Division Street diversity to be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 17
The diversity of the communities along Division Street will be celebrated when TriMet opens its new FX — Frequent Express — line between Portland and Gresham on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Culturally oriented festivals and events will be held at multiple locations along the line. Rides on TriMet's new 60-foot articulated buses will be free, with regular service beginning Sunday.
Division Street is one of the most diverse transportation corridors in the region. It connects people of many cultures with employment, shopping and educational opportunities. For example, the Jade District along Southeast 82nd Avenue includes one of the most diverse U.S. Census tracts in the state of Oregon, with a population primarily composed of immigrants and people of color. Various languages are spoken at homes in this area, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian.
When Division Transit Project construction began in early 2020, TriMet launched the "Division of Possibilities" marketing campaign. It reflected the diversity of the corridor while encouraging people to support Division Street businesses during construction. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. It initially dealt a blow to some restaurants and retailers; it also allowed crews to accelerate construction in areas with less foot traffic. With some businesses temporarily closed, crews were able to complete construction activities with less disruption for some customers and employees.
Now, businesses are back in full swing on Division Street, which is once again a lively, thriving destination.
Some have dubbed Division the "Education Corridor." Riders on the FX2-Division line will be able to reach K-12 schools as well as multiple higher education institutions. They include Portland State University in downtown Portland, Oregon Health & Science University at South Waterfront, Warner Pacific College, Portland Community College Southeast on Division Street, and Mount Hood Community College via a connection with TriMet's Line 20 in Gresham.
"We are excited to see this significant investment coming to Gresham," said Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall. "The new FX line connects our community to educational and work opportunities throughout the region. This rapid, reliable bus service will also improve the region's link to our vibrant downtown."
Public invited to festivals
TriMet FX will be a new type of improved bus service that will be faster and more reliable than standard bus service. To celebrate the launch of its first FX line — FX2-Division — and this historic new service, TriMet will host a grand opening Saturday, Sept. 17.
Festivals will be held at three locations along the route, with the earliest one starting at 11 a.m. and the latest open until 5 p.m. The festivals will feature food, arts, live music, multicultural presentations, special promotions and more. Admission to the sites is free.
"We hope to see everyone come out for this fun, free and family-friendly celebration as we commemorate what really is a new and exciting type of bus service for TriMet," said Lonny Nielsen, TriMet marketing and business development director. "Each location will have a festival feel that highlights the neighborhoods, cultures and diversity of the Division Street corridor."
Each festival will feature local cuisine, live entertainment and a giant paint-by-numbers mural. There are special incentives to visit each event location, too. Visit at least two of the three locations to earn prizes such as a Salt & Straw 2-for-1 ice cream certificate for its Southeast Division location, a one-of-a-kind FX bus Lego set sourced by Bricks & Minifigs Portland, or limited-edition event posters created by artist Paul Lanquist.
Highlighting the three festival sites will be a chance to participate in a sizable paint-by-numbers mural activity. Created by Portland artist Angelina Marino-Heidel, the mural is designed to unify the FX2-Division line with the community. Each of the large panels at the three event sites will be joined together and installed this fall on the Cascadia Behavioral Health building at Southeast 42nd Avenue and Division Street.
In coordination with the FX2-Division Grand Opening Celebration, the Division Midway Alliance Festival of Nations also will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Planned Parenthood parking lot at 14601 S.E. Division St. This event is one of the longest-running and largest multicultural festivals east of I-205. This event celebrates the diversity of the Division Midway district, featuring cultural foods, performances, entertainment, vendors and community services.
Many businesses and restaurants along Division Street also will feature special promotions as part of the grand opening celebration.
"The Division Transit Project was never just a transit project, but a holistic community development project," said Metro Councilor and APANO Community Development Director Duncan Hwang. "This celebration is a community celebration to reflect the vibrancy, vitality and diversity of the Division Street corridor."
Sept. 17 festivals
Locations and schedules for festivals:
• OMSI Bridge Lot: Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. This festival will feature the My People's Market — a reimagined marketplace that brings a diverse collection of the Portland area's entrepreneurs, makers and artists together, as well as food and beverages. Entertainment includes live music by local soul band Bridge City Revival. (2201 S.E. Water Ave.)
• PCC Southeast: Open noon-5 p.m. The PCC Festival Marketplace will showcase Asian-inspired food and entertainment along with other neighborhood businesses and nonprofit organizations. Summit Washu Martial Arts Academy and the White Lotus Dragon and Lion Dance group are among the performers featured throughout the day. (2305 S.E. 82nd Ave. and Division St.)
• Gresham Farmers' Market: Open noon-4 p.m. FX buses will drop people at the Gresham Central Transit Center, where entertainers will greet them. A special trolley and vintage bus will transport them to the Gresham Farmers Market. One of the largest markets in the region, it features local produce, fruit, flowers, nursery stock, handcrafted food items and more. Live musical performances include accordion quartet Paper Bellows and the Americana sounds of the JT Trawick Band. The market location is a short 6-minute, one-third-mile walk from the transit center. (401 N.E. Second St.)
FX-2 Division Grand Opening Celebration sponsors
Presenting Sponsor: Raimore Construction
Mission Square Retirement
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