Oaks Park Portland - Oaks Amusement Park Guide. Locals recognize Oaks Park, also known locally as "The Oaks", as a place of fond memories and nostalgia. Oaks Park, in Sellwood, a popular Portland neighborhood, borders the Willamette river on the South end of Downtown Portland. It was built by the Oregon Water Power and Navigation Company and opened on May 30th, 1905 and was once known as the Coney Island of the Northwest. Streetcar amusement parks like Oaks Park were popular back in the day and were partly intended to help increase the ridership along the streetcar lines that existed in Oaks Park back then:
"In 1905, Fred Morris, president of the Oregon Water Power and Railway Company, invested a hundred thousand dollars to develop a forty-four-acre amusement park on the banks of the Willamette River. It was a time when trolley companies occasionally built amusement parks at the end of their lines to increase ticket sales during evenings and weekends, when the trolleys carried fewer passengers. A trolley line ran from downtown Portland to Canemah by way of Oregon City, and Morris located The Oaks at an intermediate point in order to increase short-haul traffic. He also hoped that the park would attract the crowds that were expected to attend the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition a world's fair being constructed in Northwest Portland that would attract 1.6 million people during the four and a half months it was open. Morris chose as the site for The Oaks a small isthmus in the city's Sellwood District, beneath a bluff on the east side of the Willamette River. The site lay partially on a floodplain and was a difficult and costly place to construct a park. With only twenty-one acres suitable for building, nearly every structure at Oaks Park anything that extended beyond the narrow strip of land occupied by the midway had to be constructed on pilings." (Source: Bryan Aalberg at HistoryCoorperative.org)
As one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in the country, the park still maintains a smaller old-timey feel compared to the extreme theme parks of the day. Many Portlanders remember spending time at Oaks Park as a child, and new generations of Portland families visit the park today. Oaks Park celebrated 100 years of continuous operation in 2005, making it among the oldest parks in the United States.
Oaks Park is known for a small amusement park featuring seasonal rides with bumper cars, kiddie rides, classic carnival rides, smaller coasters and thrill rides, and a carousel. The amusement park section of Oaks Park is definitely modest by today's standards, but still loads of fun for local families and visitors. One of the best features of Oaks Park is the Oaks Park Roller Rink. You can come skate at Oaks Park year round, have your birthday party at Oaks Park, and even take skating classes. The large wooden roller skating rink has another amazing vintage feature: the largest remaining pipe organ installed in a skating rink in the world. "The park, being at a very low elevation and adjacent to the Willamette River, is prone to flooding. In the past, flooding was so frequent that the floor of the Oaks Park roller skating rink was put on floating pontoons which keep it safely above the water. When a flood is imminent, the floor is separated from the foundation of the building until the danger of flooding passes, when it is reattached to the building. This last occurred in 1996." (Source: Wikipedia).
The Oaks Park dance historic dance pavilion has been used as the site for dances, weddings, and other events over the years. You can rent Oaks Park or host a group picnic at the park.
About Oaks Park Portland
Oaks Park Skating - Oaks Park Roller Rink
Oaks Amusement Park Rides
Map of Oaks Park Portland - Oaks Amusement Park
Directions to Oaks Park
You can also ride your bike to Oaks Park along the Springwater Corridor Trail.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Oaks Park Portland. if you have photos or stories of Oaks Park you'd like to share with us here on the site, please contact us.
For additional ideas for Portland Attractions, you may also want to visit these pages:
Visit the Portland Oregon Events page for ideas of what to see and do while you are visiting Portland!
Also visit our Portland Music Venues page if you are looking for clubs with Portland live music.
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