PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As the Rose City’s namesake festival returns for the first time in two years, the parades that make a staple of the event will be snaking through the city’s streets as well.
On Saturday, the Rose Festival’s Starlight Parade will start on Naito Parkway, head down Salmon and 4th avenue, head west on Davis St., before heading down Broadway and taking a turn on Taylor Street for the home stretch.
Public Relations manager for the Rose Festival Rich Jarvis says the Starlight is a different flavor from other parades, with a costume run along the route before the nighttime event.
“It’s more of a community kind of parade,” Jarvis said. “We get a lot of different communities represented in the Starlight and love coming to town and being a part of this.”
For that reason, as well as staffing, Jarvis says the Grand Floral Parade will have a different and shorter route this year, staying on the east side of the Willamette River. It will still start at Memorial Coliseum as usual, heading down Weidler and going south down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., east on Lloyd Blvd. before ending at the Lloyd Center.
“The Rose Festival is about more than just Downtown Portland,” Jarvis said. “It’s about all of Portland and really about the greater region so we thought this was a great opportunity for us to show some more love to the east side of Portland and keep the parade over there.”
Part of the Starlight parade enters the Old Town District, an area of the city that has been rife with violence and shootings.
While there has been efforts by community leaders in the neighborhood to make things safer, the Rose Festival has coordinated with bureaus across the City of Portland to ensure a quick response should anything happen.
The Portland Police Bureau said there are over 150 officers of varying ranks that will be patrolling the parade route. They have contingency plans for different scenarios, though wouldn’t share details for security reasons.
Jarvis says that’s part of planning large events.
“We know that if anything is of a serious issue we can contact the police, they’ll be here right away if they’re not already there,” Jarvis explained. “They’ll be all over the parade route as usual so we feel really comfortable the security issues will be minimized, if there are any at all, during the parades.”
PPB says, as officers are dedicated to the parade, they still expect to be able to respond to all emergency calls during the parade, though ask for people’s patience.