one of the most innovative and wild ideas of skateboarding. The layout offers a wide range of terrain and challenge and the traffic pattern is near liquid. The atmosphere offers amenities and sublties to keep it positive and healthy. There is supervision, water, snacks, bathrooms, shade, a bike track. It is located close to town but still feels a little private. There are no fences surrounding the skate park or busy roads nearby. It is not adjacent to the Police Station. It is in a beautiful setting.
I believe that if one defines a skate park as a community facility, Newberg is still the best skate park in the world. I am 26 years old, but I look forward to skating Chehalem Skatepark when I am 40. It's going to be super fun.
Not to miss an opportunity to further the mission of better skate parks everywhere, why hire Dreamland or Airspeed or Grindline? The answer is Newberg. If the Chehalem Skatepark had not been designed or built as well, no amount of community support could uphold such vitality of place. Burnside is another example. Burnside is ten years old and still retains a large core of users and support. If your community is considering a skate park, think about the park as a ten or twenty year facility, do some reasearch to find the best skate parks and why they are so highly regarded. Two lessons learned in Oregon are don't design the park yourself and don't hire people who don't skate.