Multnomah Village People On Parade
Fears that ongoing construction along Southwest Capitol Highway might disrupt Multnomah Days were unfounded. The parade and a day's worth of activities went as scheduled and thousands filled the sidewalks of Multnomah Village for several hours on Saturday, August 17.
More than 100 vendors started erecting tents and temporary shelves at 7a.m. Saturday morning. By 10 a.m. a motley throng of several hundred marchers and a handful of vehicles were ready to step off from the south end of the Multnomah Bridge. Southwest Capitol Highway was filled wall-to-wall with people and pets all the way to Southwest 40th Ave.
The two units leading the parade were Portland Fire and Rescue rigs from Station 18 at 8720 SW 30th. Besides dignitaries like Grand Marshall Marianne Fitzgerald, a neighborhood activist persistent in her efforts to make Southwest streets safer, and Rose Festival Queen Aya Brazile, multiple Multnomah Village businesses, schools, churches and organizations fielded informal marching squads. Anyone wishing to march or drive a vehicle in the parade merely had to show up at the staging area and make a donation to Neighborhood House.
Missing from the festivities this year was the usual robust presence of members of the Portland Police Bureau and the sidewalk dining and drinking in front of Renner's Tavern. In the case of the police, a few reserve officers dispensed free ice cream bars but officers who would have attended were needed in downtown Portland for scheduled protests. As for Renners, the restaurant still hasn't been rebuilt from a fire in Spring 2018.
Before Multnomah Days organizers were estimating a turn out of 10,000. Other neighborhood officials predicted 5,000. On Saturday there was no reliable estimate of the crowd size. Some said the sidewalks seemed more crowded than ever before. Don Baack with SW Trails, who's more used to counting miles than crowds was asked, "Five thousand? Ten thousand?"
"Why not say a hundred thousand?" he replied. "Call it the largest crowd ever gathered at one time in Southwest Portland. Ever." And he chuckled.
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