In just a short time, Warm Springs community members will be able to rock and roll in a new skate park they hope will bring the community together.
Sounds of power tools currently fill the air at Elmer-Quinn Memorial Park as construction crews put the final touches on the facility.
The previous skate park was built in 2004. In recent years, the pliable boards wore out, and the beginner-level features left more experienced skaters frustrated.
“They were going to Madras to use their skate park up there,” said Michael Collins, the Director of Managed Care for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. “And that’s fine, if they have the transportation to get there. Highway 26 is a busy highway, especially during the summer, on the weekends when you have traffic from Bend to Portland. Some of those kids, because they’re such avid skaters, they’d start walking the 14 miles to skate. So there are safety issues there just for the love of skating.”
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Pretty soon, that trip won’t be necessary thanks to sponsorships from the Skatepark Project, Tactics, Jefferson County, and more, as well as donations from the community.
They’re just $8,000 away from reaching their $140,000 goal for the project.
Below is a video taken by YouTuber PhaseSkater, as he tested out the old skate park.
“It was probably in February of 2021, and I was approached by Scott Koerner from Tactics, and also from Joey Martin from Collective Concrete,” Collins said. “Tactics had a local skater on their team, so they went to that local skater who’s from Madras, Oregon. And he says, you know, Madras has a really nice skate park already. You know who would really benefit is Warm Springs.”
Collective Concrete has led the construction team of mostly volunteers.
Foreman Tavita Scanlan was excited to work on the project, as he’s helped assemble skate parks before.
Construction began in October and Scanlan said the team has worked through all kinds of weather to get to this point.
“Mainly the ice and the snow and the freezing fog and the short days, since we started in late fall,” Scanlan said. “Getting crews and supplies over here, over the mountain has been a challenge.”
Upgrades to the new park will include a jersey barrier area, bank to curb, and manual pad.
Don’t know what those phrases mean? Maybe the rendering below will help.
The tribe is looking to extend the skate park to be even larger, if they can secure the funding to do so.
Warm Springs community member and artist Coletta Macy has pushed for the new park from the beginning.
“My son and my nephews and their friends, they’re all really close. And they were asking like, man, wish we could get a new skate park, you know, it’s all busted up down there. It’s not safe,” she said.
She kept knocking on doors until she managed to get the Warm Springs Community Action Team involved, which now acts as the fiscal sponsor for the project, taking care of the grant money received.
She also covered the gang tagging on the old skate park with art of her own.
“I was asking who is in charge that can cover up the gang tagging. And so since nobody would give me an answer and I kept getting shuffled around to different departments, I was like, you know what? I’m going to do it and apologize later. And so I did. And nobody said no,” Macy said.
Her art was a skill she also used to beautify the nearby bathrooms in the park with the help of some local students.
She’ll be leading another group of students to christen the new skate park with designs.
“The K-8 academy down here, each grade is going to become a come up with ideas that they want painted on the park and I’m going to bring them to life on the park, and hopefully have some of the kids come down and check it out,” Macy said.
She’s grateful for the new skate park not only because of the upgrades, but because of the ability to have them in her own hometown.
“It’s really hard to start to see our kids, you know, that they want to go to all these other parks, but they don’t feel welcome,” Macy said. “So we want to have a park that helps and welcomes in others, so that way they’ll be welcomed on the outside.”
“Warm Springs is a very tight community. Everybody here knows everybody,” Collins added. “Having something positive like this where the family can be interactive and and tighten that bond with your family and your community helps give balance to everybody.”
Materials from the old Warm Springs skate park will be used to construct a new park in Simnasho, the northern part of the reservation.
The grand opening for the new skate park will take place during spring break. An exact date and time has not yet been announced.
To help the community reach its financial goal for the park, visit https://warmspringsskatepark.funraise.org.