PENDLETON - When Rob Harris grew up in Pendleton, he never once was in the paper. Now that he's the lead singer for the Portland-based Christian-oriented rock band, OverKast, he was excited the EO was doing a story.

"I've never been in the EO," he said. "This is exciting."

Harris began appearing in Kiwanis Kapers at age 7, and held a number of jobs in Pendleton. He lived on the south hill until he decided his life was ready for a change.

"I felt like I couldn't go where I needed to go while I was living here," he said. In the beginning, the idea of moving to Portland scared him after 25 years in Pendleton. Now, however, he's right at home.

His band, OverKast, has performed in varied venues from churches to festivals. He said the band is firm in its faith, but doesn't try to convert the masses.

"We don't go out sticking our fingers in people's faces and telling them how they should belong," he said. "We're not pushy."

He calls the band's sound modern, comparing it to Creed and Nickelback. Why he's bringing that sound to Pendleton is simple, he said.

"To help kids and for a tribute to my mother, Joanna Harris," he said.

Harris heard about the Pendleton skate park from friends still remaining in Pendleton and decided he could do his part with a benefit concert. His band members are just beginning to know Pendleton.

"They've driven through there, but that's it," he said of his hometown. Working with the Parks and Recreation Department to stage the concert has introduced them to the area's hospitality.

"They were surprised," Harris aid. "They said, 'The city of Pendleton is treating us better than we've ever been treated.'"

Deb Whittaker of Parks and Rec said she's excited about the support the skate park has received, including Harris' offer to do the concert.

"The Pendleton Skatepark Committee has now raised over $200,000 toward the project," she said. "Recent gifts from Pendleton Foundation, Wildhorse Foundation, Tony Hawk Foundation and Altrusa have helped keep the momentum going and other grant requests are still pending."

Whittaker said the committee hopes ground breaking will be later this year.

Once the park is built, don't count on Harris to come try it. Skate boarding isn't something close to his heart.

"I tried it once, but I got hurt, so that was it for me," he said. "I admire them for working hard at it. I fall down once and I'm done."

OverKast will play at 7 p.m., July 14 at the Vert Auditorium, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave. Tickets are $10.

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