PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Grade-school teenagers may not be old enough to skate unsupervised at Oaks Amusement Park, but they are old enough to work there. The Southeast Portland amusement park announced earlier this month it’s looking to hire nearly 400 seasonal employees as young as 14 for the spring and summer months of 2023.
The Oaks Park Association said that it is actively looking to fill a variety of part-time positions. Eligible workers 14 years of age and older are encouraged to apply for the positions through Oakspark.com.
“Get your summer job lined up now!” Oaks Amusement Park said.
The announcement marks the park’s first hiring season since its recent ban on unsupervised youths. In August of 2022, the nonprofit-operated amusement park instituted a new policy requiring guests younger than 18 years old to be accompanied by a chaperone 21 years of age or older during “open skate” sessions on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10:30 p.m.
The rule, Oaks Park Director of Marketing and Events Emily Mackay previously told KOIN 6, was instituted in response to a spike in violent behavior from younger guests. The policy listed on the park’s website states that at least one chaperone is now required for every six minors. Chaperone IDs are checked at the door and minors without a chaperone are prohibited from entering the building.
“We’re seeing an increase in the number of confrontations, some of which have escalated to physical altercations in the roller rink,” Mackay said in 2022. “And we are seeing this trend happening and want to take some proactive steps to stop the problem from growing and stop it from being an issue in the future.”
When asked by KOIN 6 News about the hiring of teens after its August 2022 policy was announced, MacKay said that there is a distinct difference between supervised teenage employees and unsupervised guests.
“We have a long and proud history as one of the largest youth employers in our area,” MacKay said. “The jobs available to underage workers are, and always have been, performed in an environment overseen by multiple layers of adult Directors and Managers. There is an inherent difference between employees performing their duties while overseen by the company and visitors engaging in recreational activities.”
Spring hours for Oaks Amusement Park benign March 25.