The new police state has extended far enough up America’s collective rectum. So we’re drawing the line and roguing the City of Tigard for its policy of singling out skateboarders for random searches.
When the Jim Griffith Memorial Skate Park opened Oct. 16 next to Tigard City Hall, the 15,000-square-foot park became the newest area venue designed specifically for skateboarders, BMX bikers and in-line skaters to gather and pull tricks.
The city posted 16 rules at the entrance. It’s rule No. 3 that’s riled the park’s mostly underage patrons: “By entering and remaining in the Skate Park, you voluntarily give consent to have any backpack, bag or other container searched by Tigard Police.”
This isn’t the airport, where you might make a case for a surrender of rights when you decide to board a plane. Imagine the uproar if that rule were posted at every public park and pool in Tigard. But it’s not. Only at the skate park. In Portland, skate parks don’t have any such automatic search rule.
“That’s violating the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment,” says Erik Nelson, 17, a Tigard High School senior hanging out at Griffith Park last week. “It’s a stereotype of skaters if they think they’re gonna have to check bags.”
And the rule isn’t just for show either. Sterling Robbins, 15, a sophomore at Catlin Gabel School, says his bag was searched for no apparent reason a few days after the park opened. He says police found nothing.
Tigard Parks Director Dan Plaza says police requested the rule to keep out weapons, drugs and alcohol. It’s not keeping skaters away, Plaza says.
At skateandannoy.com, bloggers have posted rants and cartoons mocking the rule, and a plea for $5 donations to make stickers opposing it. Our check’s in the mail.