Newport Skatepark – 2,000 Sq. Ft Addition

The new 2,000 sq foot addition to the City of Newport’s skatepark completed by Dreamland Skateparks was celebrated with a beautiful day, amazing riding, prizes, and food. The video in this post features  Spencer Nebel, City Manager and Danielle Scott owner of Dreamland. I am thankful for their comments about the collaboration to support the new build.  

This video was pretty textbook. I got lucky and grabbed Spencer as he was leaving the park. And, Danielle Scott was willing to provide some details. “Andy 360” must have tried the loop 15 times before he nailed it. Skaters work hard for their skills. Well earned Andy!

The video also illustrates the synergy and desirable outcome for our park on a given day. I do not know if there are numbers for how often it’s used. Prior to the expansion, my own experience has revealed that both locals and tourists use the park. Since the expansion, my conversations with the park’s frequent flyers have said that use is up considerably. The influx of visitors to cities like Newport may support the argument for such investments. We are a tourist community. Some families may simply choose a city that has such assets over those that do not. And, communities that have such assets may increase the stay length compared to communities that do not have a variety of recreational activities to choose from.

In retrospect, the unification of energy to pull off the addition exemplifies what’s desirable when dedicating public funds to such infrastructure. I have not inquired about numbers to the City or Dreamland. I should do that.  The data would be interesting to know.  My casual conversations lead me to believe that the new addition is the result of donations, corporate sponsorship of sorts from Rogue, City funding and some old-school fundraising.  There may have been grant money…

As a rider – both skating and biking – I can testify to using the park on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of my go to spots during lunch break. Google Maps says it’s .6 miles from my office cubicle.  As a sit/stand office worker I make it a point to move my body at lunch.  “Sitting is the new smoking.” Desk jockeys benefit from exercise more so than our cohorts who actually use their bodies for work.

My dude. I had dreams of producing a little skating prodigy. I imagined an early companion too soon, perhaps. Did I start him to early? It was worth giving it a shot. Funny how their peers are ultimately more influential. He’s with the program now. But, it’s not going to happen overnight. I admire his persistence. We bought a helmet too, btw.

To my surprise, the re-grand opening had a special turn of events for both me and my son. It Inspired him to begin skating. It was also an affirmation that building community infrastructure to support action sports such as skating has the benefit of encouraging new discoveries for athletes young and old.

On the way to the re grand opening I reminded Reed that our mission needed the inclusion of video documentation. On occasion, the documentary process gets a little tiresome for my handsome lad. I thought it fair to give him a disclaimer that I would be up to my usual antics.  I mentioned that there was going be food, beverage, possible prizes and likely a few of his friends. Reed assured me that “None of his friends will be there.” “How can you be certain?”, I asked. He couldn’t articulate and became frustrated at my additional inquiries. “Is it just a gut feeling?”, I asked. “Yeah, Dad.”

Within minutes of arrival Reed asked to go play with a friend. It turned out, that friend, an inexperienced skater, encouraged him to ride. They practiced and watched the other skaters during their blitzkrieg on the fresh concrete.  For the next two weeks, he asked that we ride, every day. Every day. I was so stoked! I had wrapped his little body in padding when he was 4 and he reluctantly gave it a shot. He never desired to ride again, however. I let it go. Not his thing, I thought. I ride a lot. But, over the years I’ve often carved out time to do that, without him. So, this was full circle for us.  My hope is that the joy I experience from this hobby and sport might be something we can continue to share.

Rogue has been a big supporter for both the Newport Skatepark and Dreamland Skateparks. They also produce a signature Dreamland Lager. Are we lucky or what?! Right the $#@$ on Rogue!

So, the question of weather or not there is justifiable ROI to the community, the non skateboarding community, is one that is in contention for some.  How we equitably determine which shared assets are worth our investment? Our skateboard park, our pool, our various other parks, our roads, police, emergency services and so on.  Not everyone agrees all of the time and such is politics, government and questions of subsidy.   

Again, I don’t have specific number for the Newport park 2,000 sq. ft addition. If and when I get this data – I’ll post the update here. Estimates by the Tony Hawk Foundation suggest the “National Average Skatepark Cost per square foot: $22.10” These numbers and actual use numbers would certainly facilitate improved evaluation for this investment and future investments In our communities.

The Argument for Skate Parks

Public Skatepark Development Guide
Resource for advocates and planners seeking information about public skateparks. If you’re working on a public skatepark project.

Lunch break. When I was growing up local concrete parks were not the norm. As a 49 year old it is taking some time as a skater and biker to learn to flow and get comfortable letting centrifugal force carry one through the transitions. Both exciting and/or scary depending on how you frame the experience.

Tony Hawk Foundation
The Tony Hawk Foundation fosters lasting improvements in society with an emphasis on supporting youth in low-income communities through skateboarding programs and the creation of skateparks.

Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead

A month or so prior to Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead— I was asked by Martha and Enrique to help set up a photo booth for a local celebration they were organizing at Yaquina View Elementary. They are a fantastic couple and I have the highest regard for them on so many levels. As the experience emerged – planning, set up, event documenting and editing – I’ve been contemplating many things cultural and spiritual.  

“Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party. Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist. And inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.” – Google

Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated. In North America it is growing in interest. Martha, Miguel and community partners pulled together many resources. Family, friends, local businesses, and the community converged at Yaquina View Elementary for a splendid evening on November 2nd, 2019.  

My past knowledge of Dia de los Muertos was very limited. We went to the theater and watched Cocoa in 2017. The movie was a stunning visual feast and very much a hero’s journey.  Practically, this was all I was going on. Reflecting on it now, I have much more appreciation for the event, the effort to put the evening together and what it would end up meaning for me.   

I have been reminded that recognizing our loved one’s who have passed is a good exercise. It’s a little embarrassing and I feel a hit of shame: I currently have no pictures of my grandparents, uncles, and father on display in our home. They are still sitting in a box. Why is our home so sanitized of visual symbols of these important characters in our life’s story? I certainly think of them. I have some work to do here. I need to create a home alter or at least hang some pictures for my beloved that have departed.

Waiting… Box of memories – moments in time. Stuck in the closet?! It feels at times like the deeper the love the harder the loss. How I miss you…

As the evening unfolded, we were given a spectacular event. It was a packed house. I’ll let the video do most of the work in regard to the participants and the performances.  I’ve got follow up plans to talk to Miguel Medrano, Leon Valdivia and Martha de Valdivia. How does Day of the Dead fit into their belief systems? Is this more of a symbolic gesture to loved ones who have passed, or do they feel a deeper and intrinsic connection that their loved ones are somehow conscious of their recognition. Are our physical and spiritual planes crossing in this time?

As I began researching the celebration in preparation of writing a couple of links have been insightful.

National Geographic has a very basic overview. (

Georgetown University, Berkley Center for Religion. Peace and World Affairs has an article titled “Day of the Dead in Latin America and the United States”  ( It’s a fascinating overview.

Placing Day of the Dead in our modern context the author notes “we need to be careful about drawing direct lines of ancestry between ancient and modern Day of the Dead celebrations because when we do this, we erase complicated histories of cultural loss and struggle, decontextualizing the tradition from the effects of five centuries of colonization and the resulting alienation from and later re-appropriation of indigenous practices.”

Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. The bread was delicious! What an amazing journey we are on.

It’s fascinating how we build our personal history from our experiences and the written and oral communications of others. Finding an inner path that brings peace and meaning is sometimes difficult to separate from the cultural narratives. Belief systems are not a one size fits all situation. Dia de los Muertos has reminded me of death’s beauty and intimacy.  But, we should never force anyone into such things. This a personal journey.

The author closed with “Most of today’s public Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and the United States are largely invented traditions that, like all cultural practices, grow and change with the times.”

I feel like every day is a renewed personal invention. My narrative is sometimes the same and yet it shifts. What seems critical to me is that we have the freedom to explore and allow that freedom to others. I recently listened to an interview with “Elif Shafak on the Urgent Power of Storytelling”.  At some point she noted that we don’t seek to understand how and what God means in our modern age. I’m not really sure that is true. But, it feels this way to me, sometimes. I’m speaking broadly here. Why are we here? What do we do with this existence? And, isn’t it fascinating that we have the ability to “contemplate” non-existence?!

Martha and Enrique’s daughter. Excellent little helper. Their kids helped set up for the event. This would become the area for the photo booth. I really love how MUCH LOVE Martha and Enrique model. Good people!

Day of the Dead got me thinking… and recognizing that I didn’t make it this far alone. That’s good reminder, for me, and possible others too. Thanks to all who made this evening incredible! My hope is that next year it’s bigger and more inclusive. My homework: hang some photos and create more time to recognize the passing from this plane into the next.