Recent comments, threats delay Enchanted Forest reopening

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Enchanted Forest will no longer be welcoming back guests this Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After announcing it was ready to welcome back visitors this weekend, Enchanted Forest has decided to delay its reopening due to threats from the community.

The beloved theme park made the difficult decision to walk their reopening announcement back on Tuesday. The reason cited was “recent comments and threats” from the community over mask and vaccination requirements.

In a Facebook post, Enchanted Forest explained that masks would be required in the park at all times except for fully vaccinated guests who could ask for an exception if they show their vaccination card along with photo ID when they enter the park. Those granted permission to not wear a mask would be given a wristband.

Co-manager Susan Vaslev said the policy caused a huge divide among the public. Some expressed excitement, thanking the park for the policy, while others posted to say they would never visit the park again. Vaslev said some people took it a step further by issuing threats to the point that staff no longer felt safe opening the park this weekend.

“As much as we desperately want to open, because we’re at the breaking point, as much as we desperately want to open we just cannot under this circumstance,” said Vaslev.

The Enchanted Forest just south of Salem, May 18, 2021 (KOIN)

Vaslev didn’t elaborate on the specifics of the threats but said the park is extremely disappointed and that it’s not their intention to alienate anyone. She said navigating the state’s guidelines has been difficult and they understand people are frustrated but they can’t open the park if they can’t ensure guests’ safety.

Anyone who purchased tickets for this weekend will be issued a refund. It’s unclear at this time when Enchanted Forest will reopen.

A spokesperson sent KOIN 6 News the following statement:

We have been hard at work preparing the park to reopen.  We had hoped to do so this weekend with safety protocols consistent with the most up-to-date guidance from the Center for Disease Control, the Governor, and the state epidemiologist.  Unfortunately, recent comments and threats have made clear that our community is not in agreement as to how we will interact in public places with regard to mask requirements for those who are vaccinated versus those who are not vaccinated. 

We recognize this is an important issue and look forward to specific guidance from our State officials as to our responsibility as a business that invites the public to be our guests.  However, until we are confident we can do so safely, we will not be able to reopen.  Our commitment to being a place where families can spend time together free of unnecessary hate and conflict simply outweighs our strong desire to reopen our business.

The park, just south of Salem, was open briefly last year from June to October but was closed for most of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Statesman Journal, the Enchanted Forest was originally slated to open again on March 19 after a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $450,000 to keep the park alive, but these opening plans were delayed after the park was heavily damaged during February’s ice storm.

It is not clear when the park will reopen at this time. However, the Enchanted Forest family has stated in recent months they are determined to see the park reach its 50th anniversary later this summer.

Visit the park’s website to for more information.

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