#29 Oaks Park

For many of the same reasons that the Portland Rose Festival Fun Center sucks, Oaks Amusement Park on the East Bank of Portland’s Sellwood Bridge sucks and should be strictly avoided.* Like the Fun Center, there are indeed corn dogs, toothless carnies, shoddy rides and the faint aroma of vomit in the air. In addition, the name “Oaks Amusement Park” implies that there is actually some sort of amusement to be had here. There is one critical difference which propels Oaks Park into its own realm of suckiness – this difference is that Oaks Park is permanent.

The “park” has been in operation since 1905 (yes – gasp! – over 100 years), and probably wore out its welcome sometime in the 1980’s. I imagine that many moons ago, Oaks Park was a real attraction and has been the source of some good memories for many families. I’ll even admit to having a few happy childhood memories there – memories that are only slightly marred by the sight/smell of regurgitated curly fries on the carpet of my parent’s station wagon.

So my advice is this: folks seeking real amusement should steer clear. For those craving corn dogs, those who are impervious to nausea or perhaps those looking to abduct a small child, this is your Disneyland.

*The Oaks Park Roller Rink is exempt from this judgment. Where else can you lace up a pair of wheels and roll around to the tunes of a Wurlitzer?

9 thoughts on “#29 Oaks Park

  1. You are a real tool! Oaks Park is a great place to go and take your kids for some great family fun for an affordable price. Take your stupid reviews some place else!

  2. The bumper cars are fantastic at Oaks, I’ll get a ride bracelet, prefunk that s**t hard, take turns as scorekeeper and turn the bumper cars into a competitive sport.

  3. The Oaks Park experience is not meant to be the modern super techno experience of today’s modern over-blown “amusement parks” built for kids (and adults) with no imagination. And as such, it should be respected and patronized for what it is. The skating rink is the best roller rink within at least 200 miles and enjoys an iconic status among many old timey skaters and serious competitive skaters alike. Please cut Oaks Park some slack and be glad it’s still around!

  4. Eh, at least the park served as a repository for vintage steam locomotives which have since been rescued and restored (which in itself is something about Portland that rocks), now in the roundhouse in the Brooklyn train yard. These trains would probably have been scrapped otherwise.

  5. Long ago memories of doing the Hokie Pokie on the roller rink and skating the woopie bumps at the end of the rink.

    I also remember my brother contributing to the smell of vomit when he lost his mostly orange pop lunch after several rides.

    Having recently lived in Sellwood, the Oaks Bottom wetlands and the river banks nearby are great Portland pluses.

  6. Yes but it’s Classic Portland suckage, not New Portland suckage and for that reason I have affection for it. Do keep an eye on your kids though and bring your own food.

  7. Oh wow.

    When I read Oaks Park coming up on my Reader, the VERY STRONG memory of the odor of vomit came to mind. One would think that with all the rain Portland gets, that smell would wash away. But it doesn’t.

    The other part that scares me about Oaks; while it is ‘permanent’, it has that same slap-together aura that the traveling carnies have. One would think that there would be some stability in a ‘permanent’ amusement park?

    • John,

      Awesome observation about the travelling carnie level of suckage! I still don’t understand why there isn’t an even halfway decent theme park in our fair state. The closest we get is Wild Waves just south of Seattle—and it’s vaguely mediocre at best.

      Freaking Cincinatti has Kings Island, for pity’s sake, Kansas City has Worlds of Fun…you’d think with the way the PDC loves to spend tax $$$ on expensive public/private stuff, they’d build us something nice, like a REAL amusement park. But no, we get super lucky with soccer!

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