Archive for the “News” Category

Screenshot from the Dyrdek/McGinn press conference.

Today we sent a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn and Christopher Williams regarding their lack of outreach to the Seattle skate community before accepting the “donation” from the Dyrdek Foundation, and what we think is going to happen if they go through with it.


To: Michael McGinn, Seattle Mayor

Christopher Williams, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent

Sally Bagshaw and Richard Conlin, Seattle City Councilmembers

Cc: Kevin Stoops, Susan Golub, and Kelly Davidson, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Matthew Johnston and Scott Shinn, Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC)

From:    Ryan Barth, Chairperson SPAC

RE:  Roxhill Skatepark – Donation Letter of Concern and Recommendations

Date: June 20, 2011

The SPAC is writing you today to express our concern with Parks continued progress to award California Skateparks a “sole source” design contract for the Roxhill Skatepark, as a result of the donation made by the Dyrdek Foundation.  The donation includes free skatepark design services by California Skateparks for the Roxhill Skatepark, which already includes a fully funded design and construction budget based on approval of the Parks For All Levy passed by Seattle voters.

The SPAC is very happy that the Parks Superintendent and Mayor have come out so strongly in favor of skateparks as a result of the Dyrdek Foundations donation offer in May 2011.  We also feel very fortunate that the Dyrdek Foundation recognized Seattle for being a leader in skatepark planning and funding, and wanted to contribute finances to help further our leadership.  However, we are disappointed that neither the Parks Superintendent nor the Mayor made any attempt to consult with the SPAC to evaluate the terms and affects of the donation, especially given the SPAC was the lead stakeholder group responsible for evaluating and lobbying for funding of this skatepark.  Although we have supported Parks on skatepark issues for eight years and are clearly the primary stakeholder and resource on these issues, we only learned that the Parks Superintendent and Mayor were going to accept the donation without these necessary consultations and evaluations one day in advance of the donation offer.  Had we been consulted, we would have shared with you several concerns based on our knowledge of skatepark issues in this region and nationally.  These important concerns are summarized below and identify why the accepted donation, without further evaluation, does not provide a benefit to Seattle or the skaters that will use this skatepark.  Our desire is to raise these concerns proactively to attempt to avoid an angry neighborhood and skateboarding community due to the design of a sub-par skatepark.

1. Seattle Parks has an established objective design selection process and this donation undermines that objective process.

The existing Seattle Parks skatepark design selection process includes a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for consultant services.  The RFQ summarizes the skatepark project location and schedule, the budget and scope of requested services, the requirements for consultant qualifications, the selection process, and the RFQ rating criteria. The RFQ states that the consultant responses will be evaluated by a Consultant Evaluation Committee that will likely include a cross section of individuals, including, but not limited to, City of Seattle staff, Parks staff, and community representatives.  The RFQ further states that these individuals will rank the consultant responses based on evaluation of the following five submittals:

  • Letter of interest showing the passion and creativity of the consultant
  • Summary of the project team demonstrating the consultant team has the necessary expertise
  • Summary of project examples showing the consultant team has the necessary experience
  • Description of consultants recommendations for the skatepark design at the identified location to show their team is creative and passionate about this project
  • A set of construction documents and specifications from a similar project to show the consultant  has the demonstrated ability to produce construction documents suitable for public bid

The unconditional approval of the Dyrdek Foundation design services donation does not allow the above established objective review and rating process to occur.  Therefore, Parks and Seattle skateboarders are unable to evaluate California Skateparks passion and creativity, expertise, experience, and demonstrated ability to produce construction documents suitable for public bid.  The SPAC spent considerable time and energy lobbying for identification and procurement of funding for this skatepark and find it unacceptable that a donation will eliminate our ability to ensure the best possible designer is chosen for this project.  For example, what leverage does Parks and/or the SPAC have to ensure California Skateparks is creative and passionate about making this the best possible skatepark since they are not getting paid for their services?  The SPAC urges Parks that this donation, and future similar donations for design services where funding is already procured, be evaluated using the above criteria and that the donation should only be accepted if the consultant exceeds a pre-defined rating threshold.

2. The savings resulting from the donated design services are not guaranteed to result in a better skatepark.

During the acceptance of the donation, the Mayor stated that an amount equal to the donation would be removed from the existing funding for the skatepark, and placed back into the Parks For All Levy general fund to support other projects.  If this is true, the SPAC is even more concerned that the donation was unconditionally accepted because Seattle is truly not receiving any benefit from the donation, which is unfair due to the substantial amount of work and lobbying completed by advocates, community members, and skateboarders, went into acquiring the existing funding for the project.  In addition, if true the Dyrdek Foundation would be very disappointed to learn that their donation did not result in additional skateable terrain or improvements to the already funded Roxhill Skatepark.  If the Mayors statement was misspoken and the design savings were maintained for this project, there is no means to identify how much of the savings would result in an improved skatepark because the savings would be directly linked to the construction bids (i.e., if the construction bids are above the engineers estimate for the design, the design savings would be used to cover the construction cost increase).

3. California Skateparks submitted a response to the Roxhill Skatepark RFQ and the objective Consultant Evaluation Committee rated them lowest

During the initial round of ratings by the Consultant Evaluation Committee appointed by Parks as a part of the selection process for the Roxhill Skatepark, California Skateparks was rated the lowest of all received consultants, with only one vote by any Committee member.  The Committee was composed of [Matt enter affiliations here to show wide range of folks].  The SPAC representative that participated in the Committee found that the California Skateparks submission lacked detail, site awareness, and inspiration.  These objective evaluations by a wide range of participants (skaters and non-skaters) clearly show that California Skateparks would not be selected as the designer for this skatepark in the absence of the donated services.  Therefore, acceptance of this donation results in the selection of a sub-standard design consultant and associated design.

4. In exchange for the donation we are relinquishing a considerable amount of control and input on what kind of skatepark goes into this site.

The Roxhill Skatepark requires a custom design due to the site’s unique restrictions.  The SPAC has researched California Skatepark designs throughout the country and feels that they are not a good fit for this unique site because they generally design skateparks with large, contiguous footprints and limited site constraints.  The Roxhill Skatepark site is dotted with mature trees, and therefore requires a non-contiguous design that incorporates these trees.  A California Skateparks street plaza in this site would require the removal of many if not all of these trees.  The SPAC does not support the removal of trees to build skateparks.  At this site, the SPAC advocates for other contemporary skatepark designers that have a documented portfolio that includes the integration of creative designs with existing trees.  California Skateparks does not design or build the kind of skatepark that will work best at this site.

5. It’s not clear that the skateboarders will realize any benefit from this donation.

The SPAC would like to emphasize that this skatepark project is fully funded so a donation is not necessary/warranted for this project unless there is a clearly identified benefit to be gained by the donation.  We are unable to identify sufficient benefits to outweigh the above identified concerns.  In exchange for accepting this donation on our behalf without consulting us first, we are being forced to select the lowest rated design consultant (by Parks own selection process), with an increased risk of building a sup-par skatepark for the site or the community that will be using it.

Again, the SPAC appreciates the supportive spirit behind the Mayor’s and Parks Superintendent acceptance of the donation.  However, we hope that the concerns raised above will lead to rejection of the donation and the selection of the best designer identified by the Parks appointed Consultant Selection Committee.

-Seattle Skatepark Advisory Committee

Feel free to post your comments here.

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West Seattle Blog posted some new photos of construction at Delridge and an update from Seattle Parks.

Check it out!

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Screenshot courtesy of WSB's video coverage of the press conference.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on the big announcement regarding Rob Dyrdek’s $75K donation to the City of Seattle for Roxhill skatepark, I want to break it down a bit and explore the details.  There are many open issues and questions still left to be answered.  So let’s dig a little into those details and come up with something a bit less circus-like, and translate it into something that might actually be meaningful information for Seattle’s skateboarders:

Dyrdek’s recognition of Seattle’s skatepark plan is a good thing. Seattle skateboarders, Seattle Parks, and the City Council have been working very hard for many years to make Seattle more skate-friendly. It’s great to have that effort recognized by someone like Rob.

Mayor McGinn comes out as in support of skateboarding facilities! On the eve of the hearing regarding the Summit Slope skatedot, this is really great news.  This is the first time we’ve heard him talk about skateboarding, and if this kind of thing is what it takes for him to come out in support of safe public skateboarding facilities, then we’ll take it.  If you peer into the much-lauded Citywide Skatepark Plan, there are no Seattle Parks logos on the pages, and the line that was left for the then-Mayor’s signature, remains unsigned.  This is because McGinn’s predecessor wasn’t behind the plan, and actively campaigned to keep it from happening.  He ordered Parks to remove the logos, and refused to endorse it.  Mayor McGinn buries this dark chapter in Seattle skateboarding history by coming out in support of the plan (or, rather…Rob’s support of the plan).  Thanks Mayor McGinn!

No one who worked on the City-wide skateboarding plan, or any skatepark advocates whatsoever, were at the press conference or even mentioned. A few of us were contacted at 1:00pm the day before the press conference, and being adults with jobs, kids, etc… we weren’t able to attend.  Rob credits “the city” for the skatepark plan, and skatedots, which really isn’t accurate.   The city has turned around and is now very supportive, but it wasn’t always that way.  We don’t do this for the credit, but the advocates and skateboarders (or even the people in the Parks Department, or the City Council who worked with us…) who had to push hard for these initiatives probably deserved to be recognized, and weren’t.  Which, in turn, made the whole thing feel a bit like a glory grab.  Less than 24 hours notice is just plain disrespectful.

The Skatepark Advisory Committee was never consulted on where this donation would be best applied. When we surveyed this location during the skatepark plan process, the committee identified some issues with the site.  One of them was that there wasn’t a lot of unused space available for a skatepark.  Currently the only space large enough that’s not being actively used, is the Northwest corner, which is peppered with some mature trees.  Whatever is built in this space is going to need to integrate those trees, because no one in Seattle is going to back tree removal for a skatepark (including the SPAC).  Dyrdek’s best plaza designs generally consist of a large, continuous plaza, which simply will not fit at Roxhill.  We could’ve raised this issue early, and helped them select a more appropriate location.  The fact that the Parks Department’s own advisory council dedicated to skateparks wasn’t consulted on this makes us wonder why we’re here at all.

The Roxhill skatepark was already fully funded by the voter-approved Parks For All Levy, and as the Mayor mentions at 9:35 in this video from West Seattle Blog’s coverage of the press conference, the current plan is to repurpose $75K from the existing project budget back into the general fund. If this happens, Seattle skateboarders actually see no benefit from this donation.  Rob Dyrdek effectively just made a donation to some other non-skate project.  This is something we’re asking Parks to clarify, but I’m having a hard time imagining even Dyrdek getting behind this one.

$25K of the donation is actually materials repurposed from the Street League event. This is good for Rob and the Earth because the stuff doesn’t end up in the garbage.  Conceptually, this is a good thing.  One assumes that without this donation, Mr. Dyrdek would have to eat the expense to dispose of this material, and this gets him off the hook on that.  But more importantly,  the stuff Rob has presumably already donated, was designed for professional skaters and is literally unskateable by the majority of skateboarders, especially kids.  Roxhill is in a neighborhood that houses a ton of kids, and (on last check) very few professional skateboarders.  Sure, rails can be cut down, etc… but the act of trying to repurpose these features into the design is an additional design challenge that we wouldn’t have had to face if we weren’t trying to incorporate these existing pieces.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually think this is a great thing. If Seattle Parks continues to work with the SPAC on figuring out the answers to some of these questions, this donation will amount to a meaningful benefit to Seattle skateboarders.  Unfortunately, due to some apparent timing issues with this all coming from left field at the last minute from the Dyrdek Foundation, and Parks not wanting to include the stakeholders to keep the public messaging machine cleanly oiled, there are now some serious open issues of concern.

One thing is for sure, the overt public message is good:  The Mayor supports skateparks, Rob Dyrdek supports Seattle’s forward-thinking support of it’s own skateboarders, and by hook or by crook, Roxhill will be getting an awesome skatepark very soon.


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Honky KO: Ballard Tribute Video

Honky K.O. | Myspace Music Videos

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With all the events of last week, this should be an interesting meeting.

Agenda is here.

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It’s time for another fun-filled SPAC meeting!  As usual it will be in the usual location in the Parks and Recreation Building located at 100 Dexter North, Seattle, WA 98109.

Skate Park Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda – October 11, 2010

*Meeting will begin @ 7pm sharp*

1.      Approval of Agenda

2.      Public Comments (limited to 2 minutes per individual)

3.      Delridge Skatepark Update

4.      Skate Dot Updates – John and Summit, Crown Hill, and 9th Avenue NW

5.      Jefferson Park Skatepark Update

6.      River City Skatepark Update

7.      Lower Woodland Update

8.      Northgate Redevelopment Update

9.      Dahl Playfield Skate Dot Update

10.  SeaSk8 Skatepark Update

11.   Sandel Playfield Miniramp

12.   Maple Leaf Skatepark

13.   Lake City Skatespot

14.   SLAG Update

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The guys at Electric Coffin have another really cool event cookin’ and this time it benefits our favorite DIY project.  GO!

Come out and Party and buy some killer art! Got some great artist lined up for the show!

Like the flier says, Electric Coffin is hosting a benefit art show for Marginal Way. Mob Grip tape has provided sheets of grip tape for artists to paint on and will be sold for no more than $50 buck the night of the event. Plus there will be a raffle including prizes from all the sponsors, Sno con, Foundry, Electric Coffin, Mob Grip, Creature, Independent, Band Vibes, and Spacecraft.

Also refreshments will be on hand for the event.

In case you don’t know Electric Coffin has moved, still in pioneer square (ish) but now on first down by the stadiums. 1020 1st ave S. So come see the new space (not in a basement).

Marginal Way Collective

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According to and the Seattle Parks Website, there will be a new skatespot up North by the Fall of 2011.

This comes at a time when Delridge is taking for-freakin’-ever and Maple Leaf skaters got straight up jacked.  I guess you can’t win ’em all.

But I tell you what, Seattle Parks project manager Kim Baldwin sure knows how to get it done.  This one was presumed to have been DOA.  With Lower Woodland, Jefferson, and now Crown Hill under her belt, she’s looking to take the title from the reigning SPD skatepark champion, Kelly Davidson (Dahl, Delridge, and the Capitol Hill skatedot).

As usual, don’t celebrate until the ‘crete is dry, but this is a great little amendment to the system up in the NW corner of our soon-to-be-skateable city.

Watch here for the meeting notices and get your ass out there. These projects have a way of going South unless there’s a solid base of support behind them.  You never know when those crafty lawn bowlers are going to sneak up and snatch your turf.

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JEff_compOnly 4 months in the making, which relatively speedy by Seattle Parks standards, the Jefferson skatepark design is to be unveiled tomorrow night at 6:45pm.

Three skaters showed up to the last meeting, which would’ve been a great time to get feeedback in, so it should be interesting to see who shows and what goes down.  It’s probably a bit late to get major changes in, but several things came out in the last meeting and in the Grindline forums that may be reflected in the amended design:

  • separating the flow area into two smaller bowls to accommodate more simultaneous skating
  • squaring off the deep end for true vert skating
  • bringing the street section into focus because Seattle needs it
  • the effect of Seattle Parks discovering a huge underground utility line that runs right across the middle of the site, making sub-grade features a no-go in the place that makes the most sense to have them

I’m mostly just curious to see who shows up.  Even though it’s billed as the presentation of the schematic design, changes have been made after the “final” meeting in the past.  They don’t really need to have a meeting to unveil a design, so it should be assumed they want your feedback.  Show up if you care.

The meeting will be held in the usual spot:  Jefferson Park Community Center.

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RCSP gravel baseIt’s happening.  Here’s an update from Mark:

“The park is being built now.  Rough grades, fill, and subgrade compaction are complete.  Gravel underlayment has been placed and Mark Hubbard is onsite this week getting the forms laid out.  One of the folks from Grindline Japan is in town and is supposed to be lending a hand in the coming weeks.  Hopefully the dry weather holds, although we are out of the woods now that the site has passed geotech inspection and properly drains so as to not create ponding in the middle of the site.  Anyone who might have a giant tent to loan would be the biggest hero in the world – let me know if you hear of anything.

We’re looking at 7-9 weeks until the concrete work is complete.  It is nice to finally follow up on the pledges that were made so long ago.  James Klinedint’s tireless work to document the park for permit (TWICE!!!), Hubbard being there for us on and off and on again, Matt Fluegge’s cool hand, Department of Neighborhoods’ cash money, SODO Rotary, NUCOR’s rebar donation, Cadman’s super-discount, and the South Park neighborhoods’ unwavering patience.”

This is huge news and the realization of an amazing grass-roots community skatepark success story.

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