Oakland DIY Spot Gets Bulldozed

A news channel covers the dramatic last runs at a spot which was clearly a positive usage of a forsaken area. Oakland's other great DIY spot, Bordertown, is slated next.




Check out this article from our November 2010 issue:

610wasteland
Click image to enlarge.

The Life and Looming Death of a Skate-Slab

Photos: Ken Nagahara | Words: Adam Creagan

Few things extinguish the stoke more than a slab spot’s death by bulldozer, or by jack-hammer if your Project Scumway never got beyond a jersey barrier. There are quite a few terrain options these days, of course, but the over-regulated parks have a daycare-center vibe and the ones with nine-foot fences feel like a prison. Yearning to breathe free, there will be those who deposit vigilante ’crete into exciting formations at interesting locations. The “pour-your-own and face the consequences” storyline has a few Burnside-style triumphs, but more often it ends in whiny tales about fighting City Hall and losing.

In Oakland, CA, under a canopy of highway overpasses, in a bleak corner of the city where the only thing going on is urban decay, a group of motivated individuals found a creative use for a desolate slab of asphalt. So, that’s the beginning of the story. And, unfortunately, you already know the ending: instead of a “Skate at your own risk” city-declaration, the spot is slated for a Caterpillar annihilation. Maybe. The mounds still stand for now and, who knows, Too $hort could ride in to the rescue.  

Now for the kinda-flimsy philosophical part: If the spot does get KO’d, a self-sustaining open-air community center, devoted to physical and mental health, craftsmanship and urban renewal, will revert back to its original state—a lifeless, soul-killing magnet (how do they work?) for garbage and hobo excrement.

Every beginning and end needs a middle, though...

During one visit to the spot, a tech game of SKATE was going down. A nearby older dude remarked to his even-older friend, “It looks like they’re playing hacky-sack.” His tone wasn’t hostile, he just seemed perplexed that these guys were wildly flipping their boards in a small area when there were so many unique obstacles around. When the game wrapped up, however, these same flatground wizards launched a barrier-cult assault which included blunts, backside tailslides, and a kickflip pivot, all on the same wicked-tight transition the older guys could barely muscle a grind on. In fact, one of the senior gents got Tom Broke-off on a squirrely-ass rock fakie attempt.

That anecdote is not a Barney cheap-shot, though. Actually, if you can find a point to the story, let us know. But maybe it has something to do with how these slab spots, including the short-lived ones, are an important part of skating for reasons that are both obvious and also hard to describe.

  • Baby Amy Skate Co.'s "Curbs on Fire" Video

    Baby Amy Skate Co.'s "Curbs on Fire" Video
    Baby Amy Skate Co. comes through with a rad new video. Check it out.
  • Atlas Skate Jam and best Trick Contest

    Atlas Skate Jam and best Trick Contest
    Join Atlas skateshop, Levi's, REAL, and Nike SB at 1pm on Saturday the 28th at the Shoreview Skatepark in San Mateo for a best trick contest and skate jam. Over $1,000 cash to give out, a bunch of other prizes and burritos!
  • Talkin' MOB with Nicole Hause

    Talkin' MOB with Nicole Hause
    Kick it in to overdrive and hit the park with MOB grip rider, Nicole Hause.
  • My City with Milton Martinez

    My City with Milton Martinez
    Volcom comes through with their installment of "My City" featuring Milton Martinez skating his hometown of Mar Del Plata, Argentina.
  • Diego Nájera's "ADELANTE" Part

    Diego Nájera's "ADELANTE" Part
    Diego showcases the style and technical prowess that he has become known for. Take a moment to watch Nájera lay it down in his newest skate part.