Hermiston skate park design

A screenshot from a video shown at Hermiston’s skate park meeting shows a part of the conceptual design that California Skateparks presented.

When skateboarding debuts as an Olympic sport in Tokyo in 2020, the U.S. team will have trained at a facility designed by the same company designing Hermiston’s skate park.

California Skateparks, one of the world’s top skate park design companies, recently built the California Training Facility, an indoor training facility in Vista, California, that will serve as the training ground for the U.S. Olympic team, as well as other top professional skaters and foreign Olympic teams.

Last week, consultants from California Skateparks visited Hermiston for a workshop to discuss plans for a skate park the city plans to build across First Street from Hermiston’s police and fire station.

“We had about 30 interested people show up,” parks and recreation director Larry Fetter said. “Most of them were skaters of some sort.”

Participants watched a video exploring a conceptual model by DugOut Design Studio of Beaverton, a subcontractor for California Skateparks, of what Hermiston’s skate park could look like, using some of the most popular elements of skate parks worldwide. Afterward, they placed colored dots on a conceptual drawing to show what they liked best, and used their phones to take an online survey about the park. Fetter said the company will take about six weeks to shape the feedback into a new design, which they will bring back for a second meeting before finalizing.

Elements the skaters liked best are filled with skateboarding jargon — top picks include a hubba, bank to ledge, pump track, snakerun, mini ramp bowl and brick banks. Fetter said some sections of the park can be dual-purpose, such as a “skateable” basketball court, a parkour obstacle course, and stairs/railings/benches that have a functional purpose as well as a skating one. Parts of the park will also be sheltered, and lighting will allow skaters to use the facility after dark.

“We got a lot of feedback, and really strong responses,” Fetter said, noting most attendees rated the overall design presented with a 4 or 5 out of 5.

The property where the park will be built encompasses about 1.5 acres across First Street from Hermiston Police Department and Umatilla County Fire District. The city owns about half an acre outright and controls the lease with Union Pacific Railroad for the rest.

Fetter said it’s the perfect location for a skate park. The police can help keep an eye on it, there aren’t any residential neighbors around to complain about late-night skating, and it is situated just a block from the high school. A fence will go up along the railroad to discourage anyone crossing into the park from that side, and Fetter said landscaping and other design elements will help the park blend in aesthetically with the Maxwell Pavilion next door.

The timing of the park will depend somewhat on funding. Fetter said he is applying for several grants soon, and the city plans to seek sponsorships and other fundraising efforts as well. He said the soonest it would be built is this summer, but it could take a little longer than that to get funding.

“This is an expensive facility — it could easily be half a million dollars,” he said.

The city is still soliciting feedback on the park. For more information or to share ideas, call the parks and recreation department at 541-667-5018.

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