After a century of free parking, Oaks Park imposes daily fee

Find out what hard realities led this nonprofit organization to start charging for parking …

When next visiting Oaks Amusement Park, look for parking meters – like these, near the front gates.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Like everything else in this inflationary era, a hundred year tradition of offering free parking at Oaks Amusement Park came to an end at the start of 2023.

Brandon Roben, the Chief Executive Officer of Oaks Park Association, the nonprofit that now owns and operates the park, provided frank answers to our questions.

Q  How did the Oaks Park Association Board of Directors come to decide to charge for parking?

A  Being the only major attraction in the area to not charge for parking, the topic has come up many times over the years. More recently, the Board and senior staff worked with amusement park design consultants as part of our master planning process. After paid parking was incorporated into the master plan recommendations, we commissioned a feasibility study to see if it was a good fit.

Numerous parking meter kiosks are located along the west side of the parking lots, such as this one.

Q  In what ways will the revenue from parking help The Oaks meet its mission?

A  It’s long been our mission to preserve The Oaks for generations to come.  Unfortunately, the older the park gets, the more challenging and the more costly it is to repair, renovate, and restore.

Unlike many nonprofits, The Oaks Park Association doesn’t rely on fundraising or government funding (with the exception of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic); we support ourselves almost entirely on our operating revenue. Every extra dollar we generate directly helps us maintain and improve The Oaks.

Q  Will a parking fee only apply during your “regular season” – or year ’round, 24-7, for all parking spaces?

A  Parking fees will be in place year around, 24/7, for all of our over 850 marked parking stalls – as well as additional unmarked overflow locations.

Q  Will those who are attending activities put on by groups or organizations renting facilities at The Oaks also be required to pay for parking?

A  Yes, unless they are arriving by bus. Complimentary bus parking is available, when arranged in advance.

Q  What is the amount of the parking fee?

Daily Base Rate: $3
Daily Peak* Rate: $5
Monthly Unlimited Permit: $13
Quarterly Unlimited Permit: $33

*Peak Rates are in effect before 4:45 p.m. on all Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from March 25, 2023, through October 31, 2023, and on Special Event days (4th of July, Oktoberfest, etc.).

When you come, first park, then pay. Use one of the several self-service parking kiosk meters, or use a mobile device online at Only credit/debit cards are accepted for payment of parking fees. Getting a receipt is optional; payment is tracked via vehicle license plate. Failure to pay the parking fee will result in penalties.

Regular visitors may purchase monthly or quarterly permits allowing unlimited parking, subject to parking space availability at the time of arrival.

Located in high-traffic locations, you’ll find two parking meter devices, side by side. Remember, these meters cannot take cash!

Q  Will those who purchase Oaks Amusement Park tickets in advance, online, also be able to pay for parking in advance?

A  While patrons will have the ability to pay in advance, we discourage paying for parking before your vehicle is in a designated parking stall.  All of our parking is first-come, first-served, and we do occasionally reach capacity!  Paying for parking in advance does not reserve a spot for you.

Even with the new parking fee, Oaks Amusement Park is still a great value destination for fun, safe, family entertainment this spring and summer. Learn more – and buy tickets online and skip the box office lines – by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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