My experience this time around was different in pleasant ways yet familiar on all of the best ways possible. The skate scene (and the locals in general) are very open and accepting. They’re not yet jaded by implants like those to their north in Portland. And they’re not such a small town that outsiders are odd or threatening. I hate to use the adjective, “chill,” but it simply fits. The people are unassuming and easy-going, and the layout of the city reflects a place of progress while still showing a strong element of familiarity.
My objective this time around was different from the first. I was there to execute a Collegiate Skate Tour contest at WJ Skatepark, on May 21st, "College on Crete!” I’d said it so many times during promotion that it seems to be drilled into my brain still. It was the first northwest US event for the Tour, and I was excited to make it happen. Excited yet nervous, I knew it would all work out and that we’d put on a great event. With local partners like the County Sports Commission and Tactics, it’s hard to go wrong.
When we first arrived, I met up with a friend who, coincidentally enough, won the first ever Collegiate Skate Tour contest in Kentucky circa 2012. He’s from Michigan, where I was visiting Chris, the homies, and the OU crew on my way out to CA. And he now lives in Eugene, OR. Random. Shout out to you, Jesse! First thing’s first, man! We’re in lush Oregon, so we immediately walk to a taproom and enjoy wonderful local beer while catching up. I’m in Eugene with my girlfriend, so the three of us are chilling. But then, I have to make a meeting with Tactics for the event on Saturday, so I head out. Making a longer story shorter, the meeting went well, I got some work done on the laptop and headed out to meet up with the buds again. More beer, a little skating, and dinner. Then...
Waking up in Eugene was nice - we actually had some great weather! So it was about 68 and sunny. We got out to go do some errands for the contest after skating the skatepark, and I visited the shop to get new bearings and talk with the locals. Chloe’s knee was wrecked - she’s been learning how to skate - so she couldn’t join in skating unfortunately - but WJ was super fun and we got to skate the mini in the back at Tactics for a little while. At the end of Friday, since all of the packages for the contest had arrived, we put together prize packages for the next days’ contest while drinking… yes, again, beer.
That night, we found a cool barcade, played some pinball, and danced the night away. But not for too long! College On 'Crete was starting just the next morning. And the morning came up quickly. I woke up to an alarm clock that I usually snooze a few times. But there I was with Chloe, who’s used to farm life and its 6:00am rise & shine. So up we went. Preparation for the event was mostly complete, so the day of was pretty mellow. We set up for the event, went through it as planned, and everyone had a great time! We added a non-student division at the last minute so that all the homies could partake, but otherwise everything was exactly as planned.
The birthday, a Sunday, was the definition of mellow. I was so excited to be offline and solo (just me and my girlfriend), just hanging out doing whatever came to mind. Waffles for brunch and a really nice dinner set to live bluegrass music. Those were the main highlights of a relaxing day. Also, I snagged a few pretty sweet gifts. :) Thanks Chloe!
Later in the day, we met up with Jesse again and hung out for a while. He was nice enough to offer up his living room floor for us to stay. We ended up going out to Bingo a the local hippie bar/music venue, which happened to be the same place we went for my birthday dinner. The hosts of Bingo at Sam Bond’s Garage, in true Eugene fashion, were spinning out on microdoses and saying funny shit accordingly. Ended up being yet another fun night. And with that, we were ready to trip back north to Portland the next day so that I could catch my plane back to LA.
It was bittersweet heading back “home” to Los Angeles after such a fulfilling experience in Oregon (mostly in Eugene). Life’s very different in a town than in a large city like LA, but I guess each has their perks. I’d been finding for a burrito, that’s for sure. LA has a lot to offer, but Eugene (and Oregon in general) also has so much greatness.
I will miss the lush growth of the state of Oregon, but I will be back soon enough! Three weeks till Portland again...
- 7Ply Epic