Maywood Park’s citizens proudly parade on Independence Day

See why the folks who live in this unique community love their traditions‚ like a July 4th Parade and potluck picnic‚

Many adults, and most of the kids of the City of Maywood Park, pose for their annual “community portrait”, taken before they parade through the neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
They don’t advertise their parade; people don’t camp out to hold their prized “spot” along the route. The citizens of the City of Maywood Park don’t hold their July 4th Parade to encourage tourism or improve their image in the world.

“We love our traditions,” comments the mayor of this small city, which is surrounded by Portland, snuggled in the northeast corner of the intersection of interstate freeways 205 and 84.

We can’t help it‚ we tell the mayor how much his city reminds us of television’s fictional “Mayberry USA“.

“In many ways, we are like the Mayberry that was depicted on TV,” Mayor Hardie says with a broad smile. “The City of Maywood Park is a nice, quiet, comfortable place to live.”

Hardie’s official proclamation for Independence Day is simple: “Have a safe, enjoyable day together.”

Another tradition on this day is the “Community Photograph” taken by professional photographer, Patrick Smith.

Mary Jo and Jeff Steffen — City of Maywood Park’s Citizens of the Year

Citizen of the Year named
As Mayor Hardie helps organize the photo, we meet Maywood Park’s “Citizen of the Year”, Jeff Steffen.

“I lived here with my parents in 1959,” Steffen says. “We lived on a wooded lot right over there,” he says, pointing to an area that’s now the I-205 freeway.

We learn Steffen was the city’s mayor at one time, and has served as the city attorney for “let’s say — a long, long time. Long before the city of Portland tried to annex us. It is a feeling of camaraderie I don’t think I’d get anywhere else. It truly has a small-town feel, while being surrounded by a big city.”

The City of Maywood Park parade is on the march!

Parade grows as it goes
It doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes for the parade, led by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputies in a patrol car, playing Susa marches over their PA system‚ to complete the route around the neighborhood.

As we’ve noted in past years, this is one of the few parades that end larger than they begin. Neighbors who aren’t satisfied simply to watch the parade go by join in the throng.

Following the parade, residents get together for an old-fashioned potluck barbecue; and later, for “safe and sane” fireworks.

“These traditional events are important,” Hardie explains, “because our people have a proud heritage in Maywood Park. We’re proud to be separate from the City of Portland. We feel it is important to gather several times a year to meet and greet one another. Our newcomers meet established families. Events like our July 4 Celebration gives us a strong sense of community.”

While it isn’t the biggest summertime event around, the City of Maywood Park’s Independence Day Parade and Celebration certainly feels like it has the most “heart”.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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