Portland's premiere women's roller derby league in need of new home

The Rose City Rollers are looking for a new venue after the fire marshal said their current location was dangerous for large crowds because of the lack of sprinklers. (KATU Photo)

The Rose City Rollers, Portland's championship women's flat track roller derby league, is looking for a new home. In a statement released this week, league Executive Director Kim Stegeman wrote that updated fire code rules in Portland will force the league to leave its current venue, the Hangar, at Oaks Amusement Park.

The current venue isn't zoned for large gatherings. The league has relied on single-use permits to host events. Because those events were considered temporary, the building was exempt from fire codes that applied to other buildings. But Portland's fire marshal decided to close the loophole and he declared the Hangar as dangerous for large crowds because it doesn't have sprinklers.

The league could fix the problem in one of two ways. They could limit attendance, which would ultimately reduce their revenue from selling tickets, or they could spend the money to install sprinklers. However, the Hangar doesn't have a water main nearby, and the cost for a sprinkler system could rise to $250,000. The league decided neither option would work for them.

The league is now looking for a new venue. They're hoping someone can donate, sell, or lease the right kind of property. The hope is for something in the range of 24,000 to 36,000 square feet with two areas of 10,000 square feet "clear span" to accommodate two full size tracks, running water, and parking. The league hopes to keep the venue within Portland city limits.

"I would love that fantastic property that I believe is out there," said Stegeman. "But we have to find it."

Those who know the league say finding a new home is about much more than roller derby. It's about preserving a positive influence on women and young girls.

"The kids, oh my gosh, they learn about self-confidence, they learn body positivity, they learn about teamwork, they learn about healthy forms of aggression," said Stegeman. "You just kind of see these people playing this rough sport, but it is so good for the women and girls of Portland."

Anyone with ideas on a possible venue for the Rose City Rollers is encouraged to email John Rubey at Jon.Rubey@colliers.com or Kim Stegeman at rocketmean@rosecityrollers.com.

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