Hazelnut Grove festival celebrates camp’s progress

Organizers said about 100 people had already visited by 6 p.m.

Community members came out for "Groove in the Grove" at Hazelnut Grove homeless camp in North Portland, July 23, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People living in the Hazelnut Grove homeless camp in North Portland hosted a festival Saturday to thank those who support them.

The event near N Greeley Avenue featured music, food and other activities. Organizers said about 100 people had already visited by 6 p.m.

A woman gets her face painted at "Groove in the Grove", July 23, 2016. (KOIN)
A woman gets her face painted at “Groove in the Grove”, July 23, 2016. (KOIN)

Pastor Jose Serrica, who lives at the camp, said the event allowed people to express their creativity and apply it towards something the community could enjoy.

“It was one way of saying thank you to a lot of people that really supported us and helped us out along the way,” Serrica said.

Hazelnut Grove’s residents came a long way in the last 9 months: from living in tents, to constructing a community with wooden structures, a kitchen and 29 inhabitants.

As the celebration went on, Serrica said he was thinking of other homeless people struggling in the community. Specifically, those living on the Springwater Corridor.

“As an activist I get angry because my heart, my desire, my purpose in life is to serve these people,” Serrica said. “I live with them, so I feel those things they feel.”

Mayor Charlie Hales’ office said the city made an agreement with festival organizers regarding noise and behavior, although no official event permits were issued.

The event is expected to go until 8 p.m.

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