Urban Moore, founder of Eugene Skydivers, is moving on. CHRONICLE ARCHIVES
Eugene Skydivers, the premier skydiving school and recreational attraction in the area since 1992, has recently changed hands. Founded by a former resident of Creswell, Urban Moore, Eugene Skydivers was purchased by Mark Shoemaker and Afrika Muncha on March 16, 2018. Although Eugene Skydivers is under new ownership, they continue to offer the same superior services recreational enthusiasts rely on for their adrenaline fixes.
Moore’s story is full of excitement and adventure, starting with his enlistment in the United States Army in 1969, where he was stationed in Europe for over two years. As a child, Moore dreamed of becoming a ski patrolman and, upon enlistment, he turned that dream into a reality. While in Europe, he worked at a recreational area for winter and summer sports.
After serving in the Army for three years, Moore returned to civilian life and was married for 24 years.
While Eugene Skydivers didn’t open until 1992, Urban Moore’s passion for skydiving started in the mid-1980s. Moore started out as an Idaho recreational reporter who offered screen time to a local skydiving company in exchange for a free jump. The company accepted, and Moore has been jumping from planes ever since.
Most of Moore’s career at Eugene Skydivers has been full of adrenaline-infused moments, but he still had his share of challenges. Due to Eugene Skydivers’ location at Creswell Airport, there are federal and state regulations he must follow.
It was mostly smooth sailing from 1992 to 2005, but in July 2006 Oregon banned the use of airport property for parachute landing zones, forcing Eugene Skydivers and another company, Wright Brothers Skydiving to find a new location for landing customers. A year later, Eugene Skydivers received permission from the City of Creswell to land on a neighboring field, eight miles away. The distance, however, required shuttling customers back and forth, increasing costs and impacting business.
Over the next five years, Moore jumped through legal hoops to obtain permits to run his company, nearly putting him out of business several times. Due to the inconveniences and loss of business, Moore filed a lawsuit against the City of Creswell hoping to resolve the matter, once and for all.
In August 2013, the City of Creswell and Moore, with the help of and the United States Parachute Association (USPA) and the Airport Defense Fund (ADF), negotiated a settlement which allowed skydivers to walk across runways after landing.
In February 2014, Eugene Skydivers resumed normal business and once again conducted parachute landings on airport property, ending an eight-year legal battle. Wright Brothers Skydiving shut down in the process due to the aforementioned difficulties; but with the determination and perseverance of Moore, Eugene Skydivers survived, and since returning to the airport in the spring of 2014, business has improved and things are looking up.
Moore has many fond memories of his time at Eugene Skydivers, but one of his favorites was in 2002. He re-trained several World War II veterans to perform static-line jumps from his plane, giving them the opportunity to relive what they’d done while in the service, 60 years before.
Today, Moore has over 10,400 jumps under his belt, and although he’s no longer the owner, he has no plans on being grounded. Moore continues to work behind the scenes, offering pilot training, logistics, and ordering equipment for Shoemaker and Muncha.
After selling Eugene Skydivers, Moore even started another company, ADV Air, where he trains licensed pilots and helps them obtain high-performance endorsements.
Moore moved from Creswell several years ago and currently lives in Cottage Grove.
Eugene Skydivers has been home to the world’s best skydiving athletes and many of them first experienced the exhilarating speeds of over 100 mph while strapped to Moore’s chest. One of the new owners, Shoemaker, even made his first jump out one of Moore’s planes many years ago.
Shoemaker and Muncha bring over 20 years of experience to Eugene Skydivers and Moore wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s worked hard for his company, and now he can step back knowing it’s in good hands. Moore would like to thank his customers and the community for their support, but he’d also like to apologize to the City of Creswell for the disagreements during those difficult years.
Eugene Skydivers offers many ways for adrenaline junkies and skydiving enthusiasts to enjoy their services. Both first-timers and experienced solo divers are welcome, and skydiving classes are offered for those interested in multiple jumps. First-time skydivers receive initial training, equipment and a first-jump certification.
If a customer would like to skydive a second time, (and who wouldn’t, right?) a slight discount is available if it’s within 30 days of the first jump. Freefall photography and gift certificates are also available. Skydiving equipment is also for sale at their location and includes used and new containers, altimeters, jumpsuits, main and reserve chutes, and other gear.
Eugene Skydivers has faced many challenges over the years, but with the help of Urban Moore, and the new owners, Mark Shoemaker and Afrika Muncha, the dream lives on. Safe and friendly service is guaranteed and they’ll make your dreams soar. For Eugene Skydivers, the sky’s the limit.