New Oaks Amusement Park thrill ride arrives*

See what the new ‘extreme ride’ called ‘AtmosFEAR’ looks like, as it arrives, in pieces, from the manufacturer in Italy. *Some assembly required …

The historic Oaks Amusement Park midway serves as the staging area for the large and small parts used to assemble a new “extreme thrill ride” called AtmosFEAR.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After riding the waves across the Atlantic Ocean from a manufacturer in Italy, making a trip through the Panama Canal, and landing in Seattle, trucks started pulling the six 40-foot shipping containers into the parking lot at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park on May 26.

“We’re excited that our newest attraction, called “AtmosFEAR” – similar to, and replacing, the renowned ‘Screamin’ Eagle’ ride – is finally here!” exclaimed Oaks Amusement Park Chief Executive Officer Brandon Roben.

Workers guide another “leg” of the ride safely down onto cribbing.

The difference between AtmosFEAR, and the ride it replaces, is that can be set to swing riders completely over the top, making a 360° arc. “I’ve ridden it, and in this mode, it truly is an extreme thrill ride,” Roben told East Portland News.

But, because the ride uses computerized controls, it can also be set so the main arm instead swings about 180°, for the less-adventurous, and shorter in stature, riders.

-3 To be located in the attraction’s loading area, this “test seat” will ensure that riders will be safely secure – while swinging head over heels.

-4 In the foreground is one of the several tables of small parts; the blue rolls in the background are flexible LED lighting panels that will be attached to the ride’s supports.

During the unloading, The Oaks’ historic exhibit building served as shelter for numerous boxes of parts, controllers, and lighting panels.

>> To watch a time lapse video on YouTube of workers doing on-the-ground assembly of parts, before the ride is erected, CLICK HERE.

Planning for opening day
With COVID-19 coronavirus “Phase 1 reopening” still in place in Multnomah County, and no signs of soon moving to “Phase 2”, Roben said the season’s opening date remains uncertain.

“When Multnomah County goes into ‘Phase 2 reopening’, we’ll be able to open; but on a very limited basis, with our capacity set at only 250 people.

“But, for a facility like ours with a very large outdoor grounds – as also is the case with the Oregon Zoo or Salem’s Enchanted Forest – a cap of 250 people won’t permit many paying customers inside, because the staff is also included in that total,” Roben pointed out.

After the parts for the ride completed the journey by boat across two oceans, workers at The Oaks carefully lift another steel leg from a shipping container.

So, he said, their executives are in contact with other large attractions in Oregon, working on strategies to reopen sometime this summer.

“We’ve considered potentially shorter ‘attendance blocks’, where we would host 250 people for shorter times; but that brings us other logistical challenges,” Roben observed. “While we’re eager to have families come visit us again, we want to do it safely – by having a sensible capacity that allows us to enforce social distancing.”

To use online ticketing
Instead of having long lines at the ticket booths, and potentially having to turn away families who’ve traveled some distance to visit the park, they’re likely to offer online-only ticket sales this season. “It helps us gauge the number of guests coming on any given day,” Roben explained, “So, when we’ve reached capacity, tickets will no longer be available online for that day.”

Additionally, because people can see, online, how many tickets have been sold for a given day, they can easily choose a less busy day to come and enjoy the park.

“While other ticketed outdoor attractions are scrambling to put in place online ticketing systems, Oaks Amusement Park launched our system at the start of their 2019 season; so it is tested and ready to go,” Roben said.

To check for updates on the Oaks Amusement Park website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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