Portland Aquarium

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Portland Aquarium
Date opened December 15, 2012
Location 16323 SE McLoughlin, Oak Grove, Oregon, United States
Coordinates 45°24′18″N 122°37′26″W / 45.405°N 122.624°W / 45.405; -122.624Coordinates: 45°24′18″N 122°37′26″W / 45.405°N 122.624°W / 45.405; -122.624
Land area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Floor space 12,500 sq ft (1,160 m2)[1]
Number of species 2,500
Website portlandaquarium.net

The Portland Aquarium is an 12,500-square-foot (1,160 m2) privately owned aquarium in Oak Grove, Oregon, United States that opened to the public on December 15, 2012.[2]


The Portland Aquarium is a private, for-profit aquarium built with funding provided by an investment group. According to the owners, the for-profit model was chosen (instead of a nonprofit organization) to allow the aquarium to be built quickly. The aquarium was constructed in a leased former steakhouse in Oak Grove. It was initially proposed to be called the "Oregon Aquarium."[3]

The Portland Aquarium is a limited liability company whose members are Crystal Covino, Marc Gottlieb, David Rowe and Vince Covino.[4] Vince Covino and his brother, Ammon, also were involved in starting the Idaho Aquarium in Boise and the Austin Aquarium in Texas.[5] The Idaho Aquarium has since been taken over by a new director and new board members, in response to legal problems and controversies involving Ammon Covino and his co-founder, Chris Conk.[6]


The Portland Aquarium features 30 exhibits displaying more than 2,500 species.[2] Animals exhibited include sharks and stingrays, a jellyfish exhibit, a cold water tank with fish found off the Oregon Coast, and warm water tanks and tide pools with tropical fish.[7] In addition to aquatic and marine exhibits, the aquarium includes a rainforest room with animals like tree frogs and exotic birds.[8] The Portland Aquarium is intended to be a “hands-on” educational experience that will provide ample opportunity to pet and feed aquarium animals. Most exhibits will be geared toward children about age 10.[3] The aquarium is located on a two-acre site that is zoned to permit the aquarium to build outdoor exhibits in the future.[7] Proposed future exhibits include a 30,000-gallon shark tank and a seal exhibit.[9]


One of the original co-owners of the Portland Aquarium, Ammon Covino, was arrested on Feb 21, 2013 in Boise, ID on charges of illegally harvesting marine animals.[10] He later pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally obtain sharks and rays from the wild in Florida and was sentenced to a year and one day in prison.[11]

At least two high-ranking employees of the Portland Aquarium, including a staff veterinarian, quit their jobs at the aquarium citing concerns about how the animals were being treated.[12] Along with this, a former employee from the Portland aquarium showed to the Oregonian a death log of animals who had died in the aquarium from February 18 to May 16, 2013. The death log contained over 200 animals that died during that time, causing a lot of controversy and making the Oregon Humane Society launch an investigation to the aquarium.[13] The aquarium has been subject to citizen protests at the site.[14]


  1. ^ "Aquarium brings the ocean to town". portlandtribune.com. Pamplin Media Group. November 20, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Culverwell, Wendy (November 29, 2012). "Portland Aquarium opens Dec. 15". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Harbarger, Molly (July 15, 2012). "Idaho brothers eye Clackamas County site for potential children's aquarium". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ Secretary of State, Oregon. egov.sos.state.or.us http://egov.sos.state.or.us/br/pkg_web_name_srch_inq.show_detl?p_be_rsn=1589060&p_srce=BR_INQ&p_print=FALSE |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2014-10-23. 
  5. ^ Drake, Sarah (6 June 2013). "Portland, Boise aquarium owners bringing one to Austin". Austin Business Journal (Austin). Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Sewell, Cynthia (12/9/13). "Things are going swimmingly for Idaho Aquarium, at last". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 2014-10-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ a b Harbarger, Molly (August 14, 2012). "Oregon Aquarium bringing puffins, hands-on exhibits to SE McLoughlin site". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ Cheesman, Shannon (August 30, 2012). "Old Black Angus restaurant is being turned into an aquarium". KATU. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ Vondersmith, Jason (December 6, 2012). "Brothers hope new aquarium lures families". Portland Tribune. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ Edwards, Victoria (February 21, 2013). "Portland Aquarium co-owner accused of illegally harvesting marine animals for Boise facility". The Oregonian. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Associated Press (12/02/13). "Portland Aquarium co-founder gets prison term in Florida for illegal marine animal shipments". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2014-10-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Edwards, Victoria (2013-08-27). "Portland Aquarium logs 200 marine animal deaths; Humane Society investigates". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2014-10-23. 
  13. ^ Kretzer, Michelle (September 25, 2013), http://www.peta.org/blog/update-hundreds-animals-die-portland-aquarium-austin-may-next/. Retrieved October 11, 2014
  14. ^ Bamesberger, Michael (December 7, 2013). "Protesters say Portland Aquarium co-founder was 'caught red-handed'". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 

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