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  • To preserve and sustain the unique character of the Little Spokane River Valley, including it's open space and natural setting.
  • To maintain lower density zoning.
  • To protect the area's ecosystem including water quality, wetlands, priority habitat and wildlife, and dwindling native vegetation.
  • To encourage the development of area parks and natural areas.
  • To educate public officials of the concerns of the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley, and be pro-active when major issues are at the forefront.



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    Welcome to the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley

    Local, Family-Owned Landmarks: Pounder’s and Pattison’s
    by Tina Wynecoop
    My first piece of real jewelry was a roller skate key that hung on a simple chain around my neck. It was the only tool I needed besides roller skates to have the best times growing up a little girl could have. I still have that key and wonderful memories of skating on a concrete oval walkway that encircled an apartment complex my family lived in south Seattle. It was my "rink" - available all day, everyday. All the neighborhood kids went round and round on it, too. I remember skating in the counterclockwise direction only.


    I didn't know that there is a word for it, but I do know that I can still feel the direction I always took. Does it have something to do with the term "goofy foot" that snowboarders contend with? To this day, when I skate at Pattison's North I still prefer to go with the flow that is usually counterclockwise.

    I remember those painful times when on my outdoor rink when I hadn't used my skate key properly to tighten the clamps that held the skates to whatever shoes I was wearing. The skates would fly off in mid-stride. Momentum ceased. Gravity ruled. Flesh suffered. It didn't matter. I loved to roller skate and I loved leaning into the airstream my momentum created. Skating was my "the solution to gravity." Why be earthbound?

    Our family moved to the "north end" of Seattle about the time I started fifth grade. The streets were 'paved' with bumpy asphalt and there were no sidewalks to skate on. My skating opportunities came to a halt. But, when it was raining (which it usually was) my mom would let me and my sister skate in our basement. Good thing she did because we had lots of energy to unleash.

    I have since learned that the activity of roller-skating equals jogging in terms of energy spent in exercise and it provides a complete aerobic workout. Karen and I would weave our skates among the indoor clotheslines,storage boxes, the furnace, dad's band saw and tool bench, as well as the general accumulation of junk found in most basements. It was a small house. Outdoor skating was preferred.

    My second piece of adornment came from Pounder's Jewelry store at Northtown Mall in the early 70's. It was my wedding ring - a gold band costing $25. If I remember right, Jim Pounder sold it to us. It was a lot of money to be spending at that time. Sadly, years later I lost the ring. I still have my skate key. Pounder's store has since moved further south of Northtown Mall on Division Street. It is a spacious and beautiful family-owned building having glorious vistas of downtown Spokane, the South Hill and the everchanging skyscape.

    I relate my skate key not only to what is kept in my jewelry box but to another treasured landmark: Pattison's North Roller Rink which located on the same highway as Pounder's, but much further north at the southern edge of the Little Spokane River Valley. The family owned landmark is well-known and popular throughout the upper Columbia region. Four generations of Pattisons and Winklers have operated it since 1951 and it continues to provide Spokane and surrounds with affordable family entertainment.


    Last year I joined my friends, Bea and Jim for skate time at Pattison's. We aren't flashy skaters and mostly sit and visit more than we skate. Yet it still feels so good and freeing to zoom around the rink. The rotunda-shaped floor of the rink is constructed of #1 grade maple boards which cover a surface 95' x 176'. It is roomy enough to accommodate multitudes of skaters of all ages. The maple boards are curved at both ends of the oval so "when you go around the 'corners' you are skating with the grain of the wood." It's designed to be smooth and fast.

    We three 'elders' don't run into the end walls but we sure do appreciate the railings and soft carpeting that embrace the rink's edges and give us stability.

    I am glad our two sons learned to skate at Pattison's. And now we have the pleasure of watching their children do the same. Roller-skating was considered for inclusion in the 2012 summer Olympics but never became an event. Fortunately we can enjoy it locally as an ever-present pastime, and as a competitive sport venue: speed skating, roller hockey, roller derby, etc.

    In 2006, the owners of Pattison's, Ben Winkler and Bobbi Pattison Winkler, were approached by developers with offers to purchase their Spokane landmark. The intent was to demolish the rink and build houses. The family fended off the lucrative offers because they were set on maintaining the rink for future generations. Instead the Winklers sold the business to nephew Shaun and his wife Jericho Pattison. By doing so they kept their traditional values and ideals in the community. Shaun and Jericho are the current owners. A quick search on the Internet brings up more information about the family.

    In the 1700's the roller skate design was adapted from ice skates and had the appearance similar to today's inline skates. I approached my best friend from fifth grade (who lived on the same bumpy street) with the question, "Do you have any rollerskating memories I can share in my article?" She did not. And then a short while later I received this sweet remembrance that skated into her consciousness: "Every once in a while my dad took me to an ice skating rink, and because he had played ice hockey growing up he was a very good skater. During those times we both owned our own skates. He would enfold me with his right arm over my right shoulder I'm not sure where my left hand was. He would gently guide us around the outer realm of the rink, turning us perfectly round each turn. It was wonderful for me not just being with him, and skating my best ever, but skating with my much loved daddy."

    One can appreciate similar parent child duos at Pattison's. On blades or wheels, on ice or #1 maple boards, the parent-child experience is a very special one.


    Then, I asked Nancy, my Colville Reservation friend if she had any memories of rollerskating to share for my article. She grew up at Inchelium which is a small town located on the west side of the Columbia River. She did: When Pattison's North was just seven years old her high school Senior Sneak headed there to celebrate their milestone.

    Just like me, Nancy skated in a basement. The kids in her community got to skate at the Catholic Church Hall. Father Ryan had constructed a big wooden box divided into cubbyholes (just like at Pattison's) and each cubby held a pair of roller skates. Those were happy times. What Nancy remembers liking about skating at Pattison's was that the floor was "supered" – engineered just like a good highway road should be – a sure deterrent to gravity's pull. Life-long LSRV resident, Debbie K., admitted that supered or not, "the only way I could stop was to run into the wall. And, I remember we held hands, three or four girlfriends, skating around together in friendship and fun."

    What got me thinking about landmarks and roller skating was an old building that still stands on the east boundary of the Spokane Indian reservation near Ford, WA. I first noticed the building in 1970 when I moved to Wellpinit. My husband remembers skating there as a teenager in the forties. Playing "Crack the Whip" on wheels was a thrilling activity for him. The rink was owned and operated by Mr. Snotty – actually, his name was Mr. Snoddy but no one I interviewed remembered it that way. His story will be continued in the Fall FLSRV newsletter.

    For now, I still have my treasured skate key. I grew out of my metal quad roller skates eons ago yet I have the distinct feeling there are lots of other memories to be shared about my local heroes, Pounder's and Pattison's. Please do add to the story.

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