This week's letter comes from J. Turley who fears a crackdown on downtown skateboarding will limit commuting options and unfairly target law-abiding skaters. Thanks for the letter and the reminder that skating is (still) not a crime. As a small token of our gratitude for your letter, drop by our skate-friendly office, 704 NW Georgia, and pick up a pound of Strictly Organic coffee on us.
Central Oregonians have shared several beautiful spring days in the last couple of weeks. It has been a chance to prepare and test out alternate transportation for the summer. Thousands of people leave their car at home and ride on another set of wheels. Enjoying a ride to work on a sunny day is one of the greatest parts of living here in the summer. But Bend is trying to put unfair and bias regulations upon commuters of the skateboarding kind.
I was on my way to work this morning when this all hit me. I crossed over the footbridge, headed up through the Shevlin riverfront historic district and skated through the south part of Downtown Bend. From what I understand, next week I will be liable to receive a citation with a fine near $300 for skating downtown. An outrageous charge for transporting to work on a board with wheels.
I unfortunately do not have much information on these new fines. All I know is that I don't disturb the peace of citizens downtown when I am riding a skate just as I wouldn't if I were riding a bike. I am a respectful, law-abiding skateboarder and do not cause property damage or ruin new curbs or handrails. I can only hope the cops will use discretion. Because downtown is in the very middle of Bend, I must skate through on my way. If I skate in the street like a bike will I get cited? What about on Brooks St. downtown? Is there any way through downtown on a skate? It's like an episode of Lost when every detail I get turns into twelve more questions. I understand the need for tourists to be able to walk and especially shop downtown without being run over by high-school skate gangs, but I'm just a peaceful local who likes to skateboard to work and must travel through downtown to do so. Where's the love?