• Roller Odyssey will come to a stop

    After 37 years, Medford's roller rink shuts down
  • Dreary winter days are about to get a little darker and longer for Rogue Valley roller skaters.
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  • Dreary winter days are about to get a little darker and longer for Rogue Valley roller skaters.
    Roller Odyssey will close its doors April 6, ending a 37-year skate party spanning multiple generations on South Pacific Highway.
    "I've been coming here as long as I can remember," said Hedrick Middle School eighth-grader Jace Greene. "I got skates for my birthday a long time ago, started skating around the house, then I came here. I come here every week, so I'm pretty upset."
    Longtime manager Heather Derry said Roller Odyssey operator Cheryl Masterson was unable to reach a satisfactory lease agreement with landlord Anne Shaw Tudesko, whose family has owned the property and building for decades, and so elected to shutter the business.
    "They wanted $9,500 a month in rent, plus $100,000 worth of upgrades within six months," Derry said. "Then after six months, it was going to be a month-to-month lease. This is not the kind of business you can easily move."
    Roller Odyssey sits on property south of RoxyAnn Lanes, where the Coquille Tribe hopes to develop a casino, and just west of Charles Point apartment complex, which has nearly filled the surrounding acreage.
    "It's become quite a sought-after property," Derry said. "We've been approached by both the casino people and the apartment people and they're not looking at the building, they are looking at the property."
    Tudesko, who lives in Sloughhouse, Calif., southeast of Sacramento, did not respond to telephone and social media messages Tuesday.
    For regulars like Jace, who skates around the Roller Odyssey floor for about four hours a week, practicing skills and learning new tricks, the challenge will be to find a new outlet.
    "I'll have to skate around the neighborhood now, which isn't as fun," he said. "I may have to switch to ice skating."
    Three decades ago, Jack Sterling's mom brought him to a spanking new Medford Skate University — the venue's former name. Now, the 36-year-old electrician regularly brings his daughter Hannah to the rink on Friday nights.
    "It's all really, really sad," Sterling said. "Even when I don't have my kids I like skating, because it's a good workout and fun at the same time. There aren't too many things that are fun and give you exercise at the same time. I'm really bummed; I'm hoping for some kind of miracle."
    Among the many elements lost when such a venue closes is the party room.
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