Division Street skatepark in limbo

Bend nonprofit shifts focus to Ponderosa Park skating facility

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin / @hborrud

Published Jan 9, 2013 at 04:00AM

Plans for a new skatepark near the U.S. Highway 97 overpass at Division Street have come to a standstill while the group that pushed for the facility focuses its efforts on building a different skatepark, this one on the east side of Bend.

The Division Street skatepark, which would be built on land owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation, was inspired by the Burnside Project beneath the Burnside Bridge in Portland.

Travis Yamada, president of the nonprofit Promoting Urban Skate Habitats, or PUSH, said the group is concentrating on working with the Bend Park & Recreation District to plan and raise money to build a new skateboarding facility at Ponderosa Park on Southeast 15th Street. The park district expects to spend $200,000, and PUSH is supposed to raise an additional $40,000 for the project.

Yamada said he hopes community enthusiasm for the Ponderosa Project, on which construction could begin as soon as this summer, will carry over to the Division Street project.

Meanwhile, government officials said they stand ready to work with PUSH to move the Division Street skatepark forward.

“Us as an organization, a group of skaters, feel (Ponderosa) is a very important project and if it's successful, it's going to snowball into a great skatepark system,” Yamada said on Monday. “We really need to make sure this first park gets built well and in a timely fashion.”

If the Ponderosa skatepark is a success, Yamada said “a lot more people will get involved and allow us to do a lot more.”

Bend planning manager Colin Stephens said he offered to meet with members of PUSH some time ago and discuss what it would take for that skatepark to be approved.

“I haven't heard from them in years,” Stephens said. “I haven't even seen a conceptual site plan yet. I can't really say, 'Here's what they need to do.'”

Peter Murphy, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said the agency has not heard from members of PUSH since May.

“I think the opportunity is still open,” Murphy said. “I don't think there's been any formal agreement at all. We were kind of waiting for them to get back to us, and we still are. The ball is in their court.”