A year ago, due to stringent state and county COVID-19 pandemic regulations, only a handful of Eastmoreland neighbors "paraded" – faces covered, and spread out a block apart – on July 4 [as reported last year in THE BEE].
However, this year, one could almost hear a cheer go up from neighbors, as lawn signs announced that the Eastmoreland Independence Day Parade was back "on" this year.
Because some COVID-19 constraints were still in place, there were no hot dogs and sodas, provided by Woodstock stores in the Duniway Elementary School parking lot again this year. Expect them in 2022!
On this year's Fourth of July, neighbors gathered along S.E. Reed College Place – some with face coverings, but most unmasked – and everyone seemed excited about the return of this annual tradition.
"I'm sort of organizing the parade here," said Andrew Centibear. "Steve Calderaro, the coordinator of the 2019 parade, couldn't be here – so I'm filling in for him today.
"It came together as kind of an 'impulsive notion' just a few weeks ago – as COVID vaccinations are increasing, and outdoor activities are again allowed," Centibear told THE BEE. "Although it's 'slimmed down' a little bit, it does look like we're going to have a pretty good parade!"
A line of antique and specialty vehicles was already lined up, with parade participants behind them, down the block as far as the eye could see.
"Our community let us know that they want the parade, that they love the parade – and, in fact, that they need the parade this year! So here we are," remarked Centibear. "It's a sign of 'returning to normal', I think."
With the Portland Police Bureau officially disbanding its Traffic Division, including their Motorcycle Unit, to try to staff regular city patrols with a dwindled police force, it was unclear if the parade could have an escort. However, PPB Motorcycle Officers rolled up, they were met with friendly smiles, waves, and greetings.
"It's really good to see our Portland Police Motorcycle Officers celebrating here with us today, and helping to keep our parade safe," Centibear exclaimed. "And, speaking for myself, I'm grateful for all of the members of our Portland Police Bureau, and all they do for both our neighborhood, and the greater community, every day."
At 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 4th, the Eastmoreland Independence Day Parade stepped out, headed north. As usual, there wasn't any marching – it's mostly just a casual saunter – but the joy expressed by both the participants and those gathered to watch was unmistakable.For a sense of the celebration that day, click here for a brief exclusive BEE video of the parade – youtu.be/wzb9FCmH8dw
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