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Oregon Vortex reopens to locals by reservation

The Oregon Vortex outside Gold Hill has reopened, but with a drastic change in format.

Rather than having up to 400 people from around the world stream through daily, the oddball roadside attraction is accepting reservations for groups of up to 10 people, and all visitors must be residents of Jackson or Josephine counties.

The limited number allows for social distancing and extra cleaning measures.

“With private tours being the only real option right now, it opens up the area for a more personal approach,” said Elena Cooper, manager of the Oregon Vortex.

A group can roam the site for an hour, climbing inside the steeply tilted House of Mystery and experimenting with optical illusions, including a ramp where balls appear to roll uphill. The hour of site exploration is followed by a half hour in the gift shop.

Each group will be accompanied by a guide. The classic lecture tour will be available but not required.

For the first time, a group could book the site for private use for the whole day by reserving multiple time slots.

The Oregon Vortex closed in mid-March due to COVID-19 fears — one of the first in a wave of business and events closures that swept Southern Oregon and the rest of the U.S.

Most of Oregon, including Jackson County, is now in phase one of the state’s reopening plan.

Gov. Kate Brown is asking Oregonians to limit nonessential travel, wear face masks in public and practice social distancing.

Oregon Vortex management is keeping a close eye on Oregon rules and regulations about reopening and, once appropriate, will start taking reservations from the rest of the state, country and world, Cooper said.

Now in its 90th year of operation, the Oregon Vortex is located at 4303 Sardine Creek Left Fork Road outside Gold Hill.

Reserving access to the Oregon Vortex and gift shop for an hour and a half costs $234. Adults 18 and older will be required to present photo identification showing they live in Jackson or Josephine county.

See oregonvortex.com for more information or to make a reservation.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Elena Cooper make a broom stand alone in the House of Mystery at The Oregon Vortex Tuesday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune