Thrill-riders stream into Washington County Fair despite recent tragedy in Ohio

Thursday was opening day at the Washington County Fair in Hillsboro. (KATU Photo)

The Washington County Fair in Hillsboro opened its gates Thursday and thrill-ride seekers streamed in despite a deadly accident on a ride in Ohio earlier this week.

"It’s not going to stop me from enjoying myself at the fair; you know, freak accidents happen. I feel terrible about the families that were affected, but I’m just going to go and ride some rides," said Colin Therien of Beaverton.

An 18-year-old man was killed at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus after the "Fire Ball" ride malfunctioned Wednesday night. In response, similar rides manufactured by the same company are being shut down around the country while an investigation is conducted. One of those rides is the "Screamin' Eagle" at Oaks Amusement Park in Southeast Portland, which is shut down until further notice.

The "Fire Ball" ride is made by Dutch manufacturer KMG, which also built the "Freak Out" at the Washington County fair. That ride has been deemed safe, and fair-goers are lining up for their chance to take a spin.

"I’m not going to lie; it was in the back of my head when I was on the rides. I was definitely thinking about that but it is what it is, you can’t live in fear right?" said Julene Kanake of Newberg.

Others are relying on their instincts before stepping onto a carnival ride.

"I guess that’s what I look for: does the attendant seem like they’re with it? Are they doing their job, and they’re being attentive? Then that’s good enough for me," said Amber Matz of Beaverton.

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