Tilling under rumors about Rossi Farms

Is the Rossi family working with developers? Will the farm be turned into a shopping center or low-income housing? Will Rossi Farms continue to host community events? Find out the truth right here …

Joe Rossi, enjoying a fresh, crisp apple at Rossi Farms “Movie Night” in September, says his family plans to continue hosting community events on their property.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A week after the Barn Bash in July, the daily Portland paper ran a story about the Rossi family and the demise of family farms in the area.

However, this article posed more questions than it answered. Over time, the unanswered questions become “facts” in the minds of readers.

Joe Rossi spoke with us this week, talking about the farm, his family, and their plans for the future.

Regarding his father – Aldo – and their family, Joe said he doesn’t think it appropriate to share with the public intimate details about the decisions his family has been making – and will be making. “Our family is very close. We talk things over, and share responsibilities for caring for our parents and each other.”

Because they’ve long been involved with community events, many people think of the Rossi family as a “public community corporation”. In fact, however, Rossi Farms is a family-owned business. “I appreciate the fact that people have an interest in our family. We’re still dedicated to serving the community in many ways,” Joe commented.

No development planned for Rossi Farms
We talked about a rumor that has been circulating throughout outer East Portland that the Rossi family is keeping silent because they plan to build a shopping center, business park, or a large housing development on Rossi Farms land.

“It’s not true,” Joe told us. “We’re not even talking to a developer. It hasn’t even been brought up in the family.”

He went on to explain, “My brother, Nick, is a Realtor. He has a sign in the corner of our property that advertises a townhouse development, already built, on NE Sandy Boulevard in Parkrose. I think that some people don’t carefully read the sign, and think we’re developing the farm.  It only takes one person to start a rumor.”

Irrepressible Parkrose volunteer Mark Gardner steams fresh corn-on-the-cob for the Movie Night at Rossi Farms.

Community service continues
Reports in other news sources hint that Rossi Farm has seen its “last Barn Dance”.

“It’s not true,” Joe said. “We’re already planning the next Barn Bash in July, 2008.”

The Barn Bash, he continued, has grown to include many sponsors in the greater Portland area. “I started the Barn Bash with a couple of my friends several years ago, but now, ‘The Posse’ is comprised of about 30 volunteers who are dedicated to raise money for youth activities in Parkrose.”

On September 15, we stopped by their Movie Night. Families streamed on to the Rossi Farms property from the surrounding neighborhoods. Although it was only promoted locally, about 500 folks showed up for the event.

At the event, everyone was treated to free corn on the cob, watermelon, apples, and 25-cent hot dogs. “I love these events where families can have a good time without having to spend a lot of money.”

Ready to serve hot dogs is volunteer Christina Bruck.

The weather was perfect for this outdoor event. After volunteers dished up the food and families enjoyed their dinner, the movie began on the outdoor screen.

“The best part for me,” said Joe, “is watching everyone have fun – and getting to work with our great volunteers.”

The ghosts, ghouls, and goblins again return to The Haunted Ghost Town in October.

Ghost town returns to the farm
Rossi’s Haunted Ghost Town – a production featuring scary, realistic sets, and scores of actors – returns this year, running the last two weekends in October.

“This annual even is the Parkrose High School Senior All-night Party’s big fundraiser,” Joe said.

The Haunted Ghost Town will again feature ghosts of the Wild West, dancing ghouls, the cornstalk maze, haunted mine, and lots of other surprises. Their motto is, “Don’t touch anything – and usually, nothing will touch you!”

If you’re brave enough to venture through the corncob maze, be prepared meet some real, live spooks!

While there are hair-raising scares around every corner, the cast and crew run a toned-down version of the event for the younger kids during the first half-hour, starting at 6:00 p.m.

To help families make an evening of it, refreshments are plentiful, and inexpensively priced. Tickets are $9.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids under 12.

The Haunted Ghost Town will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 19, 20, 21 and 26, 27 and 28 from 6:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Rossi Farms is located at 3839 NE 122nd Avenue, just south of NE Shaver Street.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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