It was all smiles…with a few bumps and bruises…down at the brand new Warm Springs skate park on Wednesday.
The opening ceremony was the result of years of efforts from the community, and a few supporting organizations.
“It’s incredible to think that a year and a half ago, this was a concrete pad with a bunch of wooden ramps,” said Benjamin Bashein, the Executive Director of the Skatepark Project.
A crowd of 500 came out to Warm Springs to see the transformation from the former wooden park to the state-of-the-art, concrete facility with new jumps and trick areas.
“It feels good knowing there’s a lot of people putting their blood, sweat, and tears into this,” said skater Francisco Pedraza.
“It was all wooden and it was really hard to skate,” skater Daquan Cassaway said. “It feels really good to have a new park now, way different from the old one.”
The park is the more than $200,000 result of fundraising efforts by The Skatepark Project run by famous skater Tony Hawk, and Tactics Skate Shop.
The Skatepark Project has helped fund more than 600 skate parks across all 50 states, but the funding is normally only partial. This time, they helped fund the whole thing.
Hawk’s brother and co-chair of The Skatepark Project, Steve Hawk, rarely makes an appearance at the park openings, but he made a special visit for Wednesday’s celebration.
“Our big hopes of this is that it actually isn’t just a fun thing for kids to do, but that it will end up sort of uniting the community in a fashion. Because as you’ve seen here today, there’s a certain pride in that. They all came together to get it built. So now there’s a sense of local ownership over it,” Hawk said.
He believes the skate park will become one of the ‘most used’ recreational facilities in the community.
“On top of that, my brother and everyone involved in the skate park really strongly believes that skate parks in general, skateboarding in general, is just a great activity for a young person to get into because it’s active, it’s healthy and that regard,” Hawk said. “But it also requires a certain mindset, too, of perseverance and grit and a willingness to hurt yourself a little bit and get back up and try again. Clearly my brother is a living example of that.”
Coletta Macy has pushed for the skatepark from the start, and the result has been greater than she dreamed.
“There’s a lot of people that are from off the reservation that have come today, you know, they heard about it in Portland, they heard about it in Bend,” Macy said. “You know, all of central Oregon heard about it. So it’s really cool that they came down here to to christen the spot.”
It’s a spot the community hopes will keep skaters rocking and rolling for years to come.
The skate park will gain additional space with more trick sections in the coming year, and the remains of the old skate park will be used to make a new one up in Simnasho.
Other organizations who supported the project include Ginew, Dehen, The Ford Family Foundation, The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, Roundhouse Foundation, PTM Foundation, Visit Central Oregon, Jefferson County Commissioners and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.