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Friday, June 22, 2007

Portland’s Parade To-do

posted by on June 22 at 11:56 AM

While we are in the middle of our own discordant parade season, I heard about a fracas going on down in Portland.

The Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade was June 9. There has been a long-running tradition of people going down ahead of time—sometimes days ahead—and taping off “reserved” spots along the parade route. Meaning people who show up on parade day are blocked from getting good places. Many people call bullshit on this practice.

The fight came to a head and tempers flared when The Portland Mercury’s Civic Clean-Up Squad announced it was going down the night before the parade to remove the markers for these “reserved” spots.


My Portland-residing sister-in-law told me it caused a HUGE uproar—both for its rejection of this local “tradition” as well as for the not-so-veiled insults directed at Greshamites.

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Good thing none of these dumbasses tried that "reserved" bullshit while waiting in line for a Wii or PS3- otherwise they would have gotten themselves shot.

Posted by Griff | June 22, 2007 12:49 PM

when they clean the street i'll be the only shit that's left behind *

Posted by jamier | June 22, 2007 12:49 PM

@2 - Elliot, is that you from beyond?

Posted by longball | June 22, 2007 12:57 PM

Sweet! They should have taken all their stuff and sold it at public auction, IMHO.

It's a Parade "Day".

That said, I was in line with my son and a friend to buy the Wii at midnight on release day, but we were inside Pacific Place.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 22, 2007 1:03 PM


Posted by infrequent | June 22, 2007 1:30 PM

Reserving spots at parades sounds really stupid. Especially to someone like me who called shot gun infinity like a decade ago.

I also get permanent first in line, no cutsies, so if I'm trying to see the new Brucheimer flick and you see me, do yourself a favor and make way for me at the ehad of the line, jerky.

Posted by The Dudeman Royale | June 22, 2007 1:37 PM


People don't actually leave their stuff there days in advance, they just go down and tape out a spot, usually with a name or some other signifier, THEN bring in their stuff (and frequently we're talking literally truck-loads of it) the day-of.

Maybe things have gotten out of hand, I don't know; I don't recall that people used to do this DAYS ahead, but my dad used to do this for my brothers & cousins and myself more than 30 years ago. He worked downtown, so he'd go out and mark a spot with masking tape or some such in the morning for us when we arrived in the afternoon.

So, really it is an OLD tradition, and I don't recall anyone getting pissy about it; it was what you did - what everybody did, and apparently, still do, despite the efforts of those Grumpy McGrumpersons down at The Mercury.

Posted by COMTE | June 22, 2007 1:43 PM

COMTE: It's huge, and everyone does it, and they do it several days in advance. The entire parade route is taped off by Thursday night. The whole thing is stupid for many, many reasons, but the thing that always gets me personally is that no one fucking picks it up. I live near the parade route, and even with The Merc's help, there's still tape all over the sidewalk and will be for the next four months until the rain starts again. It's super trashy.

There's also the tie-in to the recently passed sit/lie ordinance, whereby the public is forced off their own sidewalks if they're not "desirable" (i.e. if you're homeless), yet for some reason we allow people from the suburbs to come in and "own" the sidewalk for a week.

That was the Merc's angle. I'm just pissed about the trash, though.

But yeah, it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't live here how big this news was. It led several evening news broadcasts and was even the top headline on the front page of the Oregonian. City council and a million blogs discussed it all week. Portland may be growing up, but we're still annoyingly provincial in so many ways.

Posted by no one in particular | June 22, 2007 1:55 PM

Honestly, I'd be pissed about it too. I grew up in Everett, so not anywhere near as large as Seattle or Portland, but on our Parade Days, Dad and I would take the lawn chairs down to the route, usually sneaking the car passed police lines, and set them out the morning of the Parade.

He and I would sit there for the morning, watch the Pre-Parade Race, drink coffee, go to the downtown cafes, and in general have good Father/Son time.

Then the rest of the family would show up and ruin it. ;)

Posted by Phelix | June 22, 2007 2:00 PM

Clarification: I'd be pissed about people taping spots and claiming them days in advance. If you want a spot for you and yours, be there to claim it.

Posted by Phelix | June 22, 2007 2:04 PM

We should do something like this... in Seattle... to something we don't like... but something cooler than picking up litter...

Posted by JC | June 22, 2007 2:13 PM

What's the big deal? You find a nice spot that's taped off, rip the tape off and stand there anyways. Then when they show up you say "I don't see any fucking tape; I see me standing here and you standing over there with a bunch of fucking lawn chairs. Going someplace?"

Or is the tape come with a magic force field or something?

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 3:06 PM

I'm with Fnarf. I'm amazed that anyone respected these taped off sections of sidewalk in the first place.

Posted by spencer | June 22, 2007 3:28 PM

Greshamites, Canannites, Sodomites, they're all alike. They have reserved their place in the lake of fashion and glamour that is the Pride Parade. They have no need to rope their place, it is destined that they sit their on the sidelines forever. Amen and can we go now.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | June 22, 2007 3:29 PM

Also, the person in the photo appears to be halfway through taping off a giant red swastika, which worries me a little.

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 3:37 PM

Fnarf, we're talking PDX; most people there wouldn't even THINK of doing something like that, especially since it's pretty common knowledge that families tend to claim the same patch of sidewalk year-after-year, as do the folks on either side of them.

So, what would be more likely to happen is that you would be tossed ceremoniously (accompanied by much cheering from adjacent celebrants) into the nearest recycling bin by a half dozen parade-watchers while their progeny pour the remains of their sticky sodas down your front, pointing and laughing all the while.

Posted by COMTE | June 22, 2007 4:07 PM

are people in PDX more passive aggressive than seattlites? i remember them being a little more friendly but is this the cost?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 22, 2007 4:32 PM



That shit is just COLD BLOODED!

Posted by Griff | June 22, 2007 4:34 PM

Oh yeah? You and WHAT ARMY?

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 4:47 PM

Either you camp out overnight or you rub elbows with the hoi polloi. Anyone who says otherwise can suck it.


Judging from the plastic bag in his hand and the ball of used tape in the foreground right guy's hand, I'm guessing that he's removing the half Swastika.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 22, 2007 5:02 PM

that's not half bad, then.

Posted by infrequent | June 22, 2007 5:17 PM

See, this should totally be adopted for Seattle's Pride Parade. Then, all the hungover homos who wanna see the parade won't have to drag their asses out of bed til the last minute.

Posted by Gitai | June 22, 2007 8:46 PM


Presumably the ARMY of Greshamites and Beavertonites whom you have enraged by your callous disregard for their "tradition". Seriously, seven or eight of these overfed behemoths would reduce you to a quivering pile of jelly just by their sheer weight alone (I have a number of relatives who live in those 'burbs, so I know of which I speak).

I'm not saying I would agree with their presumed response, just pointing out there most likely would be one under the scenario you laid out.

Posted by COMTE | June 23, 2007 5:19 PM

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Posted by mepus fphn | June 25, 2007 6:00 PM

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Posted by mepus fphn | June 25, 2007 6:02 PM

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