Independent Maywood Park celebrates July 4th with homespun fun

One doesn’t have to travel back in time to enjoy a wholesome holiday celebration – it’s just how they do things in a special city in mid-Multnomah County …

City of Maywood Park townspeople gather, getting ready for their annual group photograph.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Special photos by Patrick F. Smith, Maywood Park Studios
They don’t have a commercial district, or a busy main street – but the residents of the City of Maywood Park seem to like it that way. What they do enjoy is participating in community events, such as their annual July 4th Independence Day Celebration.

As we walked up to the July 4th Parade formation area on the big day, we recalled the City of Portland’s unsuccessful effort to entreat citizens of this east Multnomah County city – incorporated in 1967, located just east of I-205 and north of I-84 – to become part of Portland.

“We’re proud to be independent, to this day,” said their Mayor of eleven years, Mark Hardie. “Our residents are glad we’re not ‘just another neighborhood’ in Portland. And today, we’re also glad for the opportunity to celebrate the America’s birthday, our country’s independence.”

Perched high atop a ladder, Patrick F. Smith, of Maywood Park Studios, directs the parade participants before taking their annual parade photo.

Here’s the City of Maywood Park Annual July 4th Parade group. Patrick F. Smith photo

After the parade, Hardie noted that they’d be holding a barbecue, hosting games for both kids and adults, and even staging their own fireworks. “It’s so much fun; many of us are staying home this year. Everyone gets to participate.”

Holding city-wide events is important, Hardie said, because they have a very close-knit community. “Today, for example, gives us a good opportunity for people to enjoy a holiday, and step back from all the hassles of work, communicate with their neighbors and a fun, easy-going day – without leaving home.”

The City of Maywood Park’s Citizens of the year, Judy White and Sam Lund, about to be chauffeured around the parade route.

Off they go, celebrating their independence with this July 4, 2009, parade.

Citizens of the Year honored
A former City of Maywood Park Mayor, and Citizen of the Year honoree in 2007, resident Jeff Steffen chauffeurs this year’s honored citizens, Sam Lund and Judy White.

“We elect a Citizen of the Year – in this case, Citizens – for their outstanding volunteer efforts,” Hardie told us. The mayor and city council positions are all volunteer; the city has a small budget and staff. A lot of what we do here in the City of Maywood Park is accomplished because of volunteers.”

Specifically, Hardie said that Lund and White have done an “outstanding job” over the past two years with landscaping. “They’re responsible for helping us maintain the Parkway. They do the planting, and help coordinate with the landscapers.”

Mayor and Mrs. Hardie march in their city’s annual parade.

Elijah Olson’s bike is all decked out (with a little help from his dad, Eric) as he peddles his way around the 12-block parade route.

Ernie Friesen drives his International Harvester tractor, pulling …

… a float – carrying Quinn and Esty Steffen.

Parade spreads merriment around the city
With the route being about 12 blocks long, it doesn’t take long for parade participants to return to its starting point, in the northwest corner of the small city.

Youngsters on bikes and the swift of foot return first, followed by other walking, rolling, and strolling entries. It looked as if some participants joined in the parade as it passed their home; others wanted to do a second “lap”.

Sure, you see dogs walking in parades. But, Mckenzie Stewart wanted to make sure her guinea pig, Zaya, wouldn’t be left out of the fun.

Multnomah County Undersheriff Tom Slyter greets the citizens of the city which their bureau protects – followed up by a Portland Fire & Rescue Truck from Station 2. (Also, not seen, PF&R Engine 12 and crew!)

Fun all day
A bit after noon, folks started assembling for the community games and a barbecue lunch along NE Maywood Place.

The scent of fresh popcorn, hot dogs, and hamburgers filled the air – as well as kids’ laughter, as they scrambled to pick up money from the coin toss.

Linda and Susan Kuhn are at the game table. They are credited with setting up the raffle, games and gifts. Patrick Smith photo

Popcorn and sodas make a fun day even better. Patrick Smith photo

Free money! Kids participate in the “Dash for Cash”. Patrick Smith photo

“We had over 325 people at the barbecue,” Hardie told us after the event. And, during our fireworks celebration that night, one of our residents propose on the PA system to his girl friend!”

We thank the good people of the City of Maywood Park for welcoming us to their events, and allowing us to realize the best of times can come from simple, wholesome pleasures.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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