Lower Exchange Street Becomes a Skateboard Park; Not It’s Intended Use !

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Street Sign in Front of Ten Exchange Street, Old Port of Portland.  The Same Building Houses a Condominium Owned by Joe Soley and Jonathan Cohen, His Partner.

Jonathan Cohen, Who Allegedly Does Not Support Renewing the Lease of MOCEAN This Fall. at Ten Exchange Street.  Cohen & His Business Partner, Joe Soley, own the Falmouth Shopping Center.  Efforts to Expand it, Failed.

“Exchange Street has become a skateboard park,” said an employee of one of the shops in the Old Port of Portland.  He works many evenings  until dark and frequently sees about 15 or so skateboarders using it for a skatepark – not its intended use.

For this past September First Friday Art Walk, MOCEAN, (pronounced MOTION) planned to import a launch pad from which about 15 – 20 skateboarders could perform.   Instead, city officials showed up just before the demonstration of skills and informed the organizers they could not block off Exchange Street in that fashion because Jasper Tripp, owner, had not applied for a permit – a necessity when blocking off a public street from public use.  (The Old Orchard Beach based surf and skateboard company is owned by Jasper Tripp’s father).

However, when city officials had left Exchange Street as had this blogger for about fifteen (15) minutes,  the MOCEAN initiated demonstration started-up.  Reportedly, the skateborders ceased their activity and parted ways for cars to pass.  Following the demonstration a party for about forty (40)  commenced on the second floor of Ten Exchange Street as they have done following most First Friday Art Walk demonstrations.

The imported launch pad ironically covers a cobblestone strip running from curb to curb – a strip  originally intended to slow down skateboarders speeding down the Street full of upscale shops. Ironically, it is now used for the placement of a launch pad.

MOTION’s lease is up at the end of October 2019.  One wonders if it will be renewed?

Please see previous post for more background information on the skateboard park on Exchange Street.

12 thoughts on “Lower Exchange Street Becomes a Skateboard Park; Not It’s Intended Use !

  1. Don’t you have anything better to report on other than people having fun on their skateboards?? How about the increasing opioid/opiate epidemic plauging our great city? You sound like a stuck up old fart who hates fun.

  2. The way you’ve chosen to view this situation is saddening. This is a great opportunity for the community to enjoy an entirely free event put on by the skateshop. I seriously doubt this decreases any business in the area if anything I imagine it would attract people by bringing their attention to exchange street. This skateshop, and the city of portland, are the hub of the skateboarding community in Maine. We should celebrate mocean and their events as another great asset to the city!

  3. I watched a couple sit on a doorstep today in the bay side neighborhood . Proceed to inject drugs and leave there needles behind on the doorstep . But skateboarders on exchange street letting cars go by as they come down the street , attracting bystanders and giving free cloths away to kids is a huge problem carol. I totally understand where your coming from. Don’t @ me

    • Steven, if you are suggesting that skateboarders would otherwise be doing drugs if denied that opportunity on Exchange Street, I’d like to see your proof of that. I’m unaware of those facts. Giving away “cloths” – that’s a new one. Proof? Where is it?
      Carol

  4. This is an example of bullying at it’s finest. The nature of an article that is biased on a subject without any concrete knowledge or research cannot be taken seriously. This establishment has some of the finest art, music, and skate supplies in the entire nation. People go to the events and shop for the positivity and creativity. You should be ashamed for displaying this cowardice in a time where revolution and sustainability need to be at the forefront of society!

  5. I knew Jonathan Cohen in grade school. He was a stooge then and it doesn’t surprise me that he will not support a beautiful working community and business. Hope you too enjoy cocktails together and frown over the comMocean in the streets!

  6. What’s more important, making money or growing culture? Sure some tourists may be disturbed and some upscale shops have to deal with loud noises but are they more essential to our community than people deeply involved in one of Portland’s unique subcultures? The Skaters may be a danger to themselves but that is their own choice, they may make a few cars stop but they do anyways for foot traffic on a Friday night. Are the skateboarders hurting Portland or are they just a nuisance to a few owners? If so then why claim to be local news for Portland when you are only serving the interests of a few? What good is a platform based off of Portland’s culture if it’s trying to bash the very thing it thrives off of? I grew up on Munjoy Hill and have lived in this city for the past 23 years, this isn’t Munjoy Hill News this is Upscale Scare Tactics to Progress Private Interests. Just some questions for the author to ask themselves, thank you.

  7. A few salient points… would like to hear your response, Carol.

    In the year 2019 I think most of us can agree that it is actually cars that are the disturbance, the threat to civilized society, the cultural menace worthy of our scrutiny and opposition. Public streets are intended for public use, and skateboards are a much more ethical mode of transportation for a number of reasons (environmental ones first and foremost, but consider also their accessibility to all income brackets–in contrast with “upscale shops”.) How and where these guys use their skateboards is not for you to decide. I happen to think that hordes of tourists shopping at upscale shops is a threat to my enjoyment of the Old Port, but I don’t feel like I have the right to prevent them from doing so.

    With respect to skateparks: you may know that the Portland skate park is woefully inadequate in terms of both quality and size. If you didn’t know that, now you do. The owners of Mocean are leading the charge to both redesign the park and raise $100K to rebuild it. That is a tremendous amount of time, money, and organizing power that they are investing in our community, and they should be thanked for it. Also of note, the skatepark is located miles from downtown in the middle of a soccer field. It’s not exactly where one wants to hang out on a Friday night, and that location sends a clear message to young people about where they are and aren’t welcome as well as where the city’s priorities lie.

    Lastly, a thought on local culture and art. You were right to frame your article around the First Friday Art Walk. It’s an important event. Art plays a big role in the expression and creation of local culture. It’s a huge part of what makes Portland interesting and enjoyable, and it helps the community generate ideas and create progress. Many components of life in Portland flow from art, including commerce. You may love the gentrification of Portland, you may hate it, but don’t deny that what paved the way for upscale shops and condos was vibrant local culture–young people making art, making food, skateboarding, playing music, and generally living in a way more concerned with substance than conformity. We should at least allow those same young people to coexist with the fancy newcomers. A few minor traffic violations with no real obstruction are a small price to pay for that. I’d encourage everyone to check out the art in Mocean, and learn a bit about local skate culture. Both are assets to the city of Portland, and I think many people recognize that. When I see passers by watching the skateboarders outside Mocean, I see a lot more smiles than wagging fingers.

    • Thank you for your “civil” although not salient opinion. I suggest that your comments are better addressed to the city manager of Portland, Jon Jennings, or to the Mayor, as they determine the rules of the road for Exchange Street I do not have a role whatsoever in determing the rules that apply to Exchange Street, and the issuing of permits Carol

  8. My comments are addressed to you because this issue is not actually about rules and laws, but rather the civil coexistence of neighbors. Civility in this case would mean a conversation in which the parties sought to better understand one another, not an appeal to obscure passages of municipal code. It most definitely wouldn’t mean trying to publicly shame someone’s landlord into evicting them.

    I’m well aware that you don’t issue permits. What you do issue are public opinions that have an effect on how people see the community. Since you used your platform to simply complain rather than learning more about the issue, I felt I should provide you with some context. Since you attempted to publicly drag someone’s name through the mud, I felt I should try to set the record straight. So yes, my comments are best addressed to you. If you’d like to engage the substance of my opinion instead of deflecting, then maybe we’ll begin to approach something resembling civility.

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