Portland highlights diversity in 2017 Pride Festival

The Pride Parade started Sunday at 11 a.m.

Portlanders march in the 2017 Trans Pride march as part of the Portland Pride Festival on June 17, 2017. (KOIN)
Portlanders march in the 2017 Trans Pride march as part of the Portland Pride Festival on June 17, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Pride activities were in full swing this weekend in Portland with tens of thousands gathering for various events downtown.

Pride Northwest started organizing the Pride Festival in the mid 1990s and it has been going strong ever since. Organizers said their main focus this year was to provide a number of headliners that would show the diversity of the community in 2017.

“I definitely think in 2017 it’s important to show the world who we are,” Pride Northwest board member Kenty Truong said.

More info on Portland Pride 

Starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Sunday, there were booths and vendors at the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Politics are a hot topic in the LGBTQ community right now so there was a lot of satire, including ads that say “Make America Gay Again,” but attendees are also just happy to be celebrating their community.

“It’s really fun, super accepting, a great community,” Nissa Allen said.

Juan Gresham said it was his first Pride Festival.

“Being gay and being happy about it, it’s not something I can do in most places,” he said.

“We were discussing how lucky we were to live in a place that is so progressive,” Steven Lamontagne said.

One attendee, Avion Reilly, who is originally from Alabama, was also attending for the first time, saying violence against the LGBTQ community kept him away in the past.

“I’m 21 and I haven’t gone to Pride because of what happened in Orlando last year,” Reilly said.

He said with the political climate this year, he couldn’t stay away.

“I have a lot say now and I want to be able to say it with my sisters and my brothers,” Reilly said. “It’s about free love, because everyone should love each other no matter what gender they are.”

Pride events included several marches and the main event — the Portland Pride Parade. The Trans Pride March was Saturday in the North Park Blocks and the Dyke March was Saturday at 6 p.m. starting at SW Pine and Naito in Waterfront Park.

The Pride Parade started at 11 a.m. Sunday in the North Park Blocks and traveled along NW Davis then north on Naito to SW Pine Street where the Pride Festival continued.

The parade featured more than 150 groups.

TriMet expected some service disruption due the marches downtown, mainly between 3:30 and 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.