Volunteers build Lents ‘Skate Cove’

INCLUDES VIDEO It’s still not completed – nor even authorized – but this petite outer East Portland ‘skate spot’ near the Springwater Trail will provide hours of fun for kids and adults …

On the edge of the Freeway Lands property in the Lents neighborhood, along the Springwater Trail, volunteers gather for another work party on what they’re calling the Feral Cat Skate Cove.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A number of good-hearted folks who enjoy skateboarding have been working for months to enlarge an unauthorized, but beloved, ‘skate spot’ in the Lents neighborhood.

On weekends, and some afternoons, volunteers have been working on it, along the Springwater Trail where SE 100th Avenue dead-ends into Duke Street.

Taking a break, while volunteers keep working, to tell about this unique community-based project is Alex Janega.

“This ‘skate spot’ has had several different names – including, currently, the ‘Feral Cat Skate Cove’ – named because a lot of feral cats live in the this area,” explained unofficial spokesperson Alex Janega during a Saturday work party in mid-June.

“Before I got involved with it, there were a couple of small features here; some of them had been her for four or five years,” Janega told East Portland News. “Then, this year, we started adding on to it. In addition to the three skate bowls, we’re constructing a larger one – and, also, finishing off a couple of the other features.”

With three of the sloped walls in place, volunteers start working on placing rebar to reinforce the floor of the skate bowl.

A grass-roots effort
Lents Park is blocks away; and there hasn’t been anyplace for kids – or grown-ups who like to skateboard – to go for some positive fun, Janega remarked. “So, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, several of us adults decided to enlarge this ‘skate spot’ for all to enjoy.

“Here, at this project, teenagers are learning how to form and pour concrete,” Janega pointed out. “While helping to build a fun thing that they’ll be able to use, they’re learning things like geometry, and the basics of carpentry – since I am a journeyman carpenter – as well as learning how to skate, here, when it’s done.”

After chipping and hauling away concrete slag, volunteers start pouring the concrete floor in mid July.

Using relatively primitive tools, because of skills, volunteers are able to level and smooth concrete in the large skate bowl.

Hopes the skate spot will stay
The property is owned by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R); earlier in June, the Bureau indicated that they would demolish unapproved recreational facilities.

“We hope, when they see the community’s interest in supporting this, that it will remain here,” advocated Janega. “We understand that PP&R is trying to work out such things as potential liability insurance issues; and, hopefully, we can come to some kind of compromise to keep it in the community.

“It’s very positive facility for at-risk youth in our neighborhood; and, at the same time, this project has really ‘cleaned up’ the area, and made it a safer place to be around here,” Janega reflected, as he got back to work.

By mid July, about half of the large skate bowl had been completed, including the floor. Next, volunteers will frame and pour the other wall, to complete the project.

Skateboarder Josh Terlesky shows off masonry skills as he sets the concrete lip for the large skate bowl.

You can help: donate!
“We’ve been doing our best to reuse and repurpose any materials we can, to keep the cost of building this to a minimum,” assured one of the organizers, Josh Terlesky.

“In order to finish the large bowl, financial contributions will help us buy the concrete and the rebar that’s needed,” Terlesky said. “Thank you to everyone who has helped out so far! Without the help from our community this would not be possible.”

You can help by donating securely online at GoFundMe: CLICK HERE to do so.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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