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Although Oaks Park has hosted events during the pandemic, this was its first 'opening' in over a year

SECOND UPDATE TO THE BELOW STORY:

Emily McKay at Oaks Park notified us on Friday, May 7, that, with the latest mandates from the state, "We are back to 15% operations, so -- no time blocks, just the 12-7 time with tickets available at www.oakspark.com/ridetix ."

DAVID F. ASHTON - We found Rides Manager Celeste Walker checking over the newest attraction, AtmosFEAR, shortly before Oaks Amusement Parks reopening day in mid-April. After being shut down for the entire season in 2020 by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the staff of the nonprofit Oaks Park Association finally was able to have a limited opening historic Oaks Park on Saturday, April 17. Now, they'll be open on weekends – and then all week long (except Mondays) – this summer.

"We've reopened our amusement park – Including the rides, miniature golf course, and Midway games, for the 2021 season!" exclaimed Marketing and Events Director Emily MacKay.

"We believe our reopening is cause for a city-wide celebration, especially after last year's cancelled season!" MacKay enthused. "This was the only season the park has ever been closed since it first opened on May 30, 1905."

DAVID F. ASHTON - Shortly before the grand reopening of Oaks Park on April 17, we noticed Jason Kiyabu operating the controls of the DISKO attraction - while his fellow ride-operator trainees took a spin in it.  For several weeks before the opening, core staff members had been taking "ride gondolas" out of storage, polishing up the attractions, and stocking the concession stands as they prepared to recommence operations.

"With the reopening, we've resumed our place as a major employer in the Sellwood neighborhood," MacKay affirmed. "After reducing our staff from 250+ to only a dozen while we were closed, Oaks Park is rebuilding our team for the 2021 season by hiring for over 200 positions."

In the week before opening day, amusement ride staff members went through safety, basic maintenance, and operation orientation. While one worker operated a ride, the others in each class experienced the thrill of spinning, dipping, and looping on each attraction.

One of the attractions on which the staff trained was Oregon's most extreme thrill ride to date – called "AtmosFEAR". It replaced the "Scream'n Eagle", and was constructed last summer in the same spot – but until now, no visitor had ridden it! (You can still see a time-lapse video showing its complex assembly on-site at Oaks Park, shot last year by this reporter, at – >youtu.be/b1I3lAbiufc)

On "AtmosFEAR", the more-timid folks can opt for just a pendulum ride – similar to "Scream'n Eagle", but on a larger scale. However, all the brave and hearty riders can choose to ride the "full terror", over-the-top, 360° experience – as the gondolas soar to a height of 100' in full-swing, over-the-top loops. Can you say "upside down"…?

"Yes, I have ridden AtmosFEAR, operating in 360° mode -- so I can confirm that it is a truly a thrilling, sensational experience!" grinned The Oaks' Rides Manager, Celeste Walker.

Of course, all guests and staff are required to follow Multnomah County COVID safety protocols – including wearing masks and social distancing. Plus, Oaks Park staff is performing increased sanitation throughout the park.

Tickets MUST be purchased in advance

DAVID F. ASHTON - Shortly before the grand reopening of Oaks Park on April 17, we noticed Jason Kiyabu operating the controls of the DISKO attraction - while his fellow ride-operator trainees took a spin in it.  To regulate the number of guests in the park, in keeping with Multnomah County COVID mandates, a limited number of "Rides and Attraction Tickets" per day are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These tickets must be purchased online, in advance.

To buy your tickets, and to get complete information – including the days and hours of park operation, COVID safety requirements, attraction information, and ticket prices – visit the official Oaks Amusement Park website – www.oakspark.com


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