Ramona Street Fair brings fun and positive attention to Lents

If you’re unaware why SE Ramona Street is important to the Lents Neighborhood, find out why this snippet of a street serves as a gateway to outer East Portland …

Longtime Lents Neighborhood resident and booster Judy Welch sits with the organizer of this year’s Ramona Street Fair, Jalene Braun.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Even though the outer East Portland mid-July Sunday Parkways bicycle event – originally scheduled to include their event – passed them by, organizers and supporters of the 2010 Ramona Street Fair said they’re pleased with the results.

“It was worth the work, definitely,” said event chair Jalene Braun.

“It’s important to me to get the neighborhood out to meet, and ‘just be’, with one another,” Braun told us at this, the second annual event. “It’s great to see people walking around. And, it helps provide foot traffic to Lents Town Center; we put on this event to also help businesses here in our area.”

Lents Neighborhood Association Chair Nick Christensen helps out as a guide, at the Ramona Street Fair.

Says Ramona Street is a gateway to Lents
The short segment of SE Ramona Street – a block north of SE Foster Road, and tucked in between SE 92nd Avenue and the Lents MAX Light Rail station stairway – is important to the neighborhood, because it serves as a “gateway to Lents”, observed Lents Neighborhood Association Chair Nick Christensen.

“This year’s event is spectacular, in terms of bringing ‘new faces’ to the neighborhood,” Christensen said. “Some people have negative, lingering perceptions about Lents. The only way to alter those perceptions is to bring them into our area, and see for themselves how wonderful, diverse, and friendly this part of town really is.”

Even though he works some distance away, Christensen said he chose the Lents neighborhood for his home because it was affordable.

“But having the MAX Green line here figured into the decision – I ride it to work,” Christensen explained. “Other attractions are that Lents Town Center is being revitalized and has a lot of opportunity; watching the neighborhood develop and grow is really important to me. And, I appreciate the ‘do-it-yourself ethic’ one finds here.”

The band Sons of Soil rocked out toe-tapping reggae music sounds. They were provided by event sponsor Kickdown Records.

Summing up the event, Christensen gave kudos to its organizer, Jalene Braun. “She and the volunteers are providing a great service to Lents.

“In addition to being a fun, family-oriented event, this is giving people a good reason to come out and explore Lents.  It’s really worth the effort, as an outreach.”

Fair exhibitor, Cassandra Mathieson of Cadaverous Lovely, adds her own special touch of color and class to the event.

About 30 vendors lined SE Ramona Street during the fair. Visitors remarked that the food was as good as the selection was wide – ranging from the full-size catering van brought by Coyote Catering (which also provided chairs and tables for seating), to Pyro Pizza and Lents’ own Ararat Bakery.

Judging by its success, we expect to see the Ramona Street Fair return next summer! Watch our Community Calendar for the date.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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