Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?




About an hour of yesterday's surf was decent, then the place just turned to junk in the blink of an eye, the flap of a seagull's wing in Chile, the swirl of a digital blob on a satellite radar. M was on the rocks moments later, mumbling something about a latte. Disrubbered, I pointed my lens at the cove, careful not to aim too close to you-know-where. I'm a journalist, dammit, but I also have a certain respect for that place - and my own front teeth - that keeps my camera away like two magnets denying the other contact. They want to get close, but they just can't.

So we drove home, talking about "Project Caveman"...

At around 5pm, I found myself stuck in gridlock on the 84 interchange. I exited immediately and turned left at the railroad tracks. Driving through the industrial district, I noticed how the yellow light was bouncing off the brick walls, tattooed with graffiti. It was The Golden Hour and I was a block from Burnside.

I have a new enthusiasm for skating, that's no secret, but I also have an old enthusiasm for taking pictures when the light is warm. Pulling up to this underground landmark, I noticed that the sun was angling perfectly under the bridge, casting long shadows across the hills of cement as skaters flew gracefully across its surface. A few hours earlier I watched a surfer land 360 air at the cove and now a skater executed the same trick on a concrete swell.

I pulled out my camera and snapped a couple pictures, then walked by a crow's nest of skaters who were hanging out on the elevated platform drinking beers. Nobody paid me any mind, except a ramshackle kid who hit me up for a smoke, which I didn't have. Admiring the once-illegitimate terrain, it crossed my mind that this place was sacred in a punk way. But was it also protected by its residents, the people whose lives revolved around being locals there, in the same way as the spot I had been so close to on the coast?

As I took another picture, I felt something strike my leg. Looking down, I noticed a plastic bottle still bouncing at my feet. Did somebody just throw Gatorade at me? I looked up. I was underneath the bridge. Maybe a passing pedestrian chucked it over the rail above...

I took a couple more pics, then headed back to my car. Along the way, I thought I heard someone at the other end of the park yell, "No photos!"

Paranoid?

As I made my way back to the sidewalk, a skater with scabs on his cheeks leaned over the chain link fence and said, "Hey! You got a couple bucks?" I told him I didn't. With that, I hopped back into my car, surfboards on the roof, and drove home.

I know there are a few Portland skaters who read this blog. If they (or anyone else) can explain why photos of Burnside aren't allowed, I'd be happy to take down this post.

Daniel Johnson - I'm Nervous

12 comments:

Foulweather... said...

That happens for sure. Pros have been run out of Burnside for trying to film lines and take photos. The main reason they get run out is because the photog will set up shop in the middle of the park and stand their for an hour waiting for the pro to get his trick. Its lame and ruins the session. What happened to you was pointless because you were not in the way.

Burnside was heavily regulated originally, for the sake of its existence. If you fucked up the park was under threat of getting shut down. They had to fight criminals, police and lurkers to build that place and keep it going. It is still not sanctioned. Burnside is on permenant probation.

Skateboarders come from all over the country and world to skate Burnside. Some stay and some of them feel the need to assume some dickhead hardcore image, that involves booze, tats, dirty clothing and a tonne of attitude. I like these things but they are not an excuse to treat people like dirt. I've had shit off people down there and I skate...

Seaside Point and Burnside are serious places that have an arguably justifiable history of regulation by the terrain and the locals. But that does not excuse aggro localism for the sake of it.

Rick, everytime I hear crap like this, it makes me want to go down their for a session. I've got a trick I want to get on the 'Punk Wall.' Want to come shoot it?

Foulweather... said...

Oh and don't take your photos of Burnside down. They can't do any harm, unlike the one of SSP. Ha ha...

Nash said...

I remember reading a article in Thrasher many years ago about Burnside. Even in IN we knew about the place and the history. When i moved here 8 years ago I made a trip there within my first 72 hours. I hve skated it many times and try to pick times when the vibers aren't around. In the thrasher articel they suggested an easy way to find acceptance. Don't be a kook and bring a half rack to share with the locals post sesh. The place has a history of post sesh comraderie that rivals any groups apre surf. I have incredible respect for the place. With respect to the sanctioning, FP, didn't teh city formally adopt it as a park a number of years ago (3?) with the agreement it would be self regulated? I think they did so to protet themselves as a public entity
(ie not maintaining a nuisance, or attractive nuisance theory).

One last thought, the first pic reminds me of the one of bigfoot from the seventies walking through the woods, head slightly turned. Do you think bigfoot ever went for a dip and found that a log next to him was a reamarkably fast and fun way to get back to shore?

Foulweather... said...

Nash

All I know is that it is a temporary deal. The city can and probably will rip it down one day... Maybe...

Why are you not skateboarding with us? If there is too much swell this Sat, are either of you into going to Newberg and Donald?

Chum said...

FP,

I'd be happy to shoot you on the punk wall!

Nashy,

That particular bigfoot was the one getting tiny toobs and boosting airs in the cove. And you can see how crap the conditions had become.

chm.

Nash said...

FP, I still have my board(s). I skate some. A few years ago I got hurt riding burnside. My knee took a pounding due to trying tricks I used to do but shouldn't anymore. I would love to roll out, maybe saturday. I am into dawn patrols at the parks to pump the walls and do some small ollies. Riding around fast and getting high on the transitions is still a real treat. Last "real" time I skated was last year. Made a trip to burnside, oregon city and the old crappy pier park prior to demolition. I have been thinking of spending more time now that I have some chums to skate with.

Slim said...

I like how the first pic was taken in color but may as well be b/w.

Dub Resurrected said...

Typical Oregon surf. Things can go to hell in the blink of an eye. It's all about windows and finding them, especially if your a val. Sounds like it was good. I was thinking the southerly direction in the recent swells would move the sand more into the cove itself as the bars seemed to have shifted more to the north? Looks like mid tide pushing to high?

As for Burnside, It’s true there’s a bit of regulation going on there or was, but I don’t see anything wrong with what you did. Foul Pete said it well. Really though it’s not as limited of a resource as waves. Burnside is always 6-14 feet and glassy so there's not much to fight about. 10 or so years ago I used to make pilgrimages from the central coast to skate it and before that all the way from Ashland. Back then it was really the only skate park around. I actually had some lines dialed. Sadly enough I haven’t skated it in the close to the 2 years I have been living in Portland, but I can’t say the same for the other local.

pushingtide said...

Rad pics Sissy.

Sounds like a cool vibe there with the after sesh boozing. But not the lame bottle throwin'. Love the art on the walls. More!

Chum said...

Whoa, dubstar... When did you live in Ashland? My hometown, yaknow.

Whiffleboy said...

I actually know a whole slough of folks from Ashland as well. Being in they're early 20s, you probably wouldn't know them.

Dub Resurrected said...

Chum, Ashland native, nice! Love that town, if only it was closer to the surf : (

Yes, SOSC or now SOU grad! 91-95 & sporadically between traveling 96-97.

PM me via the Oregon Shit Page with your contact info and we’ll plan a time to grab a pint and drop some names.