WOJ Fights for the Hydra

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Today the Wheels of Justice take on Gotham Girls Roller Derby for the top honors in roller derby — the Hydra.

Don’t miss this historic event as WOJ displays their determination and skill while ending the recent domination of Gotham.

Come to the Hanger, log into into WFTDA.tv, or join the lucky members of RCR who spent their savings to go to Nashville!

500 strong, we are the Rose City Rollers and you are our All-Stars!

What do we want?

JUSTICE

When do we want it?

NOW

 

Here’s something to fill the time before the first whistle: We are Wheels of Justice

 

New Heathers Draft: Story Johnson

Lets meet another new draftee to the Heartless Heathers:
Name: Story
Photo by Regularman

Photo by Regularman

Derby Name (if you have one):
Haven’t decided yet, hoping for some help with that!
How did you first come to learn about derby?
My sister-in-law asked if my husband and I wanted to go to a bout.
What took you from fan to skater?
The moment I watched that bout. I remember sitting there and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the game. I was falling in love.
My heart was pounding the entire game.  I turned to my husband and said: “I want to do this!” and he said: “So do it”. And of course I was like: “Do you think I can do it?” and he said: “I think you can do anything”.
What were your first experiences on skates?
I skated a tiny bit as a kid. But more recently, I took the Derby 101 class at Oaks Park. Ryan {my husband} went with me in support.
And oh man, it was hilarious. I was a baby deer. I left thinking how could I possible do this?! What have I gotten myself into?
Photo by Regularman

Photo by Regularman

Who helped you or influenced you the most during the early days? Once I signed up for the Wreckers program the first step is always Derby 101. And my first coach was Wrathmatica. I remember the moment I met her and I will never for the rest of my life forget her. She was kind and patient. She expected us to apply what we were learning and to push ourselves. That was something I was looking for. Feliz Brutality was another one of my coaches in 101, I admired {and still do} how freely she moved with her skates on. Roarshock Tess, and Winnie the Pow were two of my first Wreckers coaches. Their smiles, positive energy, and clear communication were so incredibly important to me. And Minstrel Psycho. My derby mama. She always believed in me, and never held back in telling me that.

When did you tryout for Fresh Meat?
It was December 19th 2013. It was the first Christmas I was celebrating and I knew if I made it it would be the BEST Christmas present!
What was your experience like on Fresh Meat?
It’s so hard to find the right words. I was told it would be this huge competition, no camaraderie, you’d be fighting for a spot on home teams, and it’s all about politics. I went into Fresh Meat with a sincere determination to fall in love with my FM team. I wanted to love these women and be loved by them. I wanted to make this the best experience of my life. And that’s exactly what happened. I let the negative thoughts of those people wash away, and I just skated and bonded with these women. And I love them all so much. They helped me be a better me.
Any advice you would give to skaters thinking of trying out for Fresh Meat? DO IT!!! Just go. Give it your all, and don’t let anyone shape your experience for you. You make it what you want it to be.
What was draft day like for you?
Before or after? HAHA! My husband was incredible at keeping me as calm as one can be in this situation. He helped me focus on the positives even if I wasn’t drafted. And then I met up with my girls for Sushi. Couldn’t really eat. But beer helped! Being with my meaties really helped the nerves. Until the phones started going off… I was the first one to receive the message and to the surprise of no one I balled like a baby.
What makes you most excited about the upcoming season?
Working as a team. I was raised in a very strict religious household, I was never allowed to play any sports or  be involved in extracurricular activities. So this has literally been a lifelong dream come true.
Who on your new team are you most excited to skate with?
Right, because I am going to pick one!! Each and every one of them has something to teach me, I just hope I have what they are looking for in a teammate, and something I can give them in return.
Photo by Regularman

Photo by Regularman

Anything else that you would like to say.
 I want to thank everyone who believed in me. Especially my husband. There were so many times that I wanted to stay home because I was tired, or because I missed spending time with him. And he knew the whole time that this was a dream of mine, and didn’t ever want to stand in the way of that. Without him I wouldn’t have made a home team. And that is something I am forever grateful for.

New Heathers Draft: Sui Jennaris

It’s time to get to know another member of the latest draft class.
Let me introduce Sui Jennaris.
Sui Jennaris, photo by Capn Harass

Sui Jennaris, photo by Cap’n Harass

How did you choose that name?

Oh Lord, it was a f**king epic struggle. I had lists upon lists.  I ended up going with that one because it ultimately felt the most right.

How did you first come to learn about derby?

When I first moved to Portland, I didn’t know a soul other than my roommates: Roller Eclipse and her girlfriend. They invited me to one of her bouts, which was my first introduction to derby.

What took you from fan to skater?

So when I went to that first bout of Eclipse’s, I was floored.  It was a dramatic come-from-behind victory from GNR.  I was over the moon.  Her girlfriend looked at me, pointed at the Wreckers slide on the screen, and said, “You know, they have a recreational league.”  And it was all downhill from there.

What were your first experiences on skates?

I went to an open skate at Oaks.  My tummy hurt from clenching it. “Woah woah woah!” was my main expression.

Who helped you or influenced you the most during the early days?

Tyger Bomb was a constant, no-BS voice of reason and support.  Roarshock Tess showed me how short, bespectacled redheads are naturally the awesomest at derby.  I watched Untamed Shrew a LOT, because she came from the same background as I did — figure skating.  Every time I watch her skate, I learn something new.  Mistress of the Knife was very helpful early on, and her technical skill is still an inspiration.  And Nacho Lucky Day was one I watched, and still watch, because she’s a super role model for quiet, calm brilliance on the track, not to mention how she teaches a master-class in plowing each time she stops.  Seriously.  Go watch Nacho plow.  I’ll wait.  …SEE WHAT I MEAN?!
When did you tryout for Fresh Meat?   April 5.

 

What was your experience like on Fresh Meat?   Equal parts wicked hard and super fun.

Sui Jennaris, photo by Masonite Burn

Sui Jennaris, photo by Masonite Burn

 

Any advice you would give to skaters thinking of trying out for Fresh Meat?

Go to Wreckers. Ask for the 50LK.  Build your endurance and skate, skate, skate.  Go to Open Scrimmages and jam, even though every single second will be hell on Earth.  Planks and squats are your friends — if you say that often enough, you’ll start to believe the lie.
But more important than any of that, in fact the most important thing, is GO TO ALL THE BOUTS.  Go to every single one that you can.  Watch and learn — do whatever you need to do to actually understand what’s going on.  Yes, you can watch footage, and that’s fine.   Mike Chexx is a f***ing amazing announcer (it’s a GD shame that he’s retiring), and you can learn a ton from his commentary.  But actually going to the bouts allows you to be in the crowd and hear, um, other opinions.  Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t, but decide in either case — think critically about what you’re watching.  Or don’t do that, and do something else — but learn to comprehend and appreciate what’s going on.  LEARN DERBY.

What was draft day like for you?

Nerve-wracking.  I had a chem exam that same Friday, and I’d needed to study/prepare for it all week.  Because I had to focus on that other thing, I couldn’t freak out about the draft as much as I probably would’ve otherwise.  A blessing in disguise, really.  But seriously, my levels of denial and avoidance were so profound as to be borderline magical thinking.  When the chem exam was done (ugh, 83), I didn’t have an excuse anymore.  I was so nervous.  I was basically useless for the rest of the day.  We all went out to sushi together and tried to eat and have fun while we all compulsively clock-watched and checked our phones.  Then the texts started to come in.  When I got mine…is there a word for relief/terror/excitement?

What makes you most excited about the upcoming season?

I’m ready for the next challenge, the next level of play and new obstacles.  Higher expectations.  I’m ready, and I’m determined to skate better than I ever have before.  I’m super honored and privileged to be joining the Heathers on the track this season, and I’m excited to build trust and team identity with my new sisters.
…lol jk I’m just in it for the glitter helmet.

Who on your new team are you most excited to skate with?

I’m super mega ultra excited to skate with all my new Blue teammates, to build relationships and trust with them.  I can’t wait to absorb what they have to teach me.  I’m trying to be apolitical and not name names, but Knife’s an amazing skater and a fantastic coach, and I’m honored to have her instruction.

Anything else that you would like to say.

I would like to say HAAAIIIIII ALLLLTHHHHHEEEEAAAAA!!!! to the Heathers’ biggest fan.  *waves*  Also, this.

New GNR Draft: Hound

It’s time to get to know another member of the latest draft class.

Let me introduce the Hound of BadAsskervilles. Like her new GNR teammates, you can just call her Hound.

Photo by Regularman
Photo by Regularman

How did you choose that name?
I love reading and I really love Victorian detective novels. When I started thinking about derby names, I immediately started thinking about Sherlock Holmes.

How did you first come to learn about derby?
Living in Portland, it’s just kind of around. I went to a few bouts with friends and was always so impressed and fascinated by it.

What took you from fan to skater?
A friend of mine really wanted to join Wreckers. I thought it sounded fun, so I bought some gear and went to orientation. She never ended up going, but I figured it would be a fun thing to try out. I never imagined how much it would take over my life!

What were your first experiences on skates?
Terrifying! Having wheels on your feet is a whole different thing. I was afraid to lift my foot over the little foam bumper thing around the track. Once I got a little more stable it felt like I was flying. I was hooked!

Who helped you or influenced you the most during the early days?
I think all of the awesome people on Wreckers. I defy you to find a more supportive, awesome, and encouraging group of women. It is super intimidating being in Wreckers when you’re just starting out. They are so good! But they are quick to welcome you immediately start encouraging you and pushing you to be better.

Photo by Regularman
Photo by Regularman

What was your experience like on Fresh Meat?
Fresh Meat was a tough challenge for me. I have never done sports, so Fresh Meat was the first time I really had to deal with treating food as fuel and making sure I ate enough. It seems so simple, but it actually took me awhile to figure out I was tired all the time because I wasn’t eating right. It’s so important!
Mostly Fresh Meat was fun and challenging. It’s such an amazing group of people who show up to work hard and have fun. Everyone is so supportive of each other too, which was really nice.

Any advice you would give to skaters thinking of trying out for Fresh Meat?
DO IT!! That’s it. Just do it.

What makes you most excited about the upcoming season?
I know I will have a lot of work to do before I can expect to be on a roster, so for now I’m just really excited to get to know my team and start working to get as good as they are.

Charleston Bound: Wheels of Justice Roll to Playoffs

Portland, do you know what you have on your hands?

Not only are the Rose City Rollers a super fun non-profit organization, but they’re also home to one of the best roller derby teams in the world. The Wheels of Justice, Rose City’s All-Star team, are ranked #4 in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), and they’re headed to playoffs.

Before you stands a team. Photo by Skippy Steve.

How do Playoffs work?
There are four playoff tournaments, and teams are invited and seeded according to their WFTDA ranking. Stick with us here. Because the Wheels of Justice are ranked #4 overall, they’re a #1 seed going into this weekend tournament.  WOJ dukes it out, and if they’re one of the top three teams coming out of this tournament, they join the other winners at Championships in a month.

Does it matter if they win the playoff, or do they just need to be one of the top three teams?
Whoa whoa, let’s not put the cart before the pegacorn here, but it does help to win your playoff weekend. You get better seeding at Championships that way. *knock on wood*

Who’s the big competition at this playoff?
Victorian Roller Derby is a Australian juggernaut. WOJ beat them handily at home last year, but a year does make a difference. WOJ also beat the Philly Roller Girls earlier this spring, but this Philly team is known for peaking at tournament season and excelling under pressure.

The four and five seeds for this tournament have Championship experience, so don’t count anyone out.

OH NO WHAT HAPPENS IF WE LOSE?
Rose City gets a bye in the first round. If they lose their first game? Hello consolation bracket, goodbye Championships. If they lose their second game, they still get a chance to play for third place and a chance at Championships. Now calm down and check out this bracket, sports fan.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE WIN?
Celebrate! And get ready for a trip to Nashville!

Can I watch?
Sure, of course! You can purchase a pass on WFTDA.tv to watch the weekend’s games online, or come hang out with us at one of our super cool watch parties.

Watch party?! Tell me more!
Details are still TBD, but we’ll probably have a low-key BYO-snack-type watch party on the big screen at The Hangar. Games are early due to the three-hour time difference. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and fan forum, and we’ll let you know the details as they’re sussed out.

What else do I need to know?
Wear purple, and prepare to do a lot of cheering.

What do we want?
JUSTICE!
When do we want it?
NOW! 

Yinger, Mercy, and Mutch

Fun AND fearless. Photo by Skippy Steve.

 WRITTEN BY FRISKY SOUR

 

Welcome the Newest Draft Class

On Friday, September 26, the RCR community gathered at one of its newest sponsors — Buffalo Wild Wings — to find out which members of Fresh Meat were being welcomed onto home teams.  With the home team opener than usual this year, expectations were that this was going to an exciting draft.  And boy was it!

heathersSix draftees went to three different teams.

The High Rollers had no open spots available due to the recent return of Heidi Go Seek. Fortunately, that did not mean we would have to miss out on the magic of Bad Wolf in a cat unitard.

To the Heathers:
Allison Millak
Story Johnson
Jenna Routenberg, aka Sui Jennaris

To Guns N Rollers:
Anne Kim, aka Pain Goodall
Linsday Pont, aka Hound of BadAsskervilles

To the Betties:
Malorie Sneed, aka Phylla Bust-Her

So let’s meet the newest Bettie — Phylla Bust-Her.

How did you choose that name? As a political science major (and current law student), it just made sense.

How did you first come to learn about derby? I saw Whip It and just knew I had to give derby a try, as impossible as it seemed for me at the time. Little did I know I would still be going strong four years later!

PhyllaWhat took you from fan to skater? During my last year of high school I went to all of the Ft. Myers Derby Girls bouts (my hometown league) and got hooked even further. I figured that the only thing more fun than watching derby would be playing it! By the time I started college and was eligible to start skating with my former league, the Bradentucky Bombers, I knew I was ready.

What were your first experiences on skates? I had skated maybe a couple times on my mom’s ancient pair of quads, when I was very young. I distinctly remember the first time I put on my very own pair of R3s at age 18 and struggled to even stand up! I had to learn how to skate as an adult, and it was definitely not easy. I’m not ashamed to admit that a ref once told me that I was like Bambi on skates when I first started bouting! I’m still learning at every practice.

Who helped you or influenced you the most during the early days? I was completely amazed by so many of my future teammates on the Bradentucky Bombers. Well before I knew who Suzy Hotrod was, I was blown away by how fast Crash Test Barbie could skate (now also on the Ft. Myers team) and with how little effort Blaque Jac (now on Tampa) could deliver devastating hits. It took serious effort for me to even stay on my feet then, but I continue to admire what these ladies can do on the track.

When did you tryout for Fresh Meat? I transferred to Fresh Meat just a few days after moving to Portland this past July.

What was your experience like on Fresh Meat? It was definitely challenging! It was great to be coached by so many talented skaters, and scrimmaging with and against them was an awesome introduction to the level I’m striving to play at now. Although I’ve been playing derby for years, skating with a WFTDA league of this caliber is a completely different animal and I love the continual challenge it provides me.

Any advice you would give to skaters thinking of trying out for Fresh Meat? Do it!!! Be prepared to work hard and devote a lot of time to derby, but if you want it badly enough, it shall be yours. (Editor’s Note: Tryouts are this Friday!)

What was draft day like for you? The week leading up to it was so anxiety-ridden, but the day of I really just prepared myself mentally for rejection. I had zero expectations of getting drafted so soon after transferring, so it was nice to finally breathe that sigh of relief and acknowledge that my hard work had paid off. It was much more nerve-wracking waiting to hear which team I would be on!

What makes you most excited about the upcoming season? Just practicing with the Betties will be amazing! I can’t wait to see my team repeat their success from last season, and hopefully be a part of it. I have so much to improve on that getting rostered is a far-off dream, but the prospect of skating in my first WFTDA bout is too exciting for words.

Who on your new team are you most excited to skate with? Scylla Devourer. Not only do our names rhyme, but she gave me feedback on blocking at Derby Daze this summer, and it’s insane to think that she’s now my teammate! I’m going to learn a lot in my futile attempts to get past her.

Meet Mike Wade: WOJ Coach

Wheels of Justice is vigorously getting ready for their chance in the Division 1 WFTDA playoffs. Rose City Rollers Wheels of Justice are the number 1 seed for the bracket in Charleston West Virginia, taking place October 3-5.

Mike Wade has been charged with coaching the top talent or Rose City Rollers and preparing them for this annual event. Let’s spend a moment and get to know this new coach and see what has been taking place in his preparations.

wade2

Photo by Skippy Steve.

Can you give a brief synopsis of your skating experience?
I grew up playing hockey in Cleveland, Ohio, and can say most of my life has been on skates. The weather is rough back home, so for 8 months you are either a bowler or a skater.

I first started skating for the St. Louis Gatekeepers 2010 until I moved to Portland in June 2013. In that time we were ranked #1 twice and never fell below #4. Coming in 2nd place in the MRDA Championships in 2012 losing by 1 point in the final jam.

I currently skate for Portland’s Bridgetown Menace (Ranked #5).

What is your background with coaching WOJ?
I first got into Roller Derby in 2009 watching Burning River Roller Girls in Cleveland, Ohio. Later moving to St. Louis, Missouri, I started refereeing for Arch Rival Roller girls from 2010-2011 and 2013. I spent 2012 as a bench coach for one of their local teams the M-80’s, who won the championship that year. I also started playing for the St. Louis Gatekeepers men’s team from 2010-2013. I have been a student of the game since the first whistle of the first jam I saw.

What do you believe is the greatest strength of Wheels of Justice?
I think the greatest strength of WOJ is the fact that each and every player is playing for the name on the front of their jersey, not the name on the back. We have a unique team here. The mentality of each player is that every thing they do at practice and every achievement reached is for the betterment of the team. They push themselves to be the best skaters and teammates possible each and every practice. This team has never hit a plateau because they are always setting and reaching new goals.

Who are the most improved skaters on the team?
I would like to give a lot of credit to Tess Yinger. She has been an absolute delight to coach. She set a goal early in the season to work her way up from AOA to Wheels and she not only did this, but she was voted MVP for the bout against Rat City.

wade3

Photo by Regularman.

Who is the skater that surprised you most?
I would say Loren Mutch has surprised me the most, and still does. She really pushes the envelope every time she is on skates. Its kind of funny, I’ll go over and tell her she did an awesome job at something, and she gives me this look and sighs and says she can do it better. I’ll be honest, sometimes I think to myself “yeah right, not possible” and the very next lap around she somehow does it. You hear a lot of the Bonnie Thunders in the roller derby world, put money on this, the derby universe is all going to know Loren Mutch by the end of playoffs.

Do you have a game plan that you work from jam-to jam, or is it really per sequence of jams?
Our game plan is pretty consistent the whole game. Our blockers know our jammers, know what they like, what works for them and where they have some difficulties and we all work together to put everyone in the best situation. We work hard to understand all types of scenarios that might present themselves at any given time so we can quickly react. We go out to win every jam, so you can say we work jam to jam.

Do you spend time scouting other teams and skaters that you will face in playoffs?
This could honestly be considered a second full time job for everyone on this team. The more you know about a team and the tendencies of their players the better.

Are there any opponent skaters or teams that you expect to challenge WOJ?
I fully expect the road to winning the Hydra to be difficult. All the teams we will be matched up against have been putting in long hours, sacrificing time with friends and family and pushing themselves just as hard as we have, so we expect each and every team to be giving us their all. We expect to give everything we have too. You can’t just show up, you have to perform.

What do you contribute most to WOJ?
What I hope I have contributed is confidence in each and every player and I hope they know I believe in each and every one of them as we go into playoffs.

Wade1

Photo by Skippy Steve.

What has been the most rewarding part of coaching WOJ?
The most rewarding part of coaching WOJ, is simply that I get to be a part of something absolutely amazing. I get a front row seat to watch these amazing athletes surpass goals, triumph over challenges and take the track and leave the track as a team.

What has been the most challenging part of coaching WOJ?
I think the most challenging part of coaching WOJ is continuing to find new challenges and goals for the team. Sometimes I think we might need to spend an entire 2 hour practice on something, and they have it down in 20 minutes.

WRITTEN BY TYSON LEGGATE

Draft Spotlight: McGillycutty

First we met Jess in the Box. Then we met Sweet Jane. Now with another home team draft right around the corner, we are proud to introduce McGillycutty, who was drafted by the High Rollers last spring.

Rose City Rollers is fortunate to have an abundance of hardworking, homegrown skaters, including the aforementioned draftee McGillycutty! Roller derby is not easy. Not even a little bit. Most derby players, even our travel team heroes, did not show up knowing how to skate, block, juke, and jam.  Everyone started somewhere, and for many involved with the Rose City Rollers, their first time skating (or struggling to stay on their feet rather) was at Oaks Park in a Derby 101 class. After months, even years, of practicing and perhaps a zealous obsession with derby, they finally make Fresh Meat. After even more maniacal discipline and devotion to skating, they get drafted to a home team at long last.

Gillian Bayless Brimberry, aka McGillycutty, is a prime example of this ardent dedication, jumping from Derby 101 at Oaks Park to High Rollers in 2 years.  In addition to being a featured skater, Gilly is a mother of two, wife, and full-­time interior designer. In addition to her busy personal life and her awesome blocking skills on the track, she also has taken an active role in the league serving as Wreckers communications admin, RCR mascot, Fresh Meat co-­captain, and now tackles sponsorship for the High Rollers; no wonder they drafted her!  I asked Gilly to share with us some of her insight, experiences with RCR, and what it’s like being drafted to a home team.

Continue reading

August Gold Star Volunteer Award: Tyger Bomb

This month’s Gold Star Award for Excellence in Volunteering was awarded to the lovely Tyger Bomb. We were fortunate to learn exactly why she is so excellent.

Do you remember your first Rose City Rollers bout? Where and when?

It was sometime in 2007, at the Expo Center.  Shortly afterwards I became a yellow shirt so I could be part of RCR.

Did you ever want to be a skater?  Yes, immediately!

Merch sales, 2010

Merch sales, 2010

Why have you stayed involved with RCR?  I volunteer with RCR because I think it’s important to give back.  I have learned so much from skaters, coaches, officials, leadership, and other volunteers.  I could not have had the incredible experiences I’ve had playing this sport if not for the hard work of so many people who came before me who helped to create modern roller derby, and everyone who helps to keep our league running today.  I am so proud of the programs our league has developed, like Rent N Roll, to make derby more accessible to everyone.

What was your favorite volunteer experience? 

Ava Skatrix was my first derby crush.  During warmups for the first bout I attended, she gave somebody a leg whip and I just melted into a giant puddle of fangirl.  Fast forward to a few months later – I was yellow shirting at a bout and she rolled up to me and thanked me for volunteering.  It was like meeting a movie star.

Do you have a favorite skater and/or official or a great derby crush?

I think I could get myself in a lot of trouble if I start announcing favorite officials, so I’m just gonna say I appreciate ALL of our officials.  They volunteer countless hours to do a really hard job and sometimes their only thanks is eye-rolling or tantrums.  They are amazing.  My derby crush of the moment is Freight Train.

Painting numbers on Rent N Roll helmets, 2014. Photo by Marybeth Olmstead

Painting numbers on Rent N Roll helmets, 2014. Photo by Marybeth Olmstead

How has RCR changed since you began volunteering?

RCR has continued to grow and develop.  We’ve had to create policies and programs to meet the needs of the world’s largest derby league, and sometimes we’ve had growing pains.  But we have amazing programs now (junior derby, Wreckers, Derby Daze) that didn’t exist when I started.  I am excited to see what happens next, and how much more we can grow once we get into a larger space!

Is there anything RCR could do better for its volunteers?

I think we can all make a point of saying thank you.  Say it sincerely and often, to lots of people.  Everyone in this league is a volunteer at some level. Everyone donates their time to be here and to make the league run.  I don’t think people are doing that for rewards or recognition, but everyone should be acknowledged for their hard work.

I also feel like our photographers are kind of the unsung heroes of the league. Without them we would not have photos to show off in the old folks home to prove that we used to be badasses.  Can we make them all cookies or something?

How does it feel to be a Gold Star Award for Excellence in Volunteering winner?

I am humbled and grateful.  That sounds super corny but it’s true.  I don’t think I’m doing anything extraordinary – I just try to help where I can.  It’s kind of mind boggling to be singled out and I wish we gave this award out on a weekly basis because there are so many people who deserve it.

UCP event at Oaks, 2013

UCP event at Oaks, 2013

Do you think you will ever stop being a part of RCR?

When I die I will have myself stuffed and you can use me as a mannequin for merch sales.  So no, I have no plans to go anywhere.

Any suggestions for new volunteers or those considering volunteering with RCR?

Speak up!  It can be kind of overwhelming being a part of something so large with so many moving parts.  What are your skills?  What skills would you like to learn or develop?  There is a committee or program that needs your help and in many cases you can get training or experience that you can apply in the “real world.”  If you don’t like the volunteer job you’re doing now, ask around and see if you can find something that’s a better fit.  When you find a volunteer job you love, it doesn’t even feel like work!

Final thoughts?

Everybody has something to contribute.  The league runs because we are all doing our part.  THANK YOU.

Rose City Rollers’ Search for a New Home (Part 3)

It was late 2013 when the Rose City Rollers (RCR) officially began their search for a new home.  The RCR Executive Director, Kim “Rocket Mean” Stegeman, began by seeking the aid of a real estate agent.  She came upon Jon Rubey, a real estate agent with a proven history of identifying solutions for this type of entertainment use, from Colliers International.  After discussions with him, it became evident that the RCR needed to truly define what they were looking for.  Rocket Mean soon put together a group of skaters and board members, creating a formal search committee.

In early 2014, a meeting was held between the search committee and Jon Rubey.  The outcome of the meeting lead to a formal document outlining all of the needs and wants for RCR.  Also to come from the meeting was a more defined communication line, with Rocket Mean becoming the point of contact for the search.

Rose City Rollers New Venue Requirements:

  • Building Size: 16,000-20,000 sq ft rectangular building. (For reference: Hangar is 11,000 sq ft, Track 8,000 sq ft).

  • Structural Details: 20 foot ceilings, minimum, void of pillars (at least the middle 10,000 sq ft).

  • Minimum Building Amenities: Available space for seating on at least 3 sides of the 110 foot x 90 foot track. Bathrooms, or at least the appropriate plumbing for installation of bathrooms.

  • Location: Easy-to-access property from major roadways. Close access to public transportation and bike-friendly.

Additional wants:

  • Location preference: Southeast Industrial area, ideally close-in

  • Event Seating: 1000-1500 person capacity – ideally bleachers would be retractable from the side-walls

  • Flex Space: Ideally the space would be able to accommodate 2 tracks for practice

  • Second story mezzanine seating (capacity is flexible)

  • 2 locker rooms that can each accommodate 20 players

  • Storage: at least a 100 sq ft

  • Lighting: preferably in the 80,000 lumens area

  • Retail space with outside/street-front access

  • Office and meeting spaces

  • Security: needs to be able to be locked down

Other Concerns / Ideas:

  • Parking/Parking Agreement with possible neighbors

  • Formulate an agreement with other clients to give access to meeting rooms when not in use.

  • Make space available to other non-profit groups

The Search Timeline

There are many steps involved in RCR finding a new home.  All of the properties that have been considered thus far have not made it past Step 2.  Here are simplified steps in the process for RCR to find a new home:

STEP 1: Find a location

STEP 2: Conduct preliminary evaluation of building and compare with goals of the league.

STEP 3: Negotiate economic terms of a lease and improvements with owner.

STEP 4: Evaluate property and actual requirements for building modifications.

STEP 5: Officially put together a design team (architect, general contractor and engineers).

STEP 6: Design modifications, construction permitting, etc. (This will take the most time).

STEP 7: Construction of building modifications.

STEP 8: Move in!

Findings

Jon has been able to locate numerous potential properties, but only a select few fit all the criteria.  Three of these properties (shown below) have been found and inspected by Rocket Mean and Jon.  Let us take a look at each of these properties and evaluate their Location, Value, and Potential:

NOTE: All of the potential properties would be a larger equivalent to the Hangar with little setup and teardown for the events.

Property: “Sandy” – 2316 NE Oregon Street (NE 24th & NE Sandy) – Portland

Location: Good

The property is close-in in the NE quadrant with a fair amount of parking and very good access to public transportation.  It is conveniently located directly adjacent to Interstate 84, while also close to neighborhoods and local businesses with great biking access.

Value: Fair

The rent would be too high once required improvements were completed for what RCR is looking for, but there is 20,000 square feet of space, which is enough for two tracks.  Some major renovations would be required to add office space, retail space, and prepare the track space.  Some major renovations include removal of a large elevated slab and metal support columns running the length of the main room.

Potential: Good

The space has bathrooms, meeting rooms, storage, and additional spaces for a skate shop, bar, chiropractic, training rooms, and more.  This new home would be more than adequate to meet the expansion goals of RCR.  The addition of a skate shop and bar in this already commercial area would improve the fan experience by attracting fans and casual patrons to the property on non-event days.

Notes: There would need to be a large amount of interior structural work to be completed. Due to the extent of the work needed for their occupancy the Landlord declined to pursue this opportunity.

Property: “Milwaukie Building” -9592 SE Main Street, Milwaukie

02-MilwaukieLocation: Fair

The property is located just outside of Portland, but very close to the center of the RCR fan base.  The industrial complex has a good amount of parking and is located directly off of Highway 99E.  While this is great for car commuters, it’s not friendly to pedestrian and bike traffic.  However, it is nearby to the TriMet and Park & Ride station under construction.

Value: Good

The rent is high, but the space is move-in ready with minimal renovations to do.  The space is 30,000 square feet of open space, with an additional 4,900 square feet for offices.

Potential: Fair

The building offers additional space for creation of a skate shop, bar, training room, etc.  However, it is located in an industrial area, not catering to daily pedestrian traffic.  Similarly, the space is plenty large, but there are no marked features that would significantly improve the fan experience.

Notes: This property was not looked at in depth due to the high rent and it not being located in the City of Portland.

 

Property: “Division” -2705 SE 8th Avenue (SE Division & SE 8th), Portland

04-DivisionLocation: Good

The property is located just in the heart of the RCR fan base and in close proximity to the growing SE Division street area.  There is plenty of parking available and it is only steps from the new MAX line under construction and major bus lines.

Value: Fair

The rent is high, and there is a lot of building renovation that need to be done.  The building does, however, have enough open space for two tracks and additional room for RCR amenities.  This building offers plenty of capacity that RCR wants.

Potential: Good

The building offers additional space for creation of a skate shop, bar, training room, etc.  The space does meet the current needs of RCR and it is located in a growing part of Portland.  The close proximity of this venue to current popular areas will make a great setting for attracting fans and casual patrons to the property on non-event days.

Notes: This property is the most recently viewed property; however, this building is in high demand and will be able to bring in rental rates well above the budget of RCR. The ownership is willing to wait for the right tenant in order to achieve the upswing in lease rates that is occurring, especially in the close-in markets.

Moving Forward

Unfortunately, RCR still hasn’t found a property with the perfect mix of location, affordability, and potential for expansion.  Once we do, there’ll be additional work to be done to modify the space to suit our needs.  This’ll take time and money — not to mention a willing landlord!

As the market continues to get stronger, rental rates will continue to climb so it will be important to continue to raise support and most importantly funds in order for a new home to be secured.

How You Can Help

Here are some ways you can help:

Look for yourself: If you know of, or come across a potential location, send an email to Rocket Mean: rocketmean@rosecityrollers.com

Provide project support: If you have a skill that may fit in with any of the steps listed above, send an email.

Contribute: Any tax-deductible donation to Rose City Rollers can go toward the new home.

 WRITTEN BY TYSON LEGGATE