A legend – this is how the residents of Gresham, Oregon would describe the Gresham Skateworld. Especially for anyone who skates, this place was a big part of their lives. From their childhood years until they had their families, it has been their safe haven. It is a place where fond memories have been built and strong friendships have started. Sadly, the venue closed in 2018, representing the end of an era. After almost half a century of being in operation, Gresham Skateworld has halted its operation.
The Start of an Icon
The Gresham Skateworld opened in 1974. The skating rink was located at 1220 NE Kelly Avenue and Burnside Street. It was built to be a venue where families and friends can gather while enjoying their love for skating. People were having wholesome fun, intimate conversations, and lasting memories. It was located near Gresham High School, which should give you an idea about who its regulars were!
During its years of operation, it has been more than a skating rink. The management was creative in thinking of ways to set itself apart. There are no direct competitors within the immediate vicinity, so the popularity of the skating rink was unrivaled. Despite this, they weren’t complacent. They delivered exceptional service and thought of ways to make their patrons happy. The venue has also been a popular choice for birthday parties and fundraising events.
The End of an Era
On October 28, 2018, after 44 years in operation, Gresham Skateworld had its last day of business. It was a sad day for people from Gresham and Portland who grew up skating there. Kids today will never know what it is like to have such a safe place where you can have fun.
Why Did it Close?
There was no formal reason given for the closure of the skating rink. However, based on a statement released by its general manager before it closed, the reason given was that a church is going to be built in the location of Gresham Skateworld. Following the death of the building’s owner in 2013, the building was under probate.
Before the closure, Rise Church acquired the lot where Gresham Skateworld stood. It was an off-market and private transaction, so nothing much was known about it. The only thing people were aware of was that there were plans to build a church for the congregation, and this is the spot where the skating rink stood, which is why it needed to be closed. According to hearsays, the church had no plan to demolish the structure. Instead, they intend to remodel it into a chapel.
Petition to Stop Closure
As expected, many of the people who grew up skating at Gresham Skateworld did not welcome the news of its closure. Many were in shock, and there has even been a petition to save it. On Change.org, Katelyn Convery has started a petition to ask Rise Church to halt its renovation plans and save the skating rink.
The petition states that generation of youths in Gresham and Portland grew up considering Gresham Skateworld as their safe haven, which is why they want it to be spared. It is an important part of community identity. It made the lives of the youths better by providing an avenue for indoor fun. The petition requested Rise Church to build its chapel somewhere else, and instead, sell the skating rink to someone who would improve it to serve the same purpose as it was built. The petition has gathered only a little more than 2,000 signatures and did not succeed.
Exploring the Alternatives
If you want to go skating in Gresham, the good news is that there are other places worth checking out. The experience may be a bit different than what Skateworld used to offer, but they are exceptional in their own rights, making them worth a visit if you love to have fun in the skating rink.
Note that these places are either an ice-skating rink or a venue for team games. It isn’t like Gresham that was built for roller skating. Gresham Skateworld was the first of its kind to open and last to close in Oregon, so it is a big loss.
Winter Hawks Skating Center
Open since 1965, the Winter Hawks Skating Center has been around before Gresham Skateworld. It is also an institution among skaters. What made it more popular is that it is the home of Portland Winter Hawks, a team playing in the Western Hockey League. From public skates to private lessons, this skating rink is the go-to place for many people. They have a skate school for those who would like to get started. For those who love hockey, this is also a great place worth checking out.
Location and Contact Details
Address: 9250 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton, Oregon 97005
Contact Number: 503-297-2521
Lloyd Center Ice Rink
If your idea of skating is doing it on the ice, then one of the best places worth checking out is the Lloyd Ice Rink. The strategic location (across Macy’s) is one of the rink’s best assets, making it accessible to its patrons. They offer group lessons, private hires, and birthday parties, among others. You will also find a limited selection of figure skating supplies.
Location and Contact Details
Address: 953 Lloyd Center, Portland, Oregon, 97232
Contact Number: 503-288-6073
Rose City Rollers
Home of World Champions – that is how Rose City Rollers positions itself. Its main goal is to become the home of the best roller derby teams and athletes in the country. So far, they are succeeding! However, unlike those that are mentioned above, this isn’t a place where anyone can skate. It is the home base of different derby teams, and only the players can use the facility. What you can do instead is to visit and watch live one of their thrilling games.
Location and Contact Details
Address: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, Oregon 97202
Contact Number: 503-784-1444
The reign of Gresham Skateworld as a reputable skating rink came to an end when it closed in 2018. For more than four decades, it has been the go-to place for people in the area if they want to skate. Like all good things, it has to end.