The rodeo grounds in Philomath will officially be named after the family that donated land where the rodeo has been held for three decades, the Philomath City Council decided in a unanimous decision Monday night.
The council vote will christen the grounds Skirvin Park, after Paul and Lola Skirvin, who have hosted and the event on their property since the "rodeo" was added the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo in the 1980s. The naming is also intended to honor Paul Skirvin’s late brothers, who were also rodeo boosters.
“The Skirvin family has been involved in the rodeo since its inception, so the intention was to honor that,” said Chris Workman, the city manager and president of the Frolic & Rodeo organization.
“I’m in total agreement with this. I’m glad we’re doing it,” said Mayor Rocky Sloan.
Paul and Lola Skirvin offered to donate a 15.5 parcel to the city that contains the rodeo grounds and its arena building in December 2016. The finer points of that donation, including conditions from the Skirvins that the property be dedicated to the rodeo organization for the long term, still are being worked out.
The council was set to discuss a memorandum of understanding with the Skirvin family on the property’s use and a lease agreement with the rodeo organization Monday, but Sloan decided to postpone that discussion following a comment by Skirvin family representative Marlyn Weaver.
Weaver indicated some concern over the city offering a 99-year lease to the rodeo organization, when the Skirvins had only asked for the city to give the rodeo a 20-year lease with an option for the rodeo to renew the lease for another 20 years.
Weaver said he didn’t think the longer lease was a deal-breaker, but he said giving a 99-year lease may not be good fiscal management of what will be property of the citizens of Philomath.
Workman said he didn’t think there was an issue because the memorandum was focused on making sure the lease was at least 20 years plus the 20-year option to renew. Since the lease agreement would have been for 99 years, it exceeded what the Skirvins wanted.
Sloan encouraged city staff to communicate again with all parties involved and come back with the proposal later.
Weaver said the Skirvin family was willing to keep working on the donation agreement into next year, if necessary.
“The Skirvins want it done right more than done by the end of the year,” he said.