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A Vancouver home for storied Jantzen Beach Carousel?

Restore Oregon raising money, looking for location for new pavilion

By , Columbian Staff Writer
Published:
7 Photos
Former Oregon state Sen. Margaret Carter, a longtime fan of the Jantzen Beach Carousel, looks over three proposed design concepts for the return of the carousel during a press conference at the Oregon Historical Society on Monday. Restore Oregon is looking to bring the carousel back to the Portland metro area, and has stated Vancouver is in the running to house the iconic attraction.
Former Oregon state Sen. Margaret Carter, a longtime fan of the Jantzen Beach Carousel, looks over three proposed design concepts for the return of the carousel during a press conference at the Oregon Historical Society on Monday. Restore Oregon is looking to bring the carousel back to the Portland metro area, and has stated Vancouver is in the running to house the iconic attraction. Amanda Cowan/The Columbian Photo Gallery

PORTLAND — A nonprofit conservation group is looking to restore the Jantzen Beach Carousel, and Clark County is one of the possible landing spots.

“Vancouver is very viable,” said Peggy Moretti, executive director of Restore Oregon. “There are really exciting things going on. It’s certainly in the running.”

Restore Oregon held a presentation Monday morning at the Oregon Historical Society to unveil three design concepts for bringing the iconic carousel back to the Portland metro area. The concepts were designed by Portland-based architecture firms SERA and PLACE.

The three options unveiled all included a pavilion. They were:

• A compact pavilion approximately 9,500 square feet.

• A medium-sized pavilion approximately 12,000 square feet.

• A large pavilion with adjacent event space approximately 24,000 square feet.

Moretti said the design concepts are just ideas, and Restore would be willing to mix and match.

“The site will dictate what direction we go,” she said, adding the carousel could be covered with something like a wooden awning or be enclosed fully.

The organization included some examples of other carousels it looked at while planning restoration of the Jantzen Beach Carousel, including the Riverfront Park Looff Carrousel in Spokane.

Restore is looking for an area that not only has room for the carousel and a pavilion, but already has a draw. Moretti said Monday the goal is to bring the carousel to an area that draws 1 million people a year.

“We want a blend,” she said. “There has to be a good hefty volume of tourism and locals, too. We want something that is going to attract groups, and have space for sponsors, a gift shop and event rentals.”

Neither Gramor Development President Barry Cain nor Kirkland Development President Dean Kirkland, two developers who have shaped the Waterfront Vancouver, returned calls for comment Monday.

The goal is to also make it accessible by public transit, accessible for people of all abilities and accessible to people from all different incomes. Moretti said ideally the carousel will cost around $2.50 to $3 a ride.

“It’s not only family-friendly, it’s affordable,” former Oregon state Sen. Margaret Carter said Monday. “Restoring Oregon’s history should be a point of pride for all of us.”

Other possible destinations Moretti said have been discussed are by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Zidell Yards, both in Portland.

Moretti said Restore is looking to team up with developers and either Portland or Vancouver to create a public-private-nonprofit partnership. She said the carousel is in need of some repair, and the organization is working with a conservator to assess how much that will cost. She estimated the full restoration project could cost somewhere around $10 million.

Restore has received roughly $300,000 in funds and in-kind service so far toward restoration efforts for the carousel, which was donated to the organization last year from Edens, the former owner of the Jantzen Beach Center.

The Jantzen Beach Carousel was built by C.W. Parker in 1904 for the St. Louis World’s Fair, and spent some time in Venice, Calif., before becoming a part of the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park in 1928. The park closed in 1970, but the carousel remained until April 22, 2012. It has been dismantled, but is securely stored, Moretti said. The carousel weighs approximately 20 tons and features four rows of 72 horses.

“It’s been in storage for seven years,” said Lee Weinstein, president of Weinstein PR, during Monday’s presentation. “This is the first generation of Portland Vancouver kids who have not experienced the carousel since 1928.”

Columbian Staff Writer

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