Where (and how) to see Santa in the Portland area this year

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Santa will be at the Salem Carousel again this year, but there will be some changes due to COVID-19 (courtesy Salem Carousel).

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Santa Claus is coming to town, though he may have to sit behind a plexiglass barrier once he gets here.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted most businesses, organizations and families in one way or another, but the latest round of restrictions in Oregon and Washington have not stopped Santa. Here are some of the places you can find him near Portland.

Bridgeport Village in Tigard is offering virtual visits with Santa. Families can instantly download the 5-minute video call with Old Saint Nick and share it with family and friends. Reservations are required and run Friday, Nov. 27 through Dec. 24 for $24.95.

Cabela’s Tualatin location is offering in-person visits with Santa, complete with a free 4×6 studio-quality photo. Reservations are required and can be made online now. Cabela’s is using a clear protective barrier between Santa and families.

Clackamas Town Center is also taking reservations for in-person photos beginning Friday. Santa will be separated from guests by a plexiglass barrier. Prices range from $39.99 to $49.99, according to the mall’s website.

Santa will be at Washington Square for contactless photos as well. There’s no plexiglass between visitors and Santa, but there is a barrier to make sure people stay at least 6 feet away, according to a mall spokesperson. Reservations can be made online and prices range from $39.99 to $49.99 depending on the photo package you want.

Lloyd Center’s modified Santa Land experience runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 12-13 and 19-23, as well as 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Families must reserve their spot in advance. Reservations open Friday on Lloyd Center’s website. Visits cost $10 with all proceeds going to the local nonprofit Howard’s Heart, which supports teens in foster care, according to a spokesperson. Bring your own phone or camera for pictures.

In Washington, Vancouver Mall is offering a contactless Santa visit beginning Nov. 27. A spokesperson for the mall said the pictures will be professionally staged to “minimize the visibility” of the 6 feet of social distance between Santa and his guests. Reservations are highly recommended and photo prices range from $39.99 to $49.99.

Cherry Hill Programs coordinates Santa photos for numerous shopping centers including Clackamas Town Center, Washington Square, Pioneer Place, and Vancouver Mall. A spokesperson told KOIN 6 News they’ve been preparing for this since spring and have put the following precautions in place:

  • Face coverings required for all guests ages 2 and up (or by local mandate)
  • Physical distancing practices on set and in line, and physical barriers where space doesn’t allow for 6 feet of separation
  • Increased disinfecting and sanitation, including hand sanitizer in high-traffic areas
  • Employees must complete a temperature check before their shift
  • No sitting on Santa’s lap

For families who’d rather skip the mall, Cherry Hill has also boarded the virtual Christmas train with its Create Holiday Magic campaign, which includes options like story time with Santa.

Santa is at the Salem Carousel playing the mandolin and visiting with kids from behind a plexiglass barrier. While all photo appointments are currently booked, carousel staff advise checking the website in case spots open up. Parents can also purchase a personalized video message from Santa for $20. For no cost at all, kids can get a personalized letter. All you have to do is fill out a form and drop it off in Santa’s mailbox next to the carousel by December 17.

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