Feelin' lucky?

Portland managed to get through the Blues Festival with nobody killed and only one or two nearby riots. So now they're going for it again with a free, weekend-long "celebration" of the "recovery" of downtown. Organized by none other than Randy Gragg, a living cartoon of Portlandia, who I can't believe is still around blathering about culture after lo, these many decades. Remember when he was the Oregonian's "architecture critic"? Too funny. But I digress.

During the three-day festival, bands and spoken word artists will take the stage in the South Park Blocks, with youth and adult artists interspersed throughout the days and kids getting paid as much as adults, said [André] Middleton [of Friends of Noise].

Shemanski Park will feature entirely indigenous programming curated by Amanda Stubits, “who,” said Gragg, “has put together an amazing array of folks from elder poets and family drumming groups to hip-hop artists and a two-spirits drag show.”

At Director Park, there will be dance productions and family activities.

Mutual aid groups and other grassroots community-based groups will have tables set up and there will, of course, be food. There will be Brazilian food from Favela Cafe, frybread from Sisters Frybread, and Mexican food from Kaah Market, among others.

Gragg noted there would also be a “heavy health component” to Paseo, including yoga interludes and health, climate and outdoors-focused vendors.

Teenagers from Friends of Noise will run sound for the whole event.

The festival, Middleton said, is looking to incorporate people from all throughout the Portland community, including people who might live in the parks where the festival is taking place. Paseo is partnering with aid organizations like Outside In and New Avenues for Youth.

“We’re looking at food vouchers,” Middleton said, and asking, “How can we distribute vouchers so that those who are houseless are eating the same food from the same vendors, except that we are subsidizing it because we have the resources to do so.”

The goal of the festival, said Middleton, is to make everyone feel welcome.

What better way to celebrate than hanging with the black-bloc "mutual aid" kids and hoping they don't snap over some societal wrong and go off on The Man? Sharing some feijoada with a guy who hasn't had a shower since Easter. Doing yoga with some cool, screaming, knife-wielding, strung-out tent campers. Hey, maybe you'll meet Jo Ann With the Bullhorn in person!

What could go wrong?


  1. Sounds pretty well funded. I can only assume that one of the black box local income taxes must be subsidizing these organizations.

    1. It's the "parks foundation," and so I assume it's one of the hideous bond measures that the kids pass. Randy Gragg's pension is secured.

    2. The parks foundation is a nonprofit, not part of city govt. or funded by it. Most of the stuff they do is not nearly as performative and goofy as this train wreck. They are working to restore the entire elk fountain, for example. Although the design will need to include an electric black-bloc zapper.

    3. I would be very surprised if taxpayer dollars aren't coming into that outfit somehow.

    4. There is certainly enough slush in the system, and they seem well enough connected that you are probably right.

  2. Even South Park couldn’t conjure up an event that sounds this unappealing. Think I will pass.

  3. Sounds like a terrible time. Portland has become such a joke.

  4. I came for the two-spirit drag show, but I stayed for the homeless yoga.

  5. Seems to me a celebration of recovery needs a recovery to celebrate. This event may as well be a celebration of delusion.


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