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Charles Kidwell  and Jerry Simone along the parade

2001 Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade – SOLV Skate

I had a great time skating the streets of Portland before and after the Grand Floral Parade.  This was my first time, and it was quite an experience.  There was something spMichelle2001parade.jpg (16396 bytes)ecial about being able to skate around in the middle of streets and a bridge that would normally be ‘out of bounds’ and dangerous places to be.

It was a pleasure to meet the other PISA skaters who participated.  Maria, Dan, Michelle and Jerry were fun to skate with, however, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a larger turnout.  It would be great to have at least a dozen skaters next year.  Many of the volunteers who were on foot expressed envy that we were on wheels.                                                                                                                         Michelle Dennis waves the SOLV "Flag"

The parade route was not really difficult to skate.  I was surprised that it wasn’t more challenging.  Being able to skate the whole width of the street made maneuvering, especially on the sloped portions much easier.  It was amazing to see how grateful people were to receive free plastic bags.  Many people expressed thanks and appreciation to us for what we were doing.

Charles&Dan2001parade.jpg (16962 bytes)I also participated in the post-parade trash bag pick-up.  In some ways this was more fun, certainly more adventurous than the pre-parade bag hand out.  At first, skating around between the escort of police cars and the convoy of trash trucks with dumpsters was a bit intimidating.  However, very shortly it became fun and exciting.  I was amazed at how many people expressed thanks and appreciation for what we were doing.  There were lots of volunteers helping with the process, but I was disappointed with the small number of skaters that turned out; there were only two of us on wheels for the post-parade pick-up. 

Dan and Charles along the route

I have a suggestion for next year that might increase the turn out.  After the pre-parade bag hand out, only two options were offered to the volunteers: either find a place toward the end of the parade route to watch the parade, or take the bus back the Bureau of Maintenance and miss the parade completely.  I was able to find a third option that allowed me to se most of the parade and still participate in the post-parade clean-up.  When I persistently asked the man driving the SOLV truck and trailer how I could both see the parade and participate in the post parade clean-up, he gave me a V.I.P. Pass to the Chalet area adjacent to the Memorial Coliseum.  This worked out great!  There were refreshments, restrooms and chairs where I could sit and get refreshed.  When the end of the parade went by, I simply joined in and stared collecting trash bags.

My suggestion is that for people who are willing to volunteer for both the pre and post parade activities, that they be shuttled back to the Coliseum and given a V.I.P. Pass to the Chalet or the grand stand area.  Perhaps someone could contact SOLV about this idea for next year.  One other thing that could be better coordinated is the time that volunteers need to report to the Maintenance Bureau.  Although we were told to report at 7:00am, we didn’t actually leave for the parade until 8:45am. so there was a long time for us to just hang out.

Well that is my tale.  All in all, I had a great time and look forward to doing it again.  Next year, let’s fill the streets with skaters.

Charles Kidwell