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City does its part for worldly festival

Portland's Earth Day celebration lands in Woodlawn Park
by: COURTESY OF PORTLAND GROUND: PICTURES OF PORTLAND, OREGON, As it has for 37 years, Earth Day draws people of all ages for fun, learning and the chance to don creature costumes. This year’s event also piles on the music and kids activities.

For 37 years, Earth Day has celebrated the planet and our connection to it.

Portland will observe Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, with family activities, opportunities for green learning, and live music at Woodlawn Park.

This year's theme - Planting the Seeds of Community - is about bringing people together to work toward common goals.

'We felt like our community had roots, but that they weren't connected,' says Katie-Jay Scott, volunteer coordinator for the I Have a Dream Foundation of Oregon, one of the sponsors of Earth Day. 'We felt a celebration like this could really plant new seeds and start new relationships.'

Activities at the event are divided into five sections: Kids Village, Community Garden, Health and Wellness Village, Better Transportation Fair, and live entertainment on three solar-powered stages.

More than 100 local and sustainable businesses and organizations will be on hand to educate the public about how we can be more Earth-friendly.

'If people just take the time to be aware of the opportunity around them to take care of the Earth, they are able to take care of themselves as well,' says Bob New, in his second year as Portland's Earth Day coordinator.

Let the big world party begin

In 1970, the first Earth Day brought political focus to a variety of environmental causes - such as clean air and water and protection of endangered species.

Now, Earth Day founder Denis Hayes describes the celebration as 'the world's largest secular holiday' for people across the globe to gather around environmental problems and solutions.

Hayes lives in Seattle and will be in Portland on Thursday for the Coalition for a Livable Future's 2007 Regional Livability Summit at Portland State University.

Portland's Earth Day celebration is held in a different location around town each year. Last year, 4,000 people came out to Sellwood Park for Earth Day. This year, organizers expect 5,000 to 6,000 attendees at Woodlawn.

It will be the city's eighth such celebration, hosted by the City Repair Project and the Earth Day Organizing Coalition.

Scott has spent the last nine months working with Woodlawn School sixth-graders as they developed activities for the Kids Village. Alongside seed-planting workshops, worm bins and recycling art projects, there's a papier-mâché car that kids must use for carpooling as part of a minitriathlon.

'These activities are going to rock,' Scott says.

The Kids Village is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Give food, get a plant

The Community Garden area offers a plant swap along with tips on composting, growing vegetables and water-efficient gardening.

'Donate a can of food to the Oregon Food Bank, and in exchange you can get a native plant,' Scott says. She advises swappers to arrive early, in case the garden runs out of plants.

Yoga classes and acupuncture demonstrations will be featured in the Health and Wellness Village, and the Better Transportation Fair will offer workshops on everything from how to transport large items and shopping bags via bicycle, to bicycle commuting in inclement weather.

Event's logistics live lightly

On the Earth Day stages, local musicians will play from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Earth Day speakers include city Commissioners Sam Adams and Dan Saltzman. The stages will be powered by solar trucks from the Portland Office of Transportation.

Parking will be limited at Woodlawn. In the spirit of the celebration, organizers suggest greener modes of transportation: Woodlawn Park is served by several bus lines, and group bike rides will be headed to the event from all parts of the city.

'It's a great opportunity to get together with a bunch of friends to ride in,' New says.

Bicycle parking will be provided nearby in a volunteer's backyard. There also is lockup space around the park.

Organizers have kept the cost of this year's event relatively low - under $10,000 - by relying heavily on volunteers. Even the musical artists are performing for free.

'Nobody's getting paid,' says Caran Goodall, this year's booth sign-up coordinator. 'We're all volunteering.'

An estimated 250 to 300 volunteers will help set up, run and tear down this year's event; last-minute volunteers are welcome.

It's people - and the planet

The all-volunteer effort driving Portland's Earth Day appeals to Scott.

She is hoping that the Planting Seeds of Community theme will further encourage Portlanders to come out and be a part of this year's Earth Day celebration.

'In the fast-paced world that we live in, with so much electronics that divide us, going out to your local park and hanging out for a day and meeting your neighbors, that face-to-face interaction is so much more important,' she says. 'It's the best thing you can do to reconnect to your community.'


Earth Day 2007: Planting Seeds of Community

When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 21

Where: Woodlawn Park, Northeast 13th Avenue and Dekum Street

More: Contact Bob New, Earth Day 2007 coordinator,

503-235-8946, ext. 3, or at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Manta Ray Stage

10 a.m. - Kazum (acro-balance troupe)

11 a.m. - Celilo (indie, roots, pop)

12:15 p.m. - Hunter Paye (folk, roots rock)

1:30 p.m. - Nuborn Tribe (reggae)

2:45 p.m. - Sneakin' Out (eclectic acoustic trio)

3 p.m. - Sprockettes (all-female synchronized minibike dance troupe)

4 p.m. - Ramblin' Rose (Grateful Dead tribute)

5:30 p.m. - Cubaneo (traditional Cuban)

6:45 p.m. - Lauren Sheehan Band (traditional American)

8 p.m. - Dear Diary (hip-hop)

9:15 p.m. - Organic Flood (funk, rock, blues, hip-hop)

Fire Stage

10 a.m. - Kripalu yoga with Ivy Ingram (gentle yoga)

11 a.m. - Felicity Artemis (spoken word)

Noon - Marquand with the Wandering Minds (beatbox)

1 p.m. - Alan Ames (slide guitar)

2:15 p.m. - Blair Rich Project (acoustic duo)

3:30 p.m. - Samusson and Tomassi (contemporary acoustic)

4:45 p.m. - Justin Caroll (acoustic gospel, folk)

6 p.m. - Bark, Hide and Horn (rock, blues)

7:15 p.m. - Clampitt, Gaddis and Buck (country, roots, bluegrass)

8:30 p.m. - 12th Ave Hot Club (gypsy jazz)

Kids Village stage

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Instrument petting zoo, yoga and beat, drum circle, Sara Adams, marimba band, youth performers, jugglers and more


BikeEarthDay

For information or to confirm meeting points and times for group rides to the Earth Day celebration, contact Coordinator Aaron Tarfman, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

From North

Meeting points are:

• Columbia Park annex, North Stafford Street and Woolsey Avenue (11:15 a.m.)

• Unthank Park, North Shaver Street and Commercial Avenue (11:15 a.m.)

From Northeast

Meeting points are:

• da Vinci Arts Middle School, Northeast 26th Avenue and Davis Street (11:15 a.m.)

• Grant Park, Northeast 33rd Avenue and Grant Place (11:15 a.m.)

• Wellington Park, Northeast 66th Avenue and Skidmore Street (11:15 a.m.)

• Wilshire Park, Northeast 37th Avenue and Skidmore Street (11:15 a.m.)

From Southeast

Meeting points are:

• Col. Summers Park, Southeast 20th Avenue and Belmont Street (10:15 a.m.)

• Sunnyside School, Southeast Salmon Street and 34th Avenue (11:15 a.m.)

• Sellwood Park, Southeast Seventh Avenue and Malden Street (10:15 a.m.)

• Woodstock Park, Southeast 47th Avenue and Steele Street (10:15 a.m.)

• Environmental Middle School, Southeast Clinton Street and 19th Avenue (10:15 a.m.)

• Johnson Creek, Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard and Springwater Trail (10:15 a.m.)

• Mount Tabor Park, Southeast Lincoln Street and 64th Avenue (theme: peace) (11:15 a.m.)

• Mill Park Elementary, Southeast Stephens Street and 117th Avenue (10:15 a.m.)

From downtown

Meeting points are: • Salmon Springs, Southwest Salmon Street and Naito Parkway (11:15 a.m.)

• Rose Quarter, east end of Steel Bridge at North Interstate Avenue (11:15 a.m.)

From Southwest

Meeting point is:

• Duniway Park, Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard and Sixth Avenue (10:15 a.m.)

From Northwest

Meeting point is:

• Wallace Park, Northwest Raleigh Street and 25th Avenue (11:15 a.m.)