THIS SKATEPARK WAS BUILT by volunteer labor on an abandoned lot in the Lower Bottoms neighborhood of West Oakland. It's part of a Do-It-Yourself movement by skaters that started in Portland, Oregon, in l990. Since then it has spread to cities all over America. The idea is for volunteers to build a really cool skate park on abandoned land for very little money — just the cost of materials. No permissions. No permits. Built amazingly fast. The $40,000 tab for this park, named "Lower Bob," (see my photos of "Bob" in the West Oakland Gallery), was picked up by skateboard magazines and sponsors. Making it official, with the addition of toilets and dumpsters will happen if and when the city stops trying to find a way to reduce the park to rubble. CalTrans turns out to own the lot but it' saying it doesn't have the $25,000 it would need to tear it down.
In August, 2015, a brand-new skateboard park twice the size of Lower Bob was built in West Oakland. The cost: $700,000 donated by Levi Strauss. The park is great and everyone loves it, but why can't the East Bay have two good parks?