PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - For more than 80 years, the Jantzen Beach Carousel brought joy to Portland area families. Now, a local group wants to restore the century-old carousel and bring it back to life.

Restore Oregon, the nonprofit organization that's spearheading the rebirth of the carousel, made their announcement on Monday at the Oregon Historical Society.

The Jantzen Beach Carousel, which was built in 1904, installed in 1921 and came to Portland in 1928 as part of the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park, was dismantled in 2012 and has been in storage ever since.

Restore Oregon is trying to raise money and find sites, so many more generations can ride the carousel again.

The nonprofit needs money to restore the carousel itself and then to fund a $10 million pavilion to house it.

On Monday, Restore Oregon unveiled three different possible sites and designs. One design would be an urban plaza; the second would be a waterfront setting, either in Portland or Vancouver; and the third possibility is to erect the carousel in a park.

The nonprofit reports that cities across the United States are restoring old carousels or putting up new ones as part of their economic plans.

According to the nonprofit, carousels are money-makers. But it's not just good economics - it's family-friendly, affordable fun.

Community leader and former state Sen. Margaret Carter remembers taking her children to the carousel at Jantzen Beach.

"Nine little kids at home, not a lot of money to do anything with - go to the Jantzen Beach Carousel. It’s exactly what we did. It was affordable," said Carter. "Now I have 26 grandkids and 16 great grandkids, and so I want a place I can take them that I can afford, and this is the place where it should be. The carousel is the place, and I think when you think of the economics of it, when you think of the family friendliness of it and the hard work gone on into this, restoring Oregon’s history should be a sense of pride for all of us and I’m excited."

The nonprofit says it takes more than 200,000 riders a year to make a carousel pencil out in terms of dollars.

The nonprofit is hoping for donations from private citizens, corporations and even local governments.

For more information, visit restoreoregon.org.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(1) comment


Im old now, but I spent many summers at Jantzen Beach riding the roller coaster, the bumper cars, the merry go round and such when I was young. My friends and I would buy a day pass and ride all day and always had a great time. I will never forget the corn dogs, the little games where I could win a fish, or a stuffed animal. It saddens me to have seen that era come to an end. So in hearing about the possibility of restoring the merry go round, Im happy once more. In all her grace and glory, she should stand proud, dazzling like she once did in all her crown of lights and musical attributes. It was a magical time. Seattle has their big Ferris Wheel down on the Pier by the water, Changing the themes and lights with the celebrations for that moment. I think we should celebrate our Merry go round as well. It's a piece of our history, a different time in our lives where things were much simpler and family closeness was valued. When I look back, I remember the animals and how much detailed work went in to creating them. They should live on and still become a valued part of our history.

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