PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland's world champion roller derby team is looking for a new home, for safety reasons.
The Rose City Rollers had been using the Hanger at Oaks Park since 2006 and holding bouts there since 2009.
On bout days they packed in 500 paying fans, especially for Portland's reigning world champion team, The Wheels of Justice. But that’s about to change.
“We're kind of in a pickle,” said Kim Stegeman — AKA ‘Rocket Mean’ — executive director of the Rose City Rollers.
The fire marshal issued new permit rules for Portland buildings that don't have sprinklers, like the hanger. it will limit capacity in non-sprinkler venue to 300 people, which for the nonprofit Rose City Rollers, would leave room for just 200 paying fans.
“That’s a hit of like, $130,000 to our bottom line,” said Stegeman. “We're the biggest and best derby league in the world, we shouldn't go down because of a sprinkler issue.”
The league has until July 1 to find a new venue, which Stegeman said will be harder than it sounds, given what they're looking for.
“Portland is running really short on buildings that are 20-30,000 square feet, clear span, which means no pillars,” said Stegeman, whose keeping her eyes, heart and options open.
“We could use a building that’s divided into two spaces, as long as each space has around 10,000 feet clear span,” reasoned Stegeman. “Somebody in Portland should help us, we're a good bet. ... I hope we can figure out a solution to make it here for the long term.”