Best Skatepark: Zealously appropriating public land for the cause

Bordertown

It’s the ultimate David and Goliath story. Two skateboarders use trash, concrete, and their own bare hands to construct a monument to fun. The Man finds out about it and seeks retribution, only to be thwarted by the little guy with the help of the media and some publicity politics. Welcome to Bordertown. Situated Red Hot Chili Peppers-style under the bridge in West Oakland, this acre-sized cache of cement half-pipes and quarter-pipes is about as real as it gets. Professional and amateur boarders built it up out of construction debris and cement beginning June 2004. Pushing out the crackheads, the skaters settled in to work and shred until Caltrans padlocked the place last August. Well versed in playing the victim, the skaters hooked journalists with heartwarming quotes about volunteerism, community pride, and the need for such outlets. When Senator Barbara Boxer said the kids are alright, Caltrans backed off and the half-pipe building continues, giving West Oakland a much-needed venue for boardslides, 5-0s, and the occasional backside 760 McTwist. To the creators and keepers of Bordertown, we say, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

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