Cruise-in keeps Avenue of Roses Parade spirit alive

As groups threatening protests make good their promises up north, see how hundreds celebrated the spirit of the cancelled 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, on the south end of the long street …

Hundreds of vehicles are admired by a thousand or more spectators at the 2017 edition of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Cruise-in – held 59 blocks south of its intended location in Lents, after violence threats shut down the annual parade and celebration.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Threats of violence abruptly shut down this year’s only officially-sanctioned Portland Rose Festival event in outer East Portland, the 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade – but it didn’t stop hundreds of people from celebrating the “spirit of the celebration” anyway, 2.8 miles south of its planned location.

Four days before the 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade was to step off on April 29, threats of disruption leading to violence, made by multiple groups, led organizers to quickly cancel both the parade and the Multicultural Celebration at Eastport Plaza that was to follow.

“We are deeply disappointed that the agendas of these outside groups have so regrettably impacted East Portland and the 82nd Avenue of Roses community,” said a representative of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association.

Seen here walking in the 2014 “82nd Avenue of Roses Parade” is Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish.

“Speaking for myself, the cancellation of the parade is distressing to me,” Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish told East Portland News after hearing the news.

“The biggest losers in this madness are the working families in East Portland who love the parade and the celebration; it is outrageous that this parade was targeted,” said Fish, who has marched in several parades. “The parade must not die, and I hope it comes back next year – bigger and stronger than ever, and it has my full support.”

Celebration Cruise-in Continues

At this year’s 82nd Avenue of Roses Cruise-in, thousands of folks come to see the classic, custom, and specialty vehicles on display.

On the morning of Saturday, April 29, factions were gathering on NE 82nd Avenue of Roses near Glisan Street in Montavilla Park, exchanging harsh words and posturing, as they readied to take to the street in a protest.

At the same time, hundreds of people were enjoying the sunny day while celebrating the annual Avenue of Roses Cruise-in – a half-mile into Clackamas County, in the Krispy Kreme Donuts parking lot.

82nd Avenue of Roses Cruise-in producers Kimberly Finlay and Ted Finlay gather with one of the organizers of the parade and celebration, Nancy Chapin, as the car show goes on.

“We have been putting on the car show as part of the ‘Multicultural Celebration’ at Eastport Plaza for many years,” related Kimberly Finlay, while her cruise-in impresario partner, Ted Finlay, was helping an entry.

Unlike many other cruise-in events, many of their participants ride, as an entry, in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, before they motor back to the car show, she said.

Leonard Waugh polishes up his ’52 Willys Wagon at the cruise-in.

“The hard-working volunteers who put on the parade and celebration had no control over the negative, outside groups,” Finlay said. “So, all of us in the cruising community felt that it’s really important to keep the spirit of this great community event going, honoring the 82nd Avenue of Roses,” she added.

Ted Finlay joined her, and said it was amazing that, on just a couple days’ notice, they were able to secure a new location, and that so many of the entrants – 160 at last count – had come to the new location for the cruise-in.

“We’re so thankful for everyone that showed up, and the wonderful support we’re getting from community,” he said.

Families enjoy looking at the cars in this edition of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Cruise-in.

As with their past car shows, the funds raised went to support “Operation Safe Canine Animal Rescue” (OSCAR) dog rescue and adoptions, Ted Finlay reminded.

Confrontational protesters meet at park, then march southward

Montavilla Park is where a protest along 82nd Avenue of Roses begins – and ends.

While the fun family cruise-in was taking place, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers were monitoring opposing demonstration groups which set out southbound from Montavilla Park.

As the groups began to spill out of the park at 11:13 a.m., officers got the groups to separate on their walk on the sidewalks, one band on the east side, and the other group on the west side of 82nd. By 11:17 a.m. the officers’ attempt to keep the groups separated broke down, and groups intermingled on the west side of street.

Stripped of his cheery costume, 44-year-old Luis E. Marquez is arrested for Disorderly Conduct during the protest. MCDC booking photo

A man later identified as 44-year-old Luis E. Marquez, dressed a colorful pumpkin costume, was arrested at 1:15 a.m. for Disorderly Conduct, and was found to be carrying a collapsible baton. After his arrest and booking at Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 12:57 p.m., he was “Released on Own Recognizance” later that day.

Officers keep the peace, separating protest groups.

A little after noon, officers were able to wind down the strolling protest action on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses at SE Francis Street, just north of Eastport Plaza. “We are offered TriMet bus rides back to Montavilla Park from Eastport Plaza for those interested after the long march,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson. “Some accepted the ride; others declined.”

Some protesters linger in Montavilla Park, after their march.

Just after 1:00 p.m., back at Montavilla Park, officers took two people into custody.

23-year-old Shayne Sellers was arrested at Montavilla Park for Criminal Mischief II and Theft III, booked into MCDC, and “Released on Own Recognizance” later that day. MCDC booking photo

After her arrest, 19-year-old Zoe McClain was booked into MCDC on two counts Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, but made bail, and was released later that day. MCDC booking photo

Other than a lot of shouting and some pushing – with police confiscating some potential weapons, and making three arrests – the disturbance ended as the protesters finally dispersed.

Although some involved with the decade-old 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade and Multicultural Celebration expressed fears that the celebration would not survive its abrupt cancellation this year, the community spirit that found a way to put on the car show anyway – combined with the supportive comments from the police, city officials, and residents of East Portland – left hope that there might indeed be another parade and carnival on 82nd Avenue next year.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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