‘Very Portland’: Last Thursday kicks off for 2017

NE Alberta Street will be blocked off for Last Thursday again next month

An artist works on a piece during the inaugural Last Thursday of 2017, June 29, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s a sure sign summer is back: This year’s first official Last Thursday on Alberta brought huge crowds and no shortage of things to do.

In May, the city didn’t have the necessary resources to shut the street down and gives vendors permits to set up on the sidewalk.

But this month’s event went on as planned.

“Nothing compares to Last Thursday, the energy is crazy, people are nice,” artist Keefer VanDeBerg told KOIN 6 News. “Best year so far, it’s amazing.”

People walk along NE Alberta Street for the inaugural Last Thursday of 2017, June 29, 2017. (KOIN)

The party stretched 15 blocks with vendors selling everything from BBQ to jewelry and one-of-a-kind art pieces like paintings and unique woodwork.

“I think it’s something that you don’t find in any other city,” first time visitor Michael Burleson said.

It’s been 19 years since Last Thursday became a Portland staple, and some vendors at June’s event said it’s become an annual tradition for them to be there.

“Every summer for the last 5 years we’ve been here,” vendor Earl Fonville said. “I think it’s really a vital staple of this community… people are looking forward to something to rally around and Last Thursday is the perfect place to do that.”

Gigi paints free portraits during the inaugural Last Thursday of 2017, June 29, 2017. (KOIN)

People of all ages and walks of life attended 2017’s inaugural Last Thursday, whether it was to shop, munch on sweet treats or model for a free portrait session.

“Very Portland!” attendee Auburn Wise said. “I think that’s my favorite thing about it. You see all the different personalities of Portland come out and just mix together.”

NE Alberta Street will be blocked off for Last Thursday again next month.

Last Thursday on Alberta

Art lines NE Alberta Street during the inaugural Last Thursday of 2017, June 29, 2017. (KOIN)