Washington-Jefferson Park: 'It's becoming the people's park again'

EUGENE, Ore. -- With three weeks left until the grand opening of the Willamette-Jefferson Skate Park and urban plaza, volunteers pitched in to help the City of Eugene put the final touches on the park.

"It's a big skate park. It's also a really big urban plaza and city park. City parks need to look nice," said Jeremy Conant, the marketing director for the nearby Tactics boardshop.

The nation's largest covered outdoor skate park opened in the beginning of April. Conant and other volunteers spent Saturday planting ferns and working on other projects in the surrounding space, set to open on June 21.

"The most exciting thing we're seeing is the number of young kids coming in getting their first board," said Conant.

Eugene Rotary Club member Jerry Harris said the influx of skaters, bikers, and rollerbladers has given the Washington-Jefferson park new life.

"The way it ended up being used and disused by the public, turned it into something that was scary for parents and families with you kids to come down to," said Harris, who has helped plan the skate park for decades. "I think it is becoming the people's park again."

Conant said the next step for the city should be to start skate programs and host competitions.

"A lot of skate park here, there's a lot of skate spots here. And there's a lot of kids into skating. It's definitely blowing up," he said.