New Skatepark coming to Eugene
I've been a member of the City of Eugene Public Art Committee for the past year and a half or so, and it's been a pretty great experience. One of our projects this year is commissioning art work for the new skatepark being built under the Washington Jefferson Street Bridge. It will be the largest under-cover, lit skatepark in the country. We got a tour this week with the city engineer and construction managers assigned to the project.
As a fan of skateboarding and someone who has been skating off and on since the mid-80's, I am so stoked for this thing to be finished. It will open this spring, and make skating in our rainy town possible year round.
It's being built by Dreamland Skateparks (they post a lot of updates on the official park Instagram) and has an extremely varied layout. Big flat sections with mellow banks for all skills, stairs and rails, a snake run, some big bowls and even their own take on the famed China Banks in San Francisco.
I'm surprised by how many people don't know this is getting built in Eugene, but judging by it's location, it's not heavily sought out as a destination by anyone other than homeless people and guys looking for pickup basketball games at the neighboring courts. Sk8Eugene.org has a ton of info on all the parks and you can find out more there.
City governments frequently use skateparks to tie disparate parts of a city together, and this is no exception. This will be great for downtown Eugene and the neighboring Whiteaker neighnorhood. In 2009 the Tony Hawk Foundation, which funds skateparks in low income areas, did a study of the good effects of skateparks in a community. Read that here.
The Public Art Committe Tasks
There will be 2 areas of focus for the public art commission. The first phase will be directed at the 8 main pillars that hold up the overpass. This is a part of a 200+ acre park in the middle of town, and on north side of the skatepark is the old horseshoe pits (being renovated) and on the south end are the basketball courts and a big concrete stage. Once we figure out all the details a call to artists will be issued. If it goes open to designers I may have to step down from the committee for a short time so I can put in a proposal.
A later phase that's been discussed but not finalized will be a sculpture (skateable of course) near the public plaza on the west side of the park.
Above - Two shots of the "China Banks" area. Check the video below to see the original spot in S.F. which is still skated a ton. Thrasher Magazine Editor Jake Phelps talks about the gnarliest tricks he's seen there.
Above - A nice "Jersey bank" (which are those highway dividers you see along side the freeway or construction sites) as part one of the flat sections.
Above - Standing on the north end of big bowl. I'm standing above at least 1.5 to 2 feet of vert. I'm not dropping in from here, but you can see other end from here. I'm not sure what you call this feature - a clamshell? A halfdome? F%&@ing Awesome. That's what.
Spring 2014. Gonna be epic.