FAIRVIEW, OR (KPTV) - When warm, sunny weather brought plenty of people to Blue Lake Regional Park on Sunday, some of them were quite surprised to see so much of the park still closed due to the pandemic.
Corey Heikkila, along with friends and family, visited the park to celebrate his son’s third birthday.
“It’s very frustrating to come out here and not be able to do the things we normally do out here,” Heikkila said. “It just seems like they should open up the parks. We’re outside, it’s summer.”
According to Metro, a council serving Greater Portland, which runs the park, many amenities will remain closed until further notice. That includes the playgrounds, splashpad, basketball and volleyball courts and other park features.
The popular swimming beach and the paddle boats will stay closed throughout the entire summer.
“I don’t like that,” said Naomi Baranovich, who came to the park with her husband and two toddler sons. “I disagree with that. Especially because we’re out in nature, out in the open air.”
The continued closures come as COVID-19 cases are again soaring in Oregon; during the state’s fourth surge of the virus.
Public Health Officials say younger people are getting sick, variants of the virus are becoming more prevalent and hospitals again are filling up.
On the flipside, more and more Oregonians are getting vaccinated and scientists say it’s much harder to spread the virus outdoors in open air.
“I don’t understand their logic on it,” Heikkila said. “You know we pay $5 to come in here and now it’s like, we set up our own volleyball net.”
The mass closures made sense early in the pandemic, Heikkila said, but he doesn’t feel like it does anymore.
“There’s a lot of places in the United States that are open, and it just seems like we’re dragging this out,” Heikkila said.
More than a dozen people at the park told FOX 12 they’d rather see the park fully open, but one teen told FOX 12 that some closures do make sense to her.
“I feel like the playgrounds do, but I feel like all the tables and barbeques should be open.”
Most picnic and barbeques are open, but the large, covered group tables and areas remain closed.
The park’s docks are also closed for fishing, but those closures are for safety reasons and the docks are scheduled to be removed.
Metro also has plans to make several park improvements, including replacing aging buildings and putting in a new water line to connect to city water.