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Although they were all set up for distancing and online reservations, The Oaks didn't get the state OK to open...

DAVID F. ASHTON - Cloaked in dense wildfire smoke in mid-September, the Oaks Amusement Park midway looked desolate, without families there to enjoy it. The staff of historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park had hopes they'd be open, at least on a limited basis, sometime during their 2020 season – back when they were installing their new thrill ride, "AtmosFEAR", earlier this summer.

But, by mid-August, it became clear to them, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus governmental restrictions – including Multnomah County's continuing to hold onto a "Level 1 Opening" designation – that it just wasn't going to be a reality.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Its rail cars have been put in storage for the season, and now the Historic Oaks Amusement Park miniature railways locomotive awaits its winterization - having not made a single trip around the tracks in 2020. "This closure means that, for the first time in our 115-year history – through floods, world wars, and economic ups and downs – Oaks Park will miss an amusement park season," admitted longtime spokesperson Emily McKay.

"We are heartbroken that during this time of difficulty for so many of our neighbors, we will not being able to lighten the load by providing wholesome, affordable family fun that has been the hallmark of Oaks Park and a vital part of the local fabric for generations.

"This setback comes after months of preparation, using evidence-based advice from global attractions industry leadership, to create a solid plan implementing safety precautions for our guests including social distancing measures, mask requirements, increased sanitation, guest temperature checks, staff health checks, capacity limitations, contactless payment, and online reservations!" McKay pointed out. DAVID F. ASHTON - THE BEE was there as they assembled the new Oaks Park thrill ride - which not only makes a 180 degree swing, but can perform a full 360 degree swing with riders aboard, should they wish to experience it! Now, with the smoke gone, its all ready to gobut its still waiting to give a ride to its first thrill-seeker. Following these same rules allowed the Oregon Zoo to have a limited opening; and Oaks Park had hoped to be considered a similar nonprofit facility, but the State didn't agree.

Also closed, until further notice, is the historic Oaks Park Roller Rink.

"Despite these efforts, we have continued to be excluded from the list of statewide outdoor attractions permitted to open – so, we've made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season in its entirety," McKay conceded.

Those who purchased 2020 Oaks ride bracelets online should certainly hang on to them, she said, because they'll all be honored during the next operating season.

Hallowe'en attraction comes in October

But, this turn of events does not necessarily rule out special outside activities held at Oaks Park!

As previously covered in THE BEE, the Rose City Rollers roller derby crew has been hosting both outdoor movies, and skating sessions, at Oaks amusement Park.

Now, the all-new "Scaregrounds Haunted Drive-Thru" event will be kicking off there on October 9.

"The last time we had a 'haunted house' was back in 2006; and we've been wanting for a long time to bring Hallowe'en fun back to 'The Oaks'," McKay announced. "We're excited to be partnering with the Scaregrounds team from Vendetta Productions Inc. to offer Portland a new kind of Hallowe'en experience!"

It will be set up on Oaks Park's grounds, featuring five unique haunted attractions from which guests can choose: "Night Terrors"; "The Condemned"; "The Green Run Asylum"; "Site 13"; and "the Haunted Mansion". Guests drive into their chosen "nightmare" – pull up and stop – and experience spooky thrills; all from the safety of their own vehicles.

Guests will not be in contact with the actors or staff, and all staff are strictly following COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing, and personal protective equipment use.

For dates, times and ticket information, visit the Oaks Amusement Park website – www.oakspark.com – and scroll down the home page.

Multnomah County Fair, maybe

"And, regarding the Multnomah County Fair, they are tentatively scheduled for [the newly rescheduled dates of] October 16 and 17, [Friday and Saturday,] hosting an entirely indoor Fair, within our historic Dance Pavilion," McKay reported. "But the viability of the Fair will be dependent on whichever 'phase of reopening' Multnomah County is at the time, and what rules are in force at that point."

Keep up to date with the Fair's plans as they change; visit the official Friends of Multnomah County Fair website – www.multcofair.org


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