Welcome to Oaks Park. I blogged about this park a while back, but last week when the elusive sun came out I ventured back to start work on my series: Amusement Parks, Carnivals and Fairs. I’ve made a list of all the ones I plan to visit this Spring and Summer and I thought there was no better place to start, but with the one in my own backyard….almost. I wanted to visit when the park was closed to document it without the crowds. I’ll go back in the summer to take photos when families are there enjoying what the park has to offer.
Oaks Amusement Park was built in 1905 to accompany the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition that was taking place in Portland. It was built by the Oregon Power and Railway Company at a time when parks were often constructed along street car lines. It attracted 300,000 people that first year and even with major floods throughout its history the park is one of the oldest in the United States with continuous operation. It’s gone through its ratty times, but seems to be enjoying a new life now.
The park is home to great walking trails along the Willamette River towards the city in one direction and the Sellwood Bridge in the other. There are also places to picnic, a wonderful wooden roller rink, rides and midway games. The rink is open year-round, but the rides are only open on the weekends during the winter. Summer season will start soon and the crowds will descend on the park.
The old steam train, the 4449, used to be housed here but soon it will have a new home. During the Christmas holidays it comes out of storage and is decorated with lights and offers rides up and down the old tracks.
It’s worth a visit. It is a step back in history……Portland’s history.