Portland's shortened, but dry, Rose Parade is a hit
Gray skies, nothing but gray skies … but at least it didn't rain.
The Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade went off without a hitch Saturday morning on its shortened east side route from Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the Lloyd Center. A few families camped out to reserve the best spots along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but there was plenty of room for walkups to see the Rose Princesses, marching bands and flower floats.
Grant Ebright was there with his son Dax on his shoulders. "He hasn't been out much," said Grant of his son. Were his other kids excited? "Oh, they're not excited. My wife is though." The family stood on Northeast Broadway where the parade hit the street. Phoebe Ebright said, "It's been a long time since we've been out as a family, and we had a COVID baby. I haven't been to this for a decade. The attraction is the noise and chaos and colors." They had tickets for the show inside the coliseum but got blocked, so they walked over the Broadway Bridge and decided to stay outside.
Starla Heim was with her sons, Thunder, in her arms, and Lucca, along with daughter Markie and husband Uriah. Heim said she was "super excited" to bring her family, having come to the parade herself as a child. "They're loving the floats, and he's loving the cheerleaders," she said referring to Lucca. "I like the new route. It seems easier; it flows a lot better." Her family had recently lived on the coast, and she was glad to move back to the city. "Everyone's been really nice. They seem glad to be outdoors. I think we all needed this."
Standing in the staging area in the shadow of he Moda Center were Alec Henkins, one of three drum majors, and Kayla Baldwin, a flute player, with the Oregon City High School marching band's Scarlet Brigade. It was Baldwin's first Grand Floral Parade — her family recently moved to Oregon City from New York City — but Henkins played the mellotron here in 2019. The mixture of cheerleaders, musicians, flag wavers and ROTC warriors looked nervous and keen to get moving.
Jessica Sayward was also staging and keeping her horse happy while her posse waited for MAX trains to pass and the coliseum to open. As the Thunder Mountain Rodeo Queen, she said her job was to smile and greet people, but her real horse work is breakaway cattle roping on a ranch in Washington.
After the parade terminated, Portland motorcycle police escorted the floats across the Willamette River where they were parked on Naito Parkway near the fair for Portlanders to see them up close.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.