EUGENE, Ore. — A $2.5 million project to build the nation’s largest covered skate park is well underway. Since groundbreaking at the beginning of August, the skate park under the Washington-Jefferson Bridge looks drastically different.
Crews have cut down 40 trees that will be replaced when the project is complete, and they’re in the process of adding drain lines under the skate park. The site’s old restroom has also been cleared, which was reportedly plagued with illegal activity. The new restroom will be built closer to Jefferson Street, where there is more lighting and visibility. The goal is to transform what many residents feel is an unsafe park into a more family-friendly area.
“By activating this space, we’re going to be bringing more people here. I think that tends to reduce those kinds of undesireable activities that tend to happen when there’s not that many people around,” says landscape architect Emily Proudfoot.
An urban plaza and vendor pads for food carts are also part of the plans. It’s taken 10 years of fundraising to raise the $2.5 million, but the city says it’s an investment not only in the skate park but also in transforming Washington-Jefferson Park, which many residents feel has been unsafe.
Proudfoot says the location also ties up-and-coming areas together. “This is the rejuvination of Whiteaker. All the businesses that are starting to happen in the Whiteaker area, along with the rejuvination of downtown Eugene..between those two is going to be this really great urban park in this great urban setting,” says Proudfoot.
The skate park will be called WJ Skate Park, but the naming rights can be purchased for $250,000.