Portland Pride: With Growth, Comes Responsibility

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The Portland Pride Parade has seen significant growth in the past three years, according to Pride NW President Debra Porta. Photo by Chris Alvarez, PQ Monthly. The Portland Pride Parade has seen significant growth in the past three years, according to Pride NW President Debra Porta. Photo by Chris Alvarez, PQ Monthly.
By Pride NW President Debra Porta, PQ Monthly
The Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade is just two and half months away. That sounds like a long time, but in Pride time, that will go by in an instant. Now, let’s talk about the parade.  Demand for the Portland Pride Parade has grown significantly in recent years. At just over three hours long, the Portland parade is only an hour shorter than San Francisco's and is larger, in many respects, than the Rose Festival parade. Three years ago, 10,000 people lined the streets -- last year that number was 25,000. In order to continue to provide the best experience possible and maintain an adequate level of safety at an affordable price, Pride Northwest has implemented a number of changes this year. The technical planning for a large-scale event like the Portland Pride Parade is significant, and involves a number of partners, including the City of Portland, Trimet, and the surrounding neighborhoods. As the parade has grown in length and time required, services provided by the city have also grown, as have neighborhood concerns (this would be true no matter where the parade were held).  An increase in services means a direct increase in the cost of the parade -- costs paid for by Pride Northwest. Whether a direct result of the parade or not, we are now being charged additional fees for street and neighborhood clean up. Neighborhood associations are now pushing the city to charge us for their trash pick-up as well. Pride Northwest remains committed to full community access to the festival. Nonprofit booth rates remain at below cost, because we want as much of our community to be represented as possible.  For profit booth prices remain more than competitive with comparable events in Portland. The admission fee remains donation-based (and is critical to supporting the festival, so please give that seven dollars). The same goes for the parade. We have looked at a number of ways to address the increased costs of the parade, while balancing our belief that the parade, as the single most visible moment for our community, must remain accessible, and that we, as a community, must be responsible for our own celebration. Out of those discussions has come the call for parade monitors. Each parade contingent is being asked to provide a number of volunteer parade monitors, as part of their registration. Monitors will help to guide and facilitate their contingents through the parade route. We have scheduled a number of trainings (required for all monitors), and can schedule more, should demand for them call for it. Attendance is required at only ONE training.  The current training schedule is:
  • Friday, May 17th at 3pm
  • Friday, May 24th at 3pm
  • Friday, June 7th at 3pm
All trainings will be held in the Equity Foundation Conference Room (221 NW 2nd Ave., 2nd Floor). To RSVP to a training, please contact Debra at president@pridenw.org. Again, monitors are a requirement of participation in the parade, so don’t wait until the last minute to reserve a training spot! On that note, don't forget to register for your spot in the parade and reserve your booth. We are halfway to parade capacity and more than half our booths have sold.  Booth reservations and parade registrations are both found on the Pride Northwest website. As always, Pride Northwest very much appreciates the support of our community, and we thank you for your cooperation.
Debra PortaPresident of Pride NW, Debra is a Master’s student in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management at Portland State. Active in local politics, Debra serves on the United Way’s Diversity Advisory Committee, as well as assisting start up and emerging nonprofit organizations. She and her partner are getting married in August. Debra can be reached atpresident[at]pridenw[dot]org.