A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Even ‘closed,’ venue proves too inviting

Written April 15th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

There was some lively activity at the Albany Skatepark on Wednesday, but officially the place remained closed.

The “closed to the public” signs that had been posted at the Albany Skatepark on March 23 are long gone, and young people on bikes, boards and other things with wheels have reclaimed the popular spot. But the city says it’s still meant to be closed.

Even during our Days of Corona, skateparks don’t seem like likely places for the virus to be transmitted or received. The players there rarely pass within six feet of each other. And if they hit the deck as a result of a mistimed jump, they may get up with a bruise or two, but they’re not likely to lick the concrete.

The closures of some public places are increasingly likely to be ignored even if nobody makes off with the “closed” signs or the “danger” tape. That’s why state and city officials in Oregon ought to start lifting some of the more dubious restrictions and closures, such as skateparks in cities and trails in the woods, now that the number of new cases in the state has leveled off.

Consider Norway, a country with a population of 5.4 million, only a million or so more than Oregon’s 4.3 million.

The Scandinavian country had imposed a severe lockdown with criminal penalties even for visiting one’s vacation cabin. And yet it reported 6,798 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, compared to only 1,663 in Oregon, and 150 deaths, compared to Oregon’s 58. Now their new cases have leveled off, and they plan to allow some businesses such as hair salons to reopen in a few days, along with restarting school for younger children.

Oregon’s new cases have stayed level or declined (only 33 reported yesterday, fewer than on each of the previous five days), and our numbers are much lower than in Norway. No two states or countries are exactly the same, but if little Norway can set a date for lifting closures, why can’t little Oregon consider doing the same? (hh)

It was not a big crowd at the skatepark when I went by there Wednesday afternoon.

21 responses to “Even ‘closed,’ venue proves too inviting”

  1. thomas cordier says:

    Alas, even the cyclers and boarders know what makes sense and what doesn’t

  2. Not an odiot says:

    Yeah cause falling down and breaking the skin doesn’t open a route for bacteria and viruses to enter the body…..oh wait….

  3. Lundy says:

    Hasso, you are absolutely right. Many of our closures — like the ones involving huge open areas — make no public health sense.

  4. Al Nyman says:

    If every muni, state and federal employee not working was not getting paid, you can be assured there would be no quarantine.

  5. Ean says:

    In Corvallis the dog park is still open. That one seems crazier to me than the skate park. Also OSU has closed their forests. What is closed and what is open seems totally random.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      When I rode past it about a week ago, the Corvallis skate park was closed and nobody was there.

  6. BillH says:

    Neighborhood Parks are closed, so kids play in the streets. Makes No sense at all. Open the parks!

  7. Bob Woods says:

    Open the parks to draw kids and adults there. Share the infection if they’re carriers. Who cares?

    If you die, or your kids die, you deserve it. But that also means you don’t have the ability to respect the fact that you may transmit a virus to people who don’t want it.

    Selfishness. The hallmark of conservatives. Government is evil because it stops me from doing whatever the hell I want, when I want.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Albany parks have been open all along, except for the play equipment.

      • Bob Woods says:

        So what’s your point? Fine for kids and adults to roll around in the grass together, unless they get on the teeter-totter?

        Stay home. A minimum of 6 feet apart when you’re out. Follow the science. If the science changes, great, But still follow the science.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          My point was that you were equating opening parks with wanting to spread the infection, and you evidently did not know that the city had kept the parks open while posting signs urging social distancing.

          • Lundy says:

            FYI, Lebanon has closed city parks, so I guess that part of the governor’s order was open to municipal interpretation.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      The golf courses are open, why not a skate park? Evidently government thinks it’s okay for some to “roll around in the grass”, but not others.

      Government isn’t evil for closing one and not the other. Just stupid.

      And you are too for saying people want to share the infection.

      • Jasper says:

        You are comparing golf, which is usually 2 people who are a hole apart from the next group, to a skate park, where everybody is within 6 feet of each other? Are you seriously thinking that these two spots are both allowing the virus to be spread at an equal rate?

        Golf courses are open because golfers are able to maintain a 6 ft distance from their golfing partner, if they have one. The part that they get the closest is at tee-off and if they are both on the green. In both cases, they can still maintain the distance.

        Skate parks are a concrete pit with ramps. That pit has a center point in which the people who are participating share within seconds of each other. In no case are people outside of 6 ft, except if they are on opposite ends of the of the park.

        Use logic next time instead of irrational thinking because you are told not to do something. That is why the virus spreads like wildfire when illogical people think the rules don’t apply to them.

        • Gordon L. Shadle says:

          No, what I’m saying is if government(s) are going to shut down skating parks and the like, be consistent and shut down all outdoor activity that is not “essential” to protecting and sustaining life.

          Or don’t. Just don’t be stupid about it.

          I’m all for keeping golf courses open. But if you define golf courses as “essential” under the definition government(s) have fed us, one has to ask, who is not applying logic or rational thinking here?

          (Plus, my primary purpose in commenting was to address the silly comment by Woods that people want to share the infection.)

          • Jasper says:

            The government shut down businesses and practices that are unable to maintain the 6 ft social distance standard. Golfing, where people are able to maintain that distancing, is allowed to stay open due to this loophole. Skate parks, playground, and other such properties are unable to maintain this distancing.

            That is how golf courses are open, and the skate park is closed.

            If they allowed only 1 person or a family/roommates at a time into the skate park, then they would be allowed to remain open. They just simply are unable to meet the standard set by Kate Brown. It is simple thinking, and I think anybody who is caught breaking this should be cited, simply for their sheer stupidity thinking they should be exempt.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Hasso: ‘They had it coming’ is a shameful sentiment to publish on your blog.

      You are quick to censor opinions and sentiments that you disagree with, yet you allow this kind of trash from Woods.

      I’m losing faith in your editing skills.

  8. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    The Albany skate park is used by guys who are old, obese, and have an underlying disease, said…no…one…ever.

    On the other hand, I’ve golfed with lots of old, obese guys with an underlying disease.
    Government(s) say this is okay during a pandemic.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  9. Connie says:

    Walking through Grand Prairie Park today I noticed the basketball hoops had been removed. Guess that solved that problem…

  10. Birdieken says:

    Keeping people at home seems to be a consequence of government not being able to supply masks, wipes, or sanitizer. Do you live to skate or do you skate to live?

  11. Lundy says:

    In Lebanon, city parks are now open, but playground equipment remains taped off.


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