Skateboarders from all over Oregon — even from as far away as Milwaukee, Wisc. — turned out in droves Saturday, April 21, to help Hood River Parks and Recreation and the local Rotary chapter officially open the new skate course at 20th and Wasco streets.
Although the upgraded course has been in use for a few weeks, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held Saturday to coincide with Blossom Fest and Mt. Hood Meadows’ Vegetate Ski and Snowboard Festival, which will be held today through Sunday.
“We were very happy with the turnout,” said District Director Lori Stirn. “We appreciate all the help from our sponsors and the support within the community.”
Heading up the ribbon-cutting committee was Hood River mayor Paul Cummings, Rotary President Paul Thompson, and Parks District chair Peggy Bogard. The ceremony was followed by a skate competition in the afternoon.
Also contributing to the event’s success were sponsors such as Rosauers, Shred Threads, Da Kine, Obsidian Snow and Skate, Doug’s Sports, McDonald’s, Taco Del Mar, Coca-Cola, Holsteins, Andrew’s Pizza, Heelside, Savier and Frolik.
Stirn said most of these sponsors have been behind the skatepark project since the inception of the Skatepark Revival Committee in fall 2001.
The committee’s goal over the past year-and-a-half has been to upgrade the existing skatepark facility, introduced in 1996, to be on par with some of the state’s best facilities in Redmond, Astoria and Portland — home of the original Burnside Skatepark.
Hood River Parks and Recreation was awarded funds in late 2001 to proceed with the project, and contracted Dreamland Skateparks in February to begin phase one of the four phase project.
Saturday’s kick-off not only showed that the committee is heading in a positive direction, it also signaled the beginning of a new era of skateboarding in Hood River.
“We’re still in the beginning stages, but it’s nice to see all of our hard work come together like this,” said volunteer coordinator Julie Tucker.
Tucker and the committee hope to begin construction of a new mini bowl later this year. Fundraising efforts will continue through the spring and summer.