I’m the guy in the front left side
Picture dated May 1970 Portland State University Strike and march on City hall
Where to Start? I grew up in Portland Oregon and became politicized around 1967. Along with many of my generation we believed we could change the world, beginning with the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. And then we were going to end all wars and live in peace the rest of our lives. I was an Idealist. This time in my life crystallized my belief that each of us can make a difference and that has been my mantra ever since.
Over the years I’ve become involved with legalizing skateboarding, building political support for public skate parks and solving the many social issues that we face. In the 80’s it was deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill without proper support systems and the availability of fortified wine to chronic alcoholics by major wine producers. I was able to effect changes that reduced the murder rate in our Neighborhood from 11 to 2 in one year and the restrictions became permanent and are in place to this day. I should say that my shop is and always has been in what we call a skid row or tenderloin district with all of the issues I speak to right outside the front door. Our Neighborhood has approximately 1700 residents, most with no or low incomes, living in what we call SROs which are hotels converted to permanent residencies. We also are the Neighborhood where the homeless and the mentally ill access service, some city and county-funded, some faith-based.
I’m currently the Chair of the Old Town/Chinatown Neighborhood Association and have been for the last 2 years building bridges to every constituency and bringing them to the table which has grown into a 15 member board with advocates for the homeless, business leaders, property owners, faith-based and non-faith-based social services, residents and our cultural heritage. I’ve spent the last year working on grants though the U.S. Department of Justice to bring much needed funding to fill the gaps and needs of this Neighborhood and in the first few months of 2004 we will get our answer from Uncle Sam.
So there you go, Cal Skate is a center for political discussion and action and I will continue to use my business to promote good citizenry through my example. If you want to know more about he Old Town/Chinatown Neighborhood go to http://www.oldtownchinatown.org
Peace to you all,
I’m still active in the community as co chair of the Old Town/Chinatown Visions committee which deals with development/land use issues as well as supporting the social service network helping folks off the streets and into housing and services. My work on public skateparks is pretty much complete with plan to build 19 parks in areas that have been determined already. We now have 4 parks built and as funding becomes available more will come. Thanks everyone for your efforts and support, Howard
June 2nd 2009
Oh My, so much has changed in this last year both locally and beyond. Our new President brings a new hope for the future. A new Mayor that is fully engaged on many fronts, but particularly for me his interest in building a world class skate park just blocks from our shop.
The Steel Bridge Skate Park when built will be the Jewell of our 19 park system and will sit on 60,000 sq. feet just under the Steel Bridge. The city just signed a contract with a group comprised of park builders and landscape architects to flesh out the costs and design, then onto the Parks levy scheduled for 2010.
I still chair the Old Town/Chinatown Visions committee where we work together to build community and discuss issues that could cause conflict between our many social services and the business/residential community and at the age of 58 I guess I’m now an elder in the neighborhood and I still have a number of years to continue this work. Thanks for reading my blog and enjoy each day, Howard
Hi Folks, I apologize for not keeping up this Blog as I have been posting on our Facebook Page for some time. We just celebrated our 36th year in Business and I’m coming up to my 61st Birthday. It’s hard to believe how fast our lives go by. I still am very active in the community mostly leading discussions around Livability and public safety issues.
I and Paul are still involved with building our skate park system along with many others that have taken up the cause.Our Parks and Recreation Bureau staff have been working with neighborhood groups to find funding for a number of smaller parks in the 2500 ft. range to to add to our quiver.
On one Political note I’m supporting Charlie hales for mayor, Charlie saw the inequities in the law when skateboarding was illegal with fines up to $2500.00 and took the lead in changing the law while he was a city commissioner. It was his decisive action to right a wrong with no net political benefit that defines this guy.