Olympia Area Rowing Association was originally organized in the 1980’s and re-founded in 1998 by five local rowers. Now OAR has grown to over 80 adult members and more than 40 high school students participating in the junior program.
In the early days, OAR members kept their boats outside in what was called “The Compound” – an adjacent parking lot. Establishing a true home for OAR was the manifestation of a dream for many Budd Inlet rowers.
The OAR boathouse, designed by Gretchen Van Dusen, was completed in 2005, and sits on Port of Olympia land, which the club leases from the Port. The club has a mortgage on the building. The boathouse is a result of collaboration between the Port of Olympia, the City of Olympia and Olympia Area Rowing.
The 5,300-square-foot building is home to OAR equipment, Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department water recreation programs, and The Evergreen State College rowing club. The float dock is shared by the three programs and is a public amenity, so in the summer, don’t be surprised to see kayakers and paddleboarders also using the dock.