PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s famous Enchanted Forest reopened this weekend for the first time in months.
“It was really a special moment that we’ll never forget,” said co-manager Susan Vaslev.
The Oregon landmark is open again after the coronavirus caused a more than eight-month closure.
“Just seeing the first people come through, they were just so excited to be here,” Vaslev said.
The Enchanted Forest is a whimsical park nestled in the woods south of Salem. It welcomed 400 people Saturday.
Operating at 15% capacity, it was a far cry from the roughly 2,500 typically expected on opening day.
But Vaslev said ticket sales were not at the top of her mind this weekend.
“It’s gratefulness, it’s joy,” she said.
And most of all, relief after a tough year.
“There were so many setbacks along the way that it just felt like it was never going to happen,” Vaslev said.
First it was income lost during the pandemic. Then a wildfire that not only damaged the park, but also brought tragedy to its owners.
Both 12-year-old Wyatt Tofte, a great grandson of the park’s founder and his grandmother Peggy Mosso, died in the Beachie Creek fire in September.
Months later, a major ice storm packed another punch.
“We have debt obviously now that we didn’t have before, and there’s no new attraction to pay for it,” Vaslev said.
But a community dedicated to the Enchanted Forest is helping keep its doors open.
A GoFundMe set up for Vaslev is still drawing donations. So far, they’ve raised more than $461,000.
To the community, she says, “thank you.”
“There’s even a stronger bond between all of us,” Vaslev said. “We’re extremely hopeful.”