Where We Live: ‘One of a kind’ Oaks Park

Multnomah County

Oaks Park opened in 1905

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oaks Park has been a staple at the east end of the Sellwood Bridge for 115 years. It opened in 1905, just days before the Lewis and Clark Exposition, a successful world’s fair that brought people from all over the world.

It’s one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation, and they’re getting ready to reopen — as soon as COVID-19 allows.

From the carousel to the roller coaster to the famous roller skating rink, Oaks Park represents the character of Portland, both then and now. Over the years it’s added new attractions, including a new ride called Atmos-Fear that will be unveiled when it reopens.

“You’re sharing something of your childhood with your children.That’s the thing we hear over and over is that- you step in here and suddenly it’s like you were a kid again,” said Emily MacKay. “Oaks Park keeps a lot of what was original. A lot of our structures are from 1905. You walk down our midway, it’s like a time capsule.”

In the old days, Oaks Park was a trolley destination, a way to boost ridership on the weekend. The trolley is still there and operational.

MacKay said they have a good plan for reopening. “It will look different in a lot of ways that we’re adjusting to in tersm os social distancing and sanitation and all those kinds of things.”

Until it reopens, though, we’ll just have to look forward to the fun in the historic amusement park in the heart of the city. It’s a place where the more things change, the more they remain the same.

“We take it to the next level but stay true to what we are and what we’ve offered,” MacKay said. “It really is one of a kind.”

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