‘Scaregrounds’ raises spirits at shuttered Oaks Park

If you missed it, get a look at the all new Hallowe’en attraction that opened there October 9 …

Its rail cars have been put in storage for the season, and the historic Oaks Amusement Park miniature railway locomotive awaits winterization, having not made a single trip in 2020.

Story and photos by David F Ashton

The staff of historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park had hopes they’d be open, at least on a limited basis, during their 2020 season, back when they were installing their new thrill ride, AtmosFEAR, earlier this summer. By late summer, it became clear that, due to COVID-19 coronavirus governmental restrictions – including Multnomah County continuing to hold onto their “Level 1 Opening” designation for the area – it wasn’t going to be a reality.

But, SCROLL DOWN and see two unique attractions
that are coming to the Oaks Amusement Park grounds!

At this time of year, Oaks Park Association Marketing and Events Director Emily MacKay would be getting ready to again host their lively Oktoberfest – but with the park shuttered, she’s now can only look forward to their 2021 season.

“This closure means that, for the first time in our 115-year history, through floods, wars, and economic ups and downs, Oaks Park will miss an amusement park season,” said long-time spokesperson Emily McKay.

Cloaked in smoke through late summer, the Oaks Amusement Park midway looks desolate, without families there to enjoy it.

“This setback comes after months of preparation, using evidence-based advice from global attractions industry leadership, to create a solid plan implementing safety precautions for our guests including social distancing measures, mask requirements, increased sanitation, guest temperature checks, staff health checks, capacity limitations, contactless payment, and online reservations,” McKay pointed out.

Following the same rules allowed the Oregon Zoo to have a limited opening; and Oaks Park had hoped to be considered a similar facility – it is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization – but the State didn’t agree. Oaks Park Roller Rink is also closed, until further notice.

Those who purchased 2020 season Oaks Park ride bracelets online should hang on to them, noted McKay, because they’ll all be honored during the next operating season. To keep up-to-date, visit the Oaks Amusement Park website: CLICK HERE.

Hallowe’en attraction started October 9

The cannibal are at work in an all new Hallowe’en attraction, Scaregrounds, now running at Oaks Park!

The “Scaregrounds Haunted Drive-Thru” kicked off on October 9, McKay announced.

“The last time we had a haunted house was back in 2006, and we’ve been wanting for a long time to bring Hallowe’en fun back to ‘The Oaks’,” McKay said. “We’re excited to be partnering with the Scaregrounds team from Vendetta Productions Inc. to offer Portland this new kind of Hallowe’en experience,” she told East Portland News.

According to Vendetta Productions’ partner, Alex Fulmor they moved seven truck loads of equipment, props and costuming to the park’s grounds, and have built five unique haunted attractions from which guests can choose to experience spooky thrills, all from the safety of their own vehicles.

It looks as if this unfortunate young lady has stumbled into “Site 13” at the Oaks Park Scaregrounds.

The choose-your-terror themes include:

  • The Condemned – a cannibal village runs amuck
  • Night Terrors – demonic clowns terrorize a town
  • The Green Run Asylum – where the criminally insane are “in charge”
  • The Haunting at Hill House – a living ghost story
  • Site 13 – which is a mutants and zombie outbreak.


“Each is attraction is a standalone show; and each show features an introductory video, followed by two scenes, played out in live action with actors and special effects,” Fulmor explained.

“We’ve blended together our spectacular, theatrical haunted houses with audio tracks, fully produced like a radio play, and live actual actors with special effects to create unique performance art, featuring a nightly cast and crew of about 60,” Fulmor explained.

Meet two of the charming residents featured in “The Condemned” village.

This is a “windows-rolled-up” event; guests will not be in contact with actors or staff, and, all staff are strictly following COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing and personal protective equipment use.

The shows run the long weekends of October 9-11, October 15-18, and from  October 22 through November 1. There are special family-friendly matinee performances on October 24 and 31 from 5:00 until 7:30 p.m.

Admission is by advance ticket purchase only; for more information, and to purchase tickets, visit their official website: CLICK HERE.

Multnomah County Mini-Fair
and Harvest
fest goes virtual

Even though the fall version of their event was confined to the historic Oaks Amusement Park Dance Pavilion says Friends of Multnomah County Fair Board President Larry Smith, no visitors were allowed to come in and see it..

“And, regarding the Multnomah County Fair, it was scheduled for Saturday October 17,” McKay reported.

After long negotiations with the State of Oregon, sadly, permitting wasn’t given to hold the event in such a way that permitted anyone, other than MCF staff, to enter the building — and then, no more than ten people at a time.

We were allowed in for a few moments that day; look for our story about how this fair “went virtual”, coming soon.

For more information Friends of Multnomah County Fair website: CLICK HERE.

By the way, here’s the address:

7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Portland, OR 97202 

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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