Though it is only
a week old, Port Orford is already in the history books. The previous
era of skate park design ended when Port Orford opened, the third day in
June, 2002. This point didn't come out of the blue, we saw it coming
with parks like Aumsville and Astoria, but Port Orford makes it clear and
undeniable that the chapter of skate park design dominated by trial and
error, community input and traditional patterns is over. Port Orford
was designed with confidence, ability and vision. It is simple yet
efficient, minimal yet spectacular.
In the previous era, design and construction were often separate steps in the skate park process, which commonly led to disasters such as wavey transitions, submerged coping, and absurd angles. The creators of Port Orford bridge the gap with a technique of design build and built meticulously the transitions, curves and hips with exacting consistency and butter smoothness.
Port Orford represents no compromise. Port Orford is everything it wants to be and nothing it does not.
When asked to describe Port Orford, Stefan Hauser, volunteer designer and builder, replied with one word, "Modern."
Let us pause and allow that sink in.
Port Orford is also the result of seven years of hard work. Luck played no part.
Built in the spirit of Oregon, it is a park that every
small town in America should embrace.
Creators: Stefan Hauser, Dreamland and local volunteers.
Time: Opened Spring 2002
Size: Less than 3,000 square feet.
Cost: $35,000 cash plus $30,000 of in-kind
Rules: No bikes, full pads required and enforced.
Facilities: Buffington Park has the best softball field on the southern Oregon coast, an equestrian ring and a Community Youth Center.
Location: Buffington Park, 13th St and Arizona St
City Contact: PortOrford.org
City at (541) 332-3681
Port Orford was prepared to be an entirely volunteer project. It was started in 1997 by some kids in the local high school. They wanted a skate park and they were willing to do what it took to get one. The City gave the group $3000 from a transient lodging tax and the kids started digging. Another couple thousand dollars was soon donated and the hole in the ground got bigger. After some years and at least one attempt the project stalled. The city stepped in and wrote a Local Grant which the kids presented in Oregon's capitol city of Salem. The State Local Grant Advisory Board approved the 50/50 matching grant, ranking it among the best on the list in fact, in July of 2001, offering up to $29,000 to the Port Orford skate park. To this point, many cities across America, could tell the same story. But a key element layed in residence of the small southern Oregon coastal town, an old loc' from Burnside Projects, Diego Cruz. Cruz held the knowledge to make it right. He contacted Stefan Hauser who was working with Dreamland on Newberg and Aumsville at the time. Stefan became an avid volunteer and drew up a design for Port Orford. The skate park group continued on excavation and visited Aumsville to learn more about construction. Stefan, Diego and others continued to volunteer their time and skills to the end. The community was stoked and generous in kind donations superceded the $29,000 matching grant. In the winter of 2001/2002, Port Orford contracted Dreamland to bring the park to final fruitation.
Overall: 10 out of 10
Special: Please see this park for more than its cradel.
Jade "Skip" Young, up and around.
Without Krys Rain's generosity, none of these photos would be here. Thanks Krys.