Ten years ago, a lot of Portland parks had barbecue grills people could use—nice for those of us without cars. Now I can't seem to find any, at least in Portland proper. Do any still exist, or do I have to go out to the boonies to find them? Thanks! —Wannabe Griller
I was going to start this column with a joke about a guy on Twitter who was trying to decide whether to be an edgelord or an incel (I said he should be an edgecel—that's when you're constantly letting your penis get THIS CLOSE to a vagina), but then someone said my readers probably wouldn't know what an incel was.
I mention this not to pass judgment one way or another about how clued in you all may be about the latest online sociological trends, but because the question of whether there are still barbecue grills in our city's parks doesn't take particularly long to answer. It turns out there are! See you next week!
Just kidding—here's the scoop. For starters, Wannabe, it's not your imagination—the city confirms to me that public grills have gone, if not the way of the dodo, at least the way of the spotted owl.
"There are fewer BBQs than there used to be, primarily as a function of cost," says Sonia Schmanski, chief of staff to Parks Commissioner Nick Fish. Maintaining the grills themselves isn't that spendy, but cleaning up after the people who use them—many of whom dump their ashes and the old place—can be.
Even so, there are still BBQs at Dawson, Brooklyn, Hazeltine and Luuwit View parks.
If you want to fire up a wienie at any of these parks, you can either show up and take your chances or reserve a picnic site online.
It looks pretty easy—I checked the availability of picnic sites at Luuwit View Park (out Northeast 127th and Fremont way), and almost every Saturday in June was still free for at least part of the day. (There are also picnic sites that don't accept reservations; these are available on a first-come, first-served basis.)
Two caveats: First, if your preferred park doesn't have a grill, you're out of luck—bringing your own isn't permitted. Second, you are allowed to barbecue during the summertime burn-ban season, but please be careful not to set the entire Willamette Valley on fire like certain 15-year-olds, who shall (by law) remain nameless. Happy grilling!