Threats of violence abruptly shuttered this year's only officially-sanctioned Outer East Portland Rose Festival Event, the 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade – but it didn't stop hundreds of people from celebrating the "spirit of the celebration" anyway, 2.8 miles south of its planned location.
Just four days before a year of planning would have led to the 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade on April 29, threats of disruption leading to violence – made by multiple groups – led organizers to quickly cancel both the parade, and the Multicultural Celebration at Eastport Plaza that was to follow.
"We are deeply disappointed that the agendas of these outside groups have so regrettably impacted East Portland and the 82nd Avenue of Roses community," remarked a representative of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association.
"Speaking for myself, the cancellation of the parade is distressing," Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish told THE BEE after hearing the news.
"The biggest losers in this madness are the working families in East Portland who love the parade and the carnival; it is outrageous that this parade was targeted," seethed Fish, who has marched in several parades. "The parade must not die, and I hope it comes back next year – bigger and stronger than ever, and it has my full support."
Celebration Cruise-In continues
Even though the parade and carnival had been cancelled, on the morning of Saturday, April 29, factions were gathering on N.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses near Glisan Street in Montavilla Park, exchanging harsh words and posturing, as they readied to take to the street in a protest, apparently of each other.
At the same time, thanks to last-minute arrangements by residents and businesspeople near S.E. 82nd, hundreds of people were enjoying the sunny day at the annual Avenue of Roses Cruise-In – hastily moved a half-mile into Clackamas County, in the Krispy Kreme Donuts parking lot.
"We have been putting on the car show as part of the 'Multicultural Celebration' at Eastport Plaza for many years," reflected Kimberly Finlay, while her cruise-in impresario partner, Ted Finlay, was helping an entry.
Unlike in many other cruise-in events, many of these participants ride, as an entry, in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, before they motor back to the car show, she said.
"The hard-working volunteers who put on the parade and celebration had no control over those negative outside groups," Finlay said. "So, all of us in the cruising community felt that it's really important to keep the spirit of this great community event going, honoring the 82nd Avenue of Roses."
Ted Finlay joined her, and said it was amazing that, on just a couple days' notice, they'd been able to secure a new location; and that so many of the entrants – 160 at last count – had still come to the improvised new location.
"We're so thankful for everyone who showed up, and for the wonderful support we're getting from community," he said.
As with their past car shows, the funds raised by this one went to support "Operation Safe Canine Animal Rescue" ("OSCAR") dog rescue and adoptions, Ted Finlay reminded.
Meantime, up near N.E. Gilsan, those confrontational protesters met at the park, and then marched southward. While the fun family cruise-in at Krispy Kreme was taking place, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers were monitoring the opposing demonstration groups.
As the groups began to spill out of the park at 11:13 a.m., officers got them to separate on their walk on the sidewalks, one of them on the east side, and the other group on the west side of 82nd. By 11:17 a.m. the officers' attempt to keep the groups separated broke down, and groups intermingled on the west side of street.
A man later identified as 44-year-old Luis E. Marquez, draped a colorful pumpkin costume, was arrested at 1:15 a.m. for Disorderly Conduct, and was found to be carrying a collapsible baton. After his arrest and booking at Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 12:57 p.m., he was "Released on his Own Recognizance" later that day.
A little after noon, officers were able to wind down the southbound strolling protest action on 82nd Avenue of Roses at S.E. Francis Street, just north of Eastport Plaza. "We offered TriMet bus rides back to Montavilla Park from Eastport Plaza for those interested, after the long march," revealed Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Peter Simpson. "Some accepted, others declined."
Just after 1:00 p.m., back at Montavilla Park, officers took two people into custody: 23-year-old Shayne Sellers, for Criminal Mischief II and Theft III; and 19-year-old Zoe McClain, on two counts Assaulting a Public Safety Officer. Sellers was booked and "Released on his Own Recognizance", and McClain posted bail, and was released later that day.
Other than a lot of shouting and some pushing – with police confiscating some potential weapons, and making those three arrests – the disturbance ended as the protesters finally dispersed.
Although some involved with the decade-old "82nd Avenue of Roses Parade and Carnival" expressed fears that the celebration could not survive its abrupt cancellation this year, the community spirit found a way to put on the car show anyway. Combined with the supportive comments from the police, city officials, and residents of East Portland, that left hope that there might indeed be another parade and carnival on S.E. 82nd Avenue next year.