Child of the west side suburbs, I seldom visited the east side of town growing up. Once every couple years my mom would drag us all to an agonizing mass at her childhood church and school, Sacred Heart, in the Brooklyn neighborhood. I recall occasional trips to Milwaukie to visit the grandparents, and annually we’d head out to the Portland Archdiocese sponsored Oktoberfest at Holladay Park by the Lloyd Center. On the trips to Holladay Park along Martin Luther King Boulevard nee Union Avenue my mom would instruct us to lock the doors, as everyone knows the prostitutes that the street used to be known for (to suburbanites anyway) wanted nothing more than to climb into the back of a van stuffed with five kids at a stop light.
Naturally I’m now an atheist and have lived on Portland’s East Side (excepting a couple brief stints downtown and one year and eight months in Honolulu) since 1990, the year I turned 18.
Which brings me to the Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Regatta, which would have been a highlight of my childhood if my parents had ever taken me. Every year I’d watch footage of the event on TV and every year I’d ask my parents to take me the next year, and let’s make our own milk carton raft! The casting pond was eventually drained for repairs, a water rights fight ensued and the pond sat empty for years. The Rose Festival Milk Carton Boat Race disappeared.
Well, now it’s back! The pond was refilled a few years ago and a sponsor has been found – the Dairy Farmers of Oregon. The Milk Carton Boat Race will be on Saturday, June 7th at the Westmoreland Park casting pond.
You better believe I’m going to be there!