Two of the parades held during the Portland Rose Festival will take new routes in 2017 after city officials said the event permits would be pulled if changes were not made.
Organizers with the Portland Rose Festival said they received “clear and final direction” from the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Commissioner Steve Novick’s office on the move, which was done to accommodate operations for the Portland Streetcar.
Portland Streetcar says in past parades, services have been halted.
"Carrying more than 14,000 passengers on the weekend, it’s important that on the busiest day in downtown Portland, our transportation systems are working," said Dan Bower, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar.
The Grand Floral Parade has had the same route through downtown since 1984 when it was slightly altered due to the construction of the MAX light rail lines.
"We've resisted this route change because 10th Avenue is such a perfect home for the parades," Rose Festival CEO Jeff Curtis said. "The Grand Floral Parade has utilized this street for most of its 104 years, and with the food carts and the library steps, it's a popular viewing place. But regardless of the route, the Rose Festival will continue to offer our parade fans the high-quality events they've come to expect."
The Starlight Parade, which began in 1976, has had 10th Avenue as part of its route since the event started.
The sidewalk in front of Maya's Taqueria on 10th Avenue has seen a lot of foot traffic over the years.
"The restaurant has been here 30 years," said Karla Maldonado, manager of Maya's Taqueria.
Maldonado says the busiest time of year for the local family-run restaurant, by far, is during the Rose Festival.
“The same people come. It’s a tradition to come here and enjoy our food and watch the parade with their kids,” said Maldonado.
Now, a decades-long tradition is about to change.
Both the Grand Floral and Starlight parades will now turn west on Washington Street from Southwest Broadway, turn south on 12th Avenue toward Taylor Street, where they will then turn west and cross 1-405 to the disband area near Lincoln High School.
In addition to the Saturday night parade, the Starlight Run 5K may also be altered, according to producer Desiree Hamilton.
"The Starlight Run 5K course may be slightly altered to reflect this new route, but we will maintain its 5K distance," she said.
Rose Festival organizers said that their concern now was letting fans of the parades know the changes were coming.
"Our number one priority is to be sure the thousands of fans who traditionally watch the parades on Stark Street and 10th Avenue are informed of this change," Curtis said.
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