The park was created underneath the Blackwell Road overpass.
“We’re not against skate parks,” said Public Information Officer with the Oregon Department of Transportation, Gary Leaming. This comes after ODOT says the park was made without permission.
“It’s in the wrong location, built without permission or any communication with us – and now we have a project that’s starting right in that general area that’s going to connect the [Bear Creek] Greenway with Dean Creek for a multi-use path,” said Leaming.
He says discussions were held with one of the skate park’s creators, Tyler Albright, as well as the Oregon Department of Justice. “We had talked to the state attorneys for the agency and they came back that, that’s not possible. It’s a huge liability for the taxpayers of Oregon.”
Albright, a local contractor, says he formally built professional skate parks for 8 years.
He says he took on creating the DIY project after his skating friends complained about a lack of decent skate parks in the Rogue Valley.
“Since the pandemic happened, there’s been a big emergent – or, new growth of a lot of new skaters, so the demand for skate spots is higher,” he said.
Albright says he started building the park in January 2021, before the DOJ said he would either need to remove the park entirely or pay a hefty lease.
“We had a discussion with them for awhile, and they gave us a lease option to pay $2,000 a month and they also wanted us to pay for the liability insurance, which we can’t afford,” said Albright.
Albright says it saddens him to take the park out but he understands the reasoning with ODOT’s upcoming improvement project.
“I wish we could keep it, maybe someone out there has enough money to help us resolve this lease issue and we can have another meeting with ODOT to change their minds, but as far as I’m aware, we are going to start demolishing it on Saturday,” he said.
Albright says the skate park has to be demolished 3 weeks from February 19th.
He says he is currently talking with other cities in hopes of creating new skate parks or improving current ones in the area.
Leaming says the new $10 million dollar improvement project on Blackwell Road has already started.
The road will soon have a single lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and a new 10-foot wide multi-path.
He says the project is set for completion by the end of October.