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Byline: Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

Tattooed skateboarder Tobiah Nelson, 26, sailed through the indoor air of Eugene's latest skatepark this week. After sticking a boardslide and a smith grind, he failed to land a switch front flip and found himself on the pavement.

"One of my big upsets about Oregon is just that you can't skate due to weather, but now I can," he said, during a break from the action.

"I believe there are a lot of people that run into that."

Dominic Ruscio, owner of the 8,000-square-foot skating facility known as Shelter, is banking on the hope that Eugene skateboarders are looking for a place to come in from the rain. He's also hoping to draw skateboarders in search of a nighttime venue funded by parents looking for, as one employee put it, "cheap day care."

And, Ruscio admits, there's one more reason.

"I made this place just as much for me as everyone else," he says. "We need a place to skate in the rain."

Ruscio inherited the project from a friend who started building the park about a year ago and eventually ran out of steam.

And money.

With quarter-pipes on each wall, the warehouse space boasts a mini 24-foot-wide half-pipe, a 10-foot-high roll in, a hand rail, a "fun box" and a "hubba ledge." There also is a lounge where skateboarders can screen videos, play video games and dine on frozen burritos.

"It's a fun, safe place where kids don't have to worry about people drinking and smoking like at the outdoor park," manager Chad Patterson says.

Ruscio had hoped to open Shelter in December but the permitting process took longer than expected. Instead, he threw open the doors in early May and the park was christened by a host of professional and semiprofessional skateboarders including Stefan Janoski, Raymond Molinar, Tim O'Conner and Eugene's own Silas Baxter Neal. Later this month, the park will offer free day passes to celebrate International Go Skateboarding Day.

Matt Patton, co-owner of Tactics Boardshop, says an indoor skateboarding facility is long overdue for the area.

"I think it's a real positive step," he said, adding that their biggest challenge will be convincing people to pay to skate in the summer.

Shelter isn't the first indoor facility to open in Eugene-Springfield. Crazy 8's, a temporary park at the Lane County Events Center, operated briefly before going out of business. The Edge, an indoor park on Shelley Street in Springfield, continues to welcome skateboarders, in-line skaters and bike riders.

Patterson says what makes Shelter unique is that it's for skateboarders only. The park charges $10 a day or $10 for three hours in the winter and requires a signed two-page liability waiver from everyone who enters the park. There are discount cards and annual passes for sale and women skate for free.

"That way, they can pay for their boyfriends' broken bones," quipped Patterson.


Where: 3904 W. First Ave.

Info: (541) 485-7991

Also: On June 21, the park will offer free day passes to celebrate International Go Skateboarding Day. On Oct. 6, the park will host the final competitive skateboarding event of the summer series.


Alex Dinwiddie skates at the Shelter skatepark in Eugene. Open since early May, the 8,000-square-foot indoor skating facility, for skateboarders only, houses a mini 24-foot-wide half-pipe, a 10-foot-high roll in, a handrail and a "fun box." Discount cards and annual passes are available. R e c r e a t i o n
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Title Annotation:Recreation; A new indoor skatepark has what year-round skateboarders front flip for - shelter from Oregon rains
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 9, 2005
Previous Article:BUSINESS BEAT.
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