Sizzling temperatures scorch Gateway Community Fair

Thermometer top-popping heat doesn’t stop intrepid volunteers from holding the event …

Some neighbors brave 102° temperatures to attend this outer East Portland community fair, held in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Braving the 102° scorching heat, volunteers with The Rovers – a group of neighbors who help out at summer events – set up canopies, and prepared for the Gateway Park Community Fair on the afternoon of July 31.

> Read about the planning, and funding of building Gateway Park: CLICK HERE.

Mary Perrault of Brew Line Coffee at Gateway Transit Center is sampling a focaccia bread sandwich with salami, mozzarella, roasted red pepper, and basil at the fair. It is delicious!

“Gateway Park” – the former location of a long-defunct bowling alley and JJ North’s Chuckwagon restaurant, on NE Halsey Street at 106th Avenue – is, as yet, unimproved.

“We’re sponsoring the Gateway Park Movie in the Park and Community Fair,” said Hazelwood Neighborhood Association President Arlene Kimura.

“And, we’re here at this soon-to-be-built outer East Portland park,” Kimura told East Portland News.

Three of the East Portland Rovers team, taking shade in the door of their trailer, are Donna Dionne, Jim Blatt, and Thomas Barnes.

“Having events like this here helps bring people to the park, and helps them understand that this will be the location of many activities when the park has been completed,” Kimura said. “More than that, it helps people recognize that this will be a park for residents around here. For example, the nearby Woodland Park neighborhood doesn’t have a park.”

Hopefully, the new park will be finished in spring of 2017, Kimura added.

Intrigued by the large temporary structure erected in the southern area of the to-be park – and searching for shade from the blazing sun – many folks came to the area set up by Portland State University (PSU) graduate students.

PSU graduate architecture student Karina Adams and Therese Graf, an intern for the Center for Public Interest Design, show off their engaging “chrysalis project” in the park.

“This is a project for community engagement at Gateway Park,” said PSU graduate architecture student Karina Adams. “It’s a butterfly ‘chrysalis’; it is representing the metamorphosis of this park. It’s is going from being a desolate plot of land to a vibrant, fun park that will exist here in about a year and a half.”

Her partner in the project, Therese Graf, both of them from PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design, said there were a couple of interesting facets to the project.

Looking over to the group of visitors, sitting at tables under canopies making origami paper butterflies, Graf pointed out, “It’s amazing that the idea of taking something so simple as folding paper – making paper butterflies – is such a magnetic attraction here. They put their thoughts on folded butterflies that decorate the inside of the chrysalis.”

Cha Cha the Clown keeps The Rovers’ spirits up in the wilting heat, as they volunteer at the Gateway Park Community Fair.

“It’s very warm today,” acknowledged Kimura. “The heat has kind of discouraged people coming to the fair. But, as it cools off, it looks like people will be coming to the movie.”

She was correct. As the sun set, and the east wind blew, temperatures dropped, and scores of neighbors came to enjoy music by The Sale. Then, at dusk, the metaphorically appropriate 1989 classic film, Field of Dreams – in English, with Spanish subtitles – came to life on Portland Parks’ big inflatable outdoor screen.

Cleveland High School Cheer Team members Miracle Jarvis, Kaytlin Gaines, M’kayla Clark, and Cooper Hull are busy popping corn for the Movie in the Park audience.

Luring folks into the park as the sun sets is The Sale, playing their special style of original music.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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