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COURTESY: STRONGER SKATEPARK - Allison Waters has raised $100,000 in private investments, so far, for her project, to build a new indoor skate park in Portland. She now needs to secure a lease and crowdfund $25,000 more to make Stronger Skatepark a reality.Allison Waters is not your typical skateboarder.


She’s a 30-year-old mom, who loves to spend time at the skate parks in and around Portland with her husband and 5-year-old son (who, at this point, prefers to ride his bike, she says).

Having skateboarded for 18 years of her life, Water has had a dream, and she’s about to make it come true: She’s crowdfunding the final chunk of money to build an indoor skate park for riders of all ages in Portland.

Specifically, she founded an organization, Stronger Skatepark, that just launched a live Kickstarter campaign. It aims to raise $25,000 by July 12, for the space to open this fall.

Waters already has raised $100,000 through private donations over the past year, and hopes to have a total of $200,000 in hand, including her own investments, by the time the build-out begins in order to have high-quality space.

“Skateboarding appeals to a lot of kids that aren’t as interested in traditional sports,” says Waters, who coaches skateboarding for the local group Skate Like a Girl, which offers clinics, classes and camps.

“That was the case for me — I quit baseball, quit basketball. Through skateboarding, I found a way to express myself, build confidence by doing it on my own. Whatever I put into it is what I got out of it. ... The indoor skate park itself can provide a community for these kids that they might not otherwise have.”

This month, Waters started looking at industrial spaces in Northeast Portland, along Columbia Boulevard between Interstate 5 and Parkrose, where large, industrial spaces are more likely to be plentiful and affordable.

She hatched the idea for an indoor skate park about a year ago, after visiting the All Together indoor skate park in Seattle. She moved to Portland from the Chicago area four years ago.

The All Together space in Seattle — with its wooden ramps, large enough for camps and clinics — is owned by the outdoor gear retailer Evo, which has a Southeast Portland location that Waters wishes was large enough to host a skate park as well.

“Right now we don’t have the space, but we’re trying to get into a symbiotic relationship between Stronger Skatepark and us and foster a community approach to that,” says Spencer Deuel, a skate rep at Evo Portland.

Deuel, 26, grew up skateboarding in Portland, and says there’s a huge need for an indoor space, due to the rain. “For the most part there’s three good months of the year to get a good skate session,” he says.

This week for national Go Skateboarding Day, June 21, his shop held a fundraiser for Stronger Skatepark, and they’ll continue to support the campaign.

Waters is counting on continued support from the tight skateboarding community and other fans, and doesn’t have any plans to ask for public funds.

“The city has made it clear they’re not putting money into skate parks at this time,” she says. “But they’re open to them being built if the neighbors pursue it themselves. Doing it privately will get it done better, and faster.”

Currently, Portland has a few public and private skate parks, but nothing like the one she wants to build.

Commonwealth Skateboarding, in inner Southeast Portland, is a 4,500-square-foot concrete space open since 2011 that offers — in skateboard lingo — a double pocket bowl, one with pool coping, one with steel coping, as well as a mini ramp, bank and small-street section with a mix of rails, boxes and pole jams.

Nike and Adidas own private skateboarding spaces for their sponsored riders, and a spot called D-Block Indoor Skatepark in Clackamas offers a large wooden build-out.

But Waters is looking to create a more family-friendly environment for skateboarding, similar to what the Lumberyard built with its mountain bike park.

Stronger Skatepark is slated to include 10,000 square feet of space with wooden banked ramps of all sizes; street-inspired ledges, rails and hips; transitioned quarter pipes; a mini ramp or a bowl, and more.

Waters says the space would welcome everyone, with open sessions during the day, weekend mornings for kids, and evenings to targeted groups like girls, women and older riders.

Portland has a deep connection to skateboarding, Waters says, and with the popularity of X Game-type events and other showcases of skateboarding in the mainstream, she only expects it to grow.

“Everyone (in the skate community) just wants to see everyone around them do better at what they’re doing,” she says. “This camaraderie just happens. It’s hard to explain until they experience it.”

For more on the Stronger Skatepark campaign, visit

www.strongerskatepark.com.

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