Burnside's rise from junkie lair to its current glory was due to ten years of sweat, toil and piecemeal ingenuity by local diehards whom Scott led to expand upon Osage Buffalo and Brett Turner's (sic) (should be Taylor) original impetus. Entirely unsubsidized, they laid down concrete and tested it as they went along until they achieved the desired result. It is a grassroots reclamation project that so positively changed the surrounding neighborhood that the city bestowed on Red and the rest a citation for civic improvement. Their successful mission to make something out of nothing has been as influential as any trick or board-design breakthrough. Burnside is an awe-inspiring pilgrimage site because the right fanatics built it for all the right reasons---the opposite of the deplorable travesties that occur when architects completely ignore their constituency to design flawed skateparks, or anything else for that matter. Burnside's atmosphere reflects the authenticity of its builders' impulses: as long as you're riding and not acting like an asshole, you've got a place in the lineup.
From The Answer Is Never: A skateboarders history of the world by Jocko Weyland / Grove Press / pgs 314 & 315
Built without permission, by skateboarders and later sanctioned by the city, Burnside is the preeminent example of action. Burnside's unique growth and evolution -through the sweat and blood of a handful of dedicated individuals- have matured into one of the best skateparks in the world. Burnside and its creators are true pioneers, setting the stage for community built skateparks across the country. Like a magnifying glass in the sun, Burnside can witness a concentration of skill level unmatched anywhere. You can see crazy, crazy things there. Go, watch, learn, be humbled, excited and inspired. It is amazing.
From Skate Oregon
Hidden beneath a freeway overpass, Burnside is known throughout the world as one of the gnarliest, most creative skateparks ever built. The skaters who created it had total say in its construction from the beginning until its completion somewhere around 1995. Forgoing the normal time-consuming process of city council meetings and political red tape typical of city-built parks, skaters who were fed up with having no good parks to skate joined together and created their own.
From EXPN.com By Keith Eric Davidson
In the early 90's, a group of Portland skaters emerged into the public eye. All in their late-teens to early twenties, these skaters were sick of their homemade equipment constantly being torn down or burned, and tired of being kicked out of any public place for just wanting "to skate so fu**ing bad." These kids were smart, and knew that continuing to fight with their enemies would get them no where. Like the adage goes, if you can't beat them, join them. They became allies with their foes and built one of the most challenging skateparks in the world guerilla-style: Burnside Skatepark (featured on Activision 02's Tony Hawk 1)- no helmets or pads required, no rules. "You have to be a wicked versatile skater to ride that park."
From Switch magazine By Miho Hosaka
"I was working on a Saturday and I looked out my window and I saw them cleaning the area up," explains Joanne Ferrero, owner of RJ Templeton, the auto parts warehouse next door to the skatepark. "Then I saw them dumping a small mound of concrete and I just chuckled to myself and said, 'Those kids are going to build their own skatepark!'"
From Youth Today / Youth Tomorrow Skateparks Across America - Hang Ups, Hips and Grinds
by Ayesha Rook
The denizens of Burnside Skatepark have always been a resourceful lot: They built the place in 1990 on unoccupied city land without a dime of public support. Now, just shy of the park's 11th birthday, two of its creators, Mark "Red" Scott and Sage Boulyard, have raised $5,000 from local businesses and last week removed the park's infamous "punk wall" and rebuilt the "hip." The changes, which include plenty of new cement, will make the park even faster and--just in time for Halloween--even scarier.
From Willamette Week Murmers - ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON WEDNESDAY, 10/24/2001
"You're Stephen Baldwin?" Bemiller asked the actor, who wore a backward baseball cap with "Jesus" embroidered on one side and "God is good" on the other.
"We're just a bunch of Christian guys making a video," said Baldwin, burly and tan. As if to make his purpose clearer, he pointed to a BMX rider, high in the air above the skate park. "He gets more air 'cause he's got Jesus," said Baldwin, half-joking.... Bemiller, the skeptical skater who wandered onto the set, got a free board out of his chance meeting with Baldwin. When the actor saw Bemiller's board--illustrated with the word "terror" over an image of a woman's legs sticking out of a trash can--he gave him a new one with an image of a skull, a cross and the word "faith."
"Get this local cat some grip tape," Baldwin yelled to his crew....
From Baptist Standard Evangelistic skateboard video finds unlikely host By Shelby Oppel
Ever hear of a "Burnside Pro"? Probably not. Although the park has produced more than it's share of insane skaters, some of which have gone on to achieve pro status, nobody's really concerned with any of that. Sponsorships do exist, and the rippers usually get the product they deserve, but the atmosphere is very relaxed with no stress over "sponsor me" videos or photos. Tempers rarely flare and the more experienced skaters are always willing to offer a word of encouragement or advice to the up and comers.
Burnside is a pretty sketchy place. A lot of weird stuff has gone there, but if you have a pretty big group of friends with you, you should be fine!
From Unknown Angelfire site
(Ed. Note: This is one of the biggest misconceptions concerning Burnside. Yeah, some crazy things have happened, but things happen everywhere. Don't let the bad hype scare you.)
A more successful story was born 14 years ago, when a renegade group of skateboarders built an ambitious skatepark underneath the Burnside Bridge. The designers and construction crew didn't ask the city for permission; they simply built the park. With sheer walls and swooping corners, the park at Burnside is dizzying and intoxicating. It's one of the best-known parks in the world, even serving as the blueprint for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater video game.
(Ed. Note: Read this whole story. It's mainly about the PP&R skatepark plan.)
From Portland Mercury 01/29/04 by Phil Busse
Set in downtown Portland, Burnside is the epitome of do it yourself. Burnside is a living organism, much like a virus, ever evolving, ever changing, hard to kill. At Burnside, skaters write compositions of urethane and concrete. We had a cool session and got to watch locals like Little John, Dogboy and Cindy Gorset create a synthesis of fluidity, familiarity and improvisation. We skated. We watched. We skated. We realized we aint shit.
From Oregon: The Mecca of Fun
by Sonny Mayugba Heckler magazine - issue 45
You have probably noticed that skateboarding is experiencing a strong renaissance. In terms of the growth of participants and equipment sales, it consistently outperforms traditional team sports such as baseball and football. Communities have noticed this trend, too, and have been building public skateparks at a pace that would have seemed impossible to a previous generation of skaters who asked city hall for a place to skate.
Many skaters trace the roots of this phenomenon back to Portland, Oregon's Burnside skatepark, which was the labor of love of a group of dedicated skaters in the early nineties, who used a combination of guerilla construction and community outreach to get their park built. The momentum of their work was such that the city eventually granted the park a conditional permit to continue its existence on city land.
From Concrete Callout! No more plastic skate jumps! Bad Skateparks.com
Do you believe Burnside is a parabolic sculpture and an icon to American youth culture. It is, because in these days of do-it-yourself Burnside stands alone as a bunch of skaters getting together tired of people telling them "no." They went down there and built their own skatepark. It has also given them-Red and Marty-Dreamland and Grindline, the chance to build skateparks all across the world, and share the magic.
If Burnside is the first ring in the Trilogy, what are the second and third? Cambridge pool and Marseille. Those are the three. And I've done all three in 16 days.
For the record, top 10 spots of all time:
3. El Rancho
9. Rio Sul
From Thrasher.com Jake Phelps - The interview
Where do we start w/ this place? The original renegade skatepark, Burnside is *big time* and has earned a nearly mythical slot in skatepunk history. Hand built by locals over the last ten years, the park is definitely a little rough around the edges, but even in light of the recent skatepark boom, it's still a world class spot... chip on its shoulder or not!
One of the most common rumors about this place is the *no bullshit* reputation that flies like a flag above this park. We've heard tons of stories that all end with "...or you'll get your ass kicked!" Burnside's neighborhood, its riders, and the park itself all maintain a mystique of punishment to anyone that thinks they're gonna roll in and own the place. Grommit, soccer mom or mad man, our advice to you: 1.) Go early to avoid crowds and attitude, 2.) Bikers and bladers should especially watch their step, skateboarders built/rule this place, and 3.) Leave your attitude at home, out-a-towners w/ big mouths don't last too long at the Burnside.
From Burnside on SK8parkList.com