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Beloved Tri-Cities skateboarder dies in tragic accident

Remembering Roger Morfin

RICHLAND, Wash. - A concrete slab at the Richland skatepark is covered in memories of Roger Morfin.

Dozens of locals who knew Roger, a Pasco native loved by many in the Tri-Cities skateboard community, wrote messages like, "We miss you," "Keep smiling" and "Roger 4 Ever."

He died in a tragic accident early Sunday morning, less than a month after his 27th birthday. 

Roger had been at the Santana concert in Auburn, Washington earlier that night. After the show, he and a friend walked to Safeway from their hotel to get food. 

On their way back, Roger was walking on the street when he was hit and killed by a food delivery driver less than a mile away from their hotel. His friend had been next to him on the sidewalk, said Enumclaw Police Comm. Tim Floyd. The crash remains under investigation. 

The driver and a nearby resident who heard the crash rushed to help him, but Roger didn't make it. 

He's survived by his parents, Rogelio and Alba, and his little brother, George, whom his friends say he loved. 

Over the next couple days, the news of his passing rippled through social media, leaving Roger's family, friends and much of the local skate community in disbelief. 

Eddie Valdez, a close friend who has known Roger since high school, said skateboarding brought them together as kids, and they'd been like brothers ever since. 

"It's hard. You know, I remember having a conversation with him saying, 'Man if I ever pass away,' he said, 'I just want everyone to reminisce on the good things we did. I don't want anyone to cry. I don't want anyone to be sad.'" 

He said Roger was selfless, and that he was always the person who pushed him to follow dreams.  

A number of friends described Roger as a talented artist and a jokester, always making people laugh, but also reminding people to make the most of life. 

"He was the funniest guy I knew," said Abraham Ortiz, another close friend who met Roger at the skatepark. "There's nobody else I would laugh so hard with, but I don't think there's anyone else I would laugh so hard with ever again."​​​​​​

Ten years ago, when Abraham moved to the Tri-Cities from California, he said meeting people with the same interests was hard at first. Roger was the person who introduced him to the friends he has now. 

"He was literally the bridge to everybody," Abraham said. 

The two had made plans to move together to Portland, but those plans were postponed because of a family emergency. 

Danny Amaya, a childhood friend who grew up on the same block as Roger, agreed that he was one of the funniest people you could ever meet, and that his influence was eternal. 

"I wouldn't be the man I am without Roger. He taught me everything I know basically. Skating, music, art, clothing. Everything," Danny said. 

He said he the type of guy who found the good in everything. 

"I'm never going to forget him, and we're going to live our life to the fullest for him. We're going to take care of his family," Danny said. 

A funeral service will be held on Monday, July 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Afterward, Roger's parents plan on hosting a barbecue at the skatepark for all of their son's friends.

A memorial for the skatepark 

To honor Roger, his friends and family want to have a memorial built at the skatepark. 

One idea they have is getting a couple skateboards signed by all his friends, having them glazed and then embedding them into a bench for the park. 

Eddie Valdez said he has been in contact with the City of Richland with hopes to get a memorial bench approved. He has also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the memorial. Go here if you're interested in donating. 

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