‘Belmont Goats’ play staring role at Lents Street Fair

If you haven’t yet taken time to visit the Belmont Goats, or heard about the upcoming Lents Festivities on July 26, here’s your opportunity to learn about both …

Riding in the 2014 Lents Founder’s Day Parade, the “Famous Belmont Goats” were introduced to neighbors in their new home. East Portland News archive photo

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Starting last July, the “Famous Belmont Goats” made their grand appearance riding in the Lents Founder’s Day Parade.

So, how did the Belmont Goats become residents of the Lents neighborhood in outer East Portland?

Two of the Famous Belmont Goats partners, Jason Jimenez and Christopher “Bix” Frankonis, work to keep the herd together, now in the Lents neighborhood.

“Where they were, in the Belmont area, it became clear that we had to move the herd, because of development down there,” said Christopher “Bix” Frankonis.

That “somewhere” ended up being near Lents Town Center.

“When we moved the herd here, we knew that the developers were open to having different kinds of uses here,” Bix told East Portland News. “It was just until we could find another spot, but they extended the deadline. And, the neighbors and people with Green Lents put up messages for them to stay here.”

Daniyel Hicks holds Willow Jean Barsotti Hicks so she can pet one of the tame Belmont Goats.

In the beginning …
“We all either worked or lived in the Belmont area,” Bix said. “One of the partners, Jason Jimenez, works for the guy who put the herd together. The original owner had a big lot, and tried using ‘rent-a-goats’ to keep down the greenery, and he decided to put together a herd.

“Several of us started hanging out, helping take care of the herd,” Bix continued. “When they had to be moved, it really was important for us to keep the herd together. So, a handful of us bought them from the original owner, so we could take on the challenge of keeping the goats – eight boys and six girls – together as a herd.”

On weekends, when the partners are available to supervise visits, the Famous Belmont Goats receive visitors.

Why not call them the “Lents Town Center Goats”?

“We’re still called the ‘Belmont Goats’ because we may never have a really permanent spot,” Bix replied. “Rather than changing the name every time we move the herd, we decided to keep the name.”

While their primary mission was to keep the herd together, “Our secondary mission here is sharing goats with the community; and, at the same time, also helping promote the neighborhood that graciously is hosting us,” Bix said.

The goat yard, usually open on Saturdays, is an attraction for families.

As he spoke, Bix frequently stopped to spell out the “rules of behavior” for families coming in to the goat yard. “Don’t go in the goat house, don’t climb on the goat structures, and be careful because the boy goats are chasing the girl goats; just don’t get in their way.”

The move to Lents worked out really well, the urban goat herder said. “The neighborhood likes us being out here. The goats have adjusted pretty well. It seems like a good fit, for the time being.”

To learn more about the Famous Belmont Goats, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

Families are welcome, but they must follow the goat yard rules when visiting.

Lents Street Fair and Founders Day Parade on July 26
A good opportunity to go meet the Famous Belmont Goats will be at the 2015 Lents Street Fair.

From noon until 5:00 p.m. along SE 91st Avenue between SE Foster Road and Reedway Street, the Lents Street Fair will return on Sunday, July 26.

Organizer Amanda Gerace said “It’s a free, fun, family-friendly community event with more than 50 craft and food vendors, plus the Lents International Farmers Market.”

The Lents Founder’s Day Parade, which honors the history and cultural diversity of Lents, kicks off the festivities at 11:15am. The parade route is posted on the Street Fair website: CLICK HERE to view it.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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