Despite construction complications, a new downtown Polo skate park kept its promise to the public to open by May 5.
Birdland Skate Park, 112 E. Mason St., held an opening celebration Saturday, gathering skateboarders, scooter-riders, or even just passerbys wanting to show support for developer Jim O’Conner’s addition to the downtown area.
Skaters can enjoy a bowl with both four-foot and three-foot deep ends, along with a seven-foot-high extension, a small quarter pipe, an A-frame rail, and a bank.
The bowl itself had traffic all day, but the venue was also filled with volunteers conducting T-shirt and sticker sales, safety and conduct briefings, and board displays in Pinecricker Cafe’s outdoor area, right next to the park.
Skaters ranged from 10 to 21 years old, intermingling into a culture that Alan Martoccia, Birdland co-manager of Mt. Moris, said embodies the park’s ideals.
“We are all about being a safe, fun, no bullying, good vibe environment,” said Martoccia. “We want kids to have fun and learn to fly the Birdland way.”
Construction is still ongoing inside the building itself. When finished, it will include full skate shop that offers boards and other skating gear, apparel, and repairs, as well as a small cafe where someone can grab a coffee and a sandwich.
“As you can see, it’s still got some work to be done inside,” said other co-manager Adrian Juarez, of Sterling. “However, we talked about it as work was happening, and we decided that we told people we’d be open by May 5, and so we stuck to that.”
Birdland’s hours will echo the Oregon Park District – dawn-to-dusk, seven days a week.
At some point, O’Connor may install lights to keep it open until 10:30 p.m., although, to make curfew, kids younger than 18 would have to leave the park at 10.
O’Connor also has assured city leaders that he will have liability insurance and an on-site monitor to enforce the rules.
Gavin Jensen contributed to this story.