In the fall before I helped build a indoor skatepark in downtown Olympia that was started up by a pro BMX rider that was living in Olympia at the time and local bike shop owner. We had finished the park some time before and working on finishing the retail space and the shop owner was straightening out all the business side of things. Living with my Parents at the time I was awoken by the quake; never having been through one, I had no idea what was happening until I looked out the window and saw the utility lines swinging. I spent the rest of the day watching the news and listening to the stories of damaged buildings and roads. That night I decided to make a trip to Olympia to see if the old American Legion building was still standing; enthusiastically surprised that it was, I was relieved.
But in the coming week, as professionals inspected the building, there were unseen damages that were going to require retrofitting if the skatepark was going to survive. Unfortunately it was not in the owner’s ability to afford the retrofit, in my understanding. But it was enjoyed privately for about the next year or more until the property was sold. Some of the folks who built the ramps salvaged what materials they could, but it was mostly demolished and thrown out. The new owners inevitably retrofitted and remodeled, added windows and opened a nice restaurant. But of course it is probably one of the only regrets that more could not be done to save Thunderdome.
By Gregg White