Rose Festival ‘business as usual’ despite concerns

The Starlight Parade and Run are Saturday night

A float along the route of the Starlight Parade through downtown Portland, May 30, 2015 (KOIN)
A float along the route of the Starlight Parade through downtown Portland, May 30, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than 300,000 people are expected to flock downtown Saturday for the Starlight Parade, just one of many big Rose Festival events happening in Portland in the first weekend of June.

It’s all happening amid plans for several rallies downtown that may threaten the public’s safety. On Sunday, two opposing rallies are planned for Terry Schrunk Plaza and Chapman Square are expected to be contentious.

Local and federal law enforcement will be downtown for those events where dozens of groups including anti-Trump activists, Rose City Anifa, Direct Action Alliance and Fascists out of PDX are expected to face off.

Despite those concerns, Rose Festival organizers say it will be “business as usual” for Saturday’s Starlight Parade and Run, as well as other events going on throughout the weekend.

Rose Festival officials say events will go on as planned, posting this message online:

Recent events in Portland have led to rumors that the Rose Festival is considering cancelling its popular parades due to safety concerns. This is not true. The Starlight Parade, Junior Parade and Grand Floral Parade lineups are filled with entries that will delight and inspire festival-goers. As always, the Rose Festival will work closely with City leaders, Portland Police and other public agencies to ensure the comfort and safety of festival-goers and participants.”

Friday is “Free until Three Day” for City Fair, so from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 2, folks can get in free and just pay for food and rides.

 

The weekend’s main event, the 40th annual Starlight Parade, will follow a different route this year.

“A lot of traditional hangers and campers are going to have to be aware we are no longer on Stark Street and 10th Avenue,” Rose Festival Foundation PR Manager Rich Jarvis said.

The change in route is due to the Portland Streetcar, which can’t run safely with large crowds around it.

Portland police said they haven’t heard any threats against the Starlight Parade and expect everything to go smoothly.

Jarvis said they will be ready to deal with disruptions if anything unexpected should happen.

“We’re working very closely with the police department,” Jarvis said. “If we get some kind of notice from the police department that has to be dealt with, we will react accordingly.”

Portland’s Elvis impersonator/street performer John Schroder, is the Grand Marshal. The Starlight Run also features a costume contest on the theme of “Brilliant.” The winner gets two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines.

Other weekend events include a Dragon Boat Art Show, One More Time concert, CountryFest and a Sir Mix-A-Lot concert at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.