EUGENE, Ore. — The Washington-Jefferson skate park was available to riders in early April but Saturday was the official grand opening.
On Saturday afternoon, everyone who helped make the park possible invited the whole community to celebrate the decade-long project.
It’s not everyday you find someone this age, this excited about a skate park.
“I’m thirty. Dirty thirty,” said Ashley Marion, a Eugene resident. “It’s a dream come true. It’s great.”
That’s because he heard the rumors growing up of one day having a skate park under the Washington-Jefferson bridge.
“I swear I must have been like 14 or 15 years old and then it slowly manifested into more of a reality ever since. Man, seeing it here now is mind blowing,” said Marion.
Marion was at the grand opening of the Washington-Jefferson skate park Saturday morning, along with city officials, community members, and other skaters to celebrate what they consider to be one of Eugene’s newest and biggest attractions.
“It’s going to bring a lot of attention too, you know. Eugene’s on the map for skateboarding now with this park,” said Caleb Grant, a Eugene resident.
“The skate park itself really put us on the maps, so guys who skate, people who skate, are going to come here from all over the country and they have been,” said Carrie Peterson with the City of Eugene.
Peterson with the city of Eugene is right because the skate park lured Tom Snyder out of Pennsylvania straight to Eugene.
“I moved here because of the skate park,” said Snyder. “I was driving around this winter trying to decide where I wanted to farm this season and this park opened up. As soon as I had been here for more than two weeks, I decided to look for a job. Now here I am.”
Now Eugene is home to the largest lighted, covered, public skate park in the country, which skaters believe is great for the growing sport.
“With this park, I feel like everyone is just going to progress so much more with skateboarding,” said Grant.
For Marion, it made an excited 30 year old’s childhood dreams come true.
“I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the skateboarding community,” said Marion.
Skaters like Marion and Grant say they believe the skate park is going to benefit surrounding businesses and also younger skateboarders because they now have a central hub to connect with skaters from all over.