July 23, 2004
Serving Western Deschutes County
Sisters, Oregon










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The contents of the on-line edition of The Nugget represent a selection among the stories that appear in the weekly print edition.

Skaters seek a place to ride in peace
By Jim Cornelius, News Editor

Skaters are trying to get off the streets and sidewalks. photo by Jim Cornelius
Sisters business owners don't want them using their porches and railings for stunts. Pedestrians -- and local sheriff's deputies -- don't want them on the sidewalks.

In recent weeks, young Sisters skaterboarders have begun hunting for an alternative to riding on the streets and sidewalks where they are not welcome.

"We're really hoping to get a skate park here so that people don't yell at us on the sidewalks and store owners don't yell at us," said skater Alex Knotts.

Cody Mack says he has collected 65 signatures on a petition supporting their hopes.

Help may be coming from SOAR (Sisters Organization for Activities and Recreation).

SOAR has wanted to find a home for skateboarders for a decade. In fact, several years ago the organization built a wooden half-pipe that was sited on a street in the Sisters Industrial Park.

However, the location was not optimal and the wooden structure didn't hold up in winter weather. It warped and cracked and quickly became unusable.

But as SOAR has grown and available technology has improved, there is a good chance that SOAR will be able to create a skate park at the organization's activity center near Sisters High School.

SOAR director Tom Coffield has been researching steel and vinyl component systems -- ramps, half-pipes, rails -- that can be placed on pavement to create a skate park at a fraction of the cost of a permanent concrete structure.

"(Bend and Redmond) did those concrete bowls, but they're a huge cost," Coffield said. Such parks cost some $150,000 to $200,000 to construct.

The most expensive component Coffield has priced so far is a half-pipe that would cost about $36,000.

"I think that's a goal this community could reach," Coffield said.

Components could be added a piece at a time, with the skaters themselves setting the priorities.

Coffield said he is currently exploring the possibility of locating the equipment right next to the activity center and researching the insurance liability and security issues.

The SOAR director believes that a half-pipe at SOAR could bring out 50 kids during the summer months -- many of them kids that don't participate in other programs.

If so, it could be a benefit not just to skaters but to the merchants and shoppers who don't like dodging skateboards. And the skaters could find a place where they are cheered on instead of being yelled at.

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