Why some classic merry-go-rounds are being replaced at Portland parks

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The classic metal merry-go-round is a nostalgic piece of childhood found at countless parks across the country. But playing on them is a tradition future kids may not get to experience.

Some astute parents out there have noticed the merry-go-round has disappeared from some Portland parks.

Andrea Catlett explores parks all over the metro area with her two sons, William and Grant. She keeps a blog about those visits and she's sure to mention which parks have classic merry-go-rounds.

"There's not that many of them," she said. "That's why I specifically say in my blog, go to these places, because you can't find them."

The merry-go-rounds are slowly being replaced by newer inventions that serve the same purpose but are considered safer.

"Any playground you see around the city today looks a lot different than fifty, twenty, even ten years ago," said Portland Parks & Recreation Spokesman Mark Ross. "Styles and designs evolve. Guidelines evolve and we evolve along with them."

Portland isn't actively trying to replace every merry-go-round in the city. But the metal contraptions are prone to rust. When they deteriorate too much they get replaced. The city recently replaced three merry-go-rounds in Columbia Park, Columbia Annex, and Gammans Park. Two of the most common replacements, the OmniSpin and Supernova are being placed in various parks that lose merry-go-rounds.

"I like the new structures," said Catlett.

But she's still nostalgic for the old when she sees her kids play.

"They've gone to some parks I went to as a little kid and that's the most meaningful thing ever, like 'I played on that.'"

The city says it couldn't replace the merry-go-rounds with exact replicas even if it wanted to. They say manufacturers aren't making them anymore because they're considered unsafe.