Oak's Park-6/21

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Friday, June 22, 2001 8:51 PM
There are a lot of rumors floating around out there, on other sites, about my hometown park in Portland, OR. So on a lazy, warm Thursday I decided to venture out for a quick fix, and to see if I could verify any of those rumors.

Sad to say, I could not. However, I couldn't dismiss them either.

Rumors are flying about upcoming additions including rollercoasters, a log ride (park is along the Willamette river yet has no water rides!), and a tower drop, among others.
While some expansion appears possible, I wouldn't expect much too soon. While the park now uses maybe 10 acres out of 44 for rides, much of the rest is currently picnic areas along the beach side of the park. More thoughts on the future in a moment.

As for the visit, it was a mixed bag, though certainly in the end was fun. The small looper, approx. 35 ft high,
3 cars per train, known as Looping Thunder, is short but enjoyable, but is obviously one of those carnival rides that found a stable home: not a complaint, just an observation.
One of this year's brand new rides, out of 4 (two kiddie/2 thrill), Rock and Roll, won me over immediately.
Essentially, it is a suped-up Matterhorn flat ride. The diameter is slightly larger (or appears so), and it definately has the ability to go faster; it's quite noticable. It also goes in reverse swifter. The inceased speeds make for the cars (literally, as they are made to look like 50's models) going even more towards a 90 degree angle than their tobaggon-like predecessors. It plays classic 50's songs and is, of course, themed that direction. But a million dollars? According to the park's website, www.oakspark.com, that's what they paid for it when they bought it last November from the Bertazzon factory in Italy.

The park's other rides are a much older (yet reliable) fare including a spider, a round-up, a scrambler, a tilt-a-whirl, a rock-o-plane, bumper cars, haunted ride- travelling type, etc. They did seem to offer extended ride time, but it was empty when I visited, so I don't know if that's the case on weekends.

The prices are very reasonable. If this was RCT, the message at the bottom would be "guests are commenting.....". The ride tickets are $1.50, and entry to the park is free. Of course, varying degrees of bracelets offer even better deals. A nice sized ice cream cone was $1.50, as well as the nachos and a generous sized snow cone; ditto for cotton candy. And the pop was $1.25 (20 oz). While this is nothing to shout about, in comparison to what I've paid at the corporate parks recently, I was pleasantly surprised.
The help seemed mostly nice enough, though not as well groomed as other parks. But this is not a park than can afford to deck it's staff out; not yet anyway.
And it should be mentioned that the place was clean, free of off-smells, with bathrooms that didn't frighten me; quite clean also- I was impressed!

Sinse my last visit, some painting and landscaping has occured, but is still needed in many areas. I did notice that the pads on the round-up were comfy and new, if still not high enough. But the ride itself needs a new coat. At least their antique 1912 Herschell-Spillman Carrousel is kept up nicely. Their kid's area, Acorn Acres, features the other 2 new rides ( Frog Hopper and Tea Cups) as well as their family coaster, Zoom, which for it's type looks better than average; their are also a few other kiddie rides.

They are adding another new thrill ride next month. I have already ridden the type at this year's Rose Festival, and it is fantastic. I don't know it's called, but it is akin to a floorless Huss Frisbee that has a higher angle of elevation, while still not going completely upside down. This will be the Screamin' Eagle at my park
and will have me there a lot this summer.

As for those rumors, I could only find summer staff who had no clue as to what the future holds. There is easily room for any number of those rumored rides, depending upon how much picnic area they are willing to part with. And there are areas undeveloped as well.It was suggested I return in the fall, when the rides are closed, as that is the slowest time of year in the office. I will return many times before that.

formally known as Coasterbob.

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