Mark Scott is the owner and site foreman of Dreamland Skateparks. This lot make skateparks all over the world, and are responsible for some of the most mental concrete creations around. He's also one of the men behind what might just be the most infamous D.I.Y. skatepark of all time — Burnside in Portland. Anyway, enough of the introduction... I fired him some questions, and he gave me some straight-up, no-nonsense replies.
We might as well start this off nice and easy — how are you today?
You were one of the first people to start building at Burnside back in 1990. What was there before you started building there?
The bridge foundation had a slanted wall we rode.
What was the first thing you built there?
A bank up to a wall.
Did you expect it to last?
It sounded like a pretty wild scene back then. Have you got any good stories about the early days of Burnside?
Some bum pooped down from the top of the wall and it stained the wall for about five years. He must have had a lot of Maddawg or Night Train the night before.
Before Burnside did you know anything about concrete and construction, or were you just learning as you went along?
I had very little knowledge about concrete, but I did have some construction knowledge. I definitely learned as we went along.
Why do you think Burnside is still around whilst countless other DIY creations have been reduced to dust?
We got strong support from the community and got the city council to approve it.
How many parks do you reckon you lot have built since then?
How do you lot start a job?
Every job varies. We prefer to do an all design build, but that doesn’t always happen.
Do you stick firmly to a plan or do you just make it up as you go along?
The process varies. Everything always gets a little tweaked and sometimes we are given the freedom to do whatever we want. Everything we build is specific for that community. We try to meet the needs of everyone.
How do you decide what to build first?
Haha, well we got to go nuts in Lincoln City and Hailey, so that was rad. We just work with whatever budget they have and try to make everyone happy.
Mark at Lincoln City
How long does a decent sized park take to make?
Two to three months. It is about one and a half weeks per 1000 square feet.
How does building one of these big, authorised parks compare to building something like Burnside?
It goes a lot faster. The budget is established and funds are raised so you don’t have to wait around for money or volunteers. Burnside has been a 25 year project.
Do you think it’s weird that you’re now paid to do something that you started out doing illegally?
I am very fortunate and lucky.
What’s that massive concrete cannon thing you lot use to build parks?
It’s a shotcrete nozzle, concrete is blown through it with an air compressor.
Are there any designs in your head you’re yet to build?
Many! Most are pretty wild, so I would probably need to build it at my house first or at a private compound… unless some city just gives us a total free pass to go nuts!
Out of all your creations, which are you most proud of?
Burnside, Lincoln City and any of the volunteer ones I have helped out on.
What do you get up to when you’re not making massive skateparks?
Currently I am recovering from a full right reconstructive surgery. But normally when I get to come home I love skateboarding and dirt biking.
Have you got any handy tips when it comes to concrete?
Just lay it and make it smooth!
I think I’ve run out of questions now, cheers for doing the interview. Have you got anything else you’d like to add?
Help Dreamland get back to England! We love it there. We have only built one park there in Saffron Walden and we really want to go back!
Photos courtesy of Elias Parise