‘Movies in the Park’ season kicks off – in Parkrose Heights

Now that summer weather has arrived, see where you and your family can enjoy Portland Parks’ outdoor “walk-in” movies …

Audience members “pick their seats” here at Knott Park, and settle in for an evening of free family fun.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although most outer East Portland Portland Parks Bureau events won’t start until mid-July, more than 400 folks braved stormy skies on June 29 to attend the first Portland Parks & Recreation “Summer Free-for-All” Movie in the Park event at Knott Park, in the Parkrose Heights neighborhood.

The threat of rain chased away the band who was to provide live music before the movie slated for the huge outdoor screen: The Adventures of TinTin. But not the audience!

With a Parks Bureau climbing wall in place, snacks to enjoy, and lots of free popcorn, the neighbors did come out to spot their places for the evening’s show.

Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors’ Chair Jim Murphy, with his wife Joyce, greets neighbors and guests at the park.

“In this part of our neighborhood, we really need this kind of activities,” commented Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors’ Chair Jim Murphy.

“We don’t have many issues in the neighborhood that bring people out and get them interested in participating in their neighbor association,” explained Murphy. “But by having activities like this, they know that the neighborhood association is working for them.”

Kennedy Fleming, Lindsay Nastav, and Sandi Johnsen volunteers with Gresham High Cheer Team are ready to serve popcorn.

At a booth Murphy set up in the park, many neighbors found neighborhood and City information resources. “It’s great to meet people, talk with them, and encourage them to become more involved with the neighborhood association.”

This Movie in the Park event, Murphy said, was funded in part by an East Portland Neighborhood Small Grant.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s SE Services Manager Jeff Milkes announces an expanded season of Movie in the Park events.

“As our summer program starts up, we’ve focused on increasing our number of attended playground and movie sites in outer East Portland,” said Jeff Milkes, SE Services Manager of Portland Parks & Recreation, at this mid-County event. “Especially here, we believe there is real need for these services.”

Movie in the Park events help strengthen neighborhoods, Milkes observed. “It is fun, but it’s also a community-building experience. It’s where otherwise-isolated families have the opportunity to get to know each other.”

Many of them with picnic dinners, these folks at Knott Park meet their neighbors – some for the first time – before the movie starts.

And, while they call the overall program the “Summer Free-for-All”, Milkes added, “It’s not free. We work hand-in-hand with the business community, hundreds of sponsors, volunteers, and neighbors, as we bring them to the park.”

In fact, he said, 16% of the whole program budget for movies, concerts, and playgrounds is actually funded by City dollars; 84% comes from donations, grants, and city funding, Milkes said.

Waiting for the movie to start, with neighbor Gabe Coe, is Brooklynn King (behind him) – with Marlee Coe, holding Kingston Coe, and with Paxton King sitting in his lap.

Outer East Portland Movie in the Park events include:

  • July 13 – Wilkes Park showing Dolphin Tale.
  • July 24 – Brentwood Park showing the 1996 version of “101 Dalmations”.
  • July 27 – Gateway Park showing the classic, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestial”.
  • July 29 – Lents Park screening “The Goonies.
  • August 4 – At Earl Boyles Park see “Kung Fu Panda”.
  • August 8 – Glenfair Park’s National Night Out presents “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”.
  • August 10 – Parklane ParkCARS 2”.
  • August 11 – Wilkes Park neighbors “Up”.
  • August 12 – Argay Park features “Toy Story 3”.
  • August 18 – Warner Pacific College, presents Akeelah and the Bee”.
  • August 19 – Lents Park Founder’s Day presentation will be the 2012 version “The Karate Kids”.
  • August 31 – Mt. Scott ParkThe Adventures of Tintin”.


All movies show on the giant outdoor screen, and feature a state-of-the-art sound system. Bring a blanket to lie on or chairs to sit in – and perhaps a blanket to wrap up in, the case it gets a little cool. Free popcorn is provided. Feel free to pack a picnic dinner; bring soft drinks only, NO alcohol.

> For information on all kinds of fun, free summer events, be sure to regularly check the East Portland News Community Calendar: CLICK HERE to see it.

> For more information about this, and other Portland Parks & Recreation Summer Free for All events, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

Food vendors are at most events. At Knott Park, Emily Jensen from Voodoo Donuts and Impact NW tempts folks with a tray of  delicious looking pastries.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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