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District eyes new rollerhockey rink site

The roller hockey youth league sponsored in recent years by the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District will not compete this year due to a decline in participation, and the district will take advantage of the lull to explore a new site for the rink currently located at Riverfront Park.

Cracks in the rink surface that were sealed prior to last year’s league opening have re-opened and the rink needs to be completely resealed to be used for tournament play, Executive Director Scott Green explained, at a cost of around $2,000. The rink is sometimes flooded in spring, and the ground underneath becomes unstable. “We need to move it to a more stable location,” Green told the district board at their May 15 monthly meeting.

Board vice chairman Stacey Romney noted that Hood River teams left the league several years ago because of cracks in the rink surface. “It’s not good enough for league play, but it’s okay for pickup games,” she noted, provided the wooden walls surrounding the rink were safe.

Green recommended canceling league play this year, relocating the rink to the site of the old skatepark, and starting again. The old skatepark is currently a large paved area at Thompson Park, behind Safeway. The surface could be enlarged and sealed and new walls built, Green noted. As a team sport, use would be supervised and the rink would not attract the kinds of criminal mischief and other problems the skate park had before it was removed. In addition to providing a more stable surface, easier to maintain, the new rink would be usable throughout the year, Green noted, whereas the one in Riverfront Park was open only in summer. The site is also more central to the district.

The district may also be able to partner with the Gorge Roller Girls, who could use the space as practice area and outdoor arena. The district also has a dedicated roller hockey fund of over $3,000 available, Green noted.

The board agreed, and directed Green to cancel the league this year, confirm the current rink remains safe to use for pickup games and look into moving the rink to the site of the old skatepark.

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