By: Ayan Jama
When looking for a good time on a hot sunny day, families can look no further then Oaks Park Amusement Park. This historic fun land is tucked away in the Sellwood neighborhood in Southeast Portland and is one of the highlights of the area.
The hundred-year-old park includes about two-dozen rides that are open seasonally, an old school skating rink for families and picnic grounds. Located along the Willamette River, Oaks Park provides a convenient place for hot children to cool off. Many in the area recall this place as being among some of their favorite childhood memories.
“Oaks Park was the place to be when you were younger,” recalls Jesse Butterfield, a Sellwood resident, “if you wanted to have a good time, impress ladies by skating backwards and eat junk food, you knew Oaks Park was the best.”
Oaks Park has been the highlight of many children’s weekends and an incentive to keep them on their best behavior. For parents, Oaks Park is a place where tradition comes into play and the rapid advancement of modern technology and intense rides are not an issue. Here, families are able to relax, soak up some rays and watch their children enjoy themselves.
“We enjoy being able to take our children to a place where we use to play when we were younger,” said Kevin Fuqua, a parent of two young children. “It has been a pleasure watching the park transform over the decades.”
Since being built by the Oregon Water Power and Railway Company in 1905, Oaks Park has catered to families from all over the Oregon area and kept them coming by changing up the rides provided. The most famous ride, Shoot the Chutes, can best be described as a modern day Splash Mountain. Riders would sit in a flat-bottomed open boat and shoot down at a twenty-five-degree ramp and into a shallow pond at the middle.
With the advancement of technology, rides evolved, and old rides were replaced with new ones. Although Shoot the Chutes is no longer around, the Oaks Park rollercoaster The Looping Thunder can still be seen hurling screaming children around and around.