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Eastmoreland womans life celebrated at June street party

BATTLE LOST TO CANCER
by: David F. Ashton Ryan Brandt and Connor Adams remove a ribbon along S.E. 31st Avenue, as the procession heads north.

In February, THE BEE told you the story behind all the orange ribbons and bows that festooned more than a hundred Eastmoreland trees. It was an outpouring of support for a neighborhood mother, wife, and Holy Family School supporter, Sarah Bach - who was valiantly fighting cancer.

Before melanoma with multiple metastases claimed Sarah's life on June 8th, she talked with her husband Peter, her church family, and neighbors about her final arrangements.

Sarah's request included New Orleans-style procession - complete with marching Dixieland Band, and twirling umbrellas - down S.E. 31st Avenue from S.E. Crystal Springs Boulevard to the Bach residence, where a reception would be held.

After Sarah's funeral at Holy Family Church, the band struck up at 4 pm on Saturday, June 18th, led off by Peter and her children. 'We'll be taking the orange ribbons down off the trees as we march along,' her husband explained.

It wasn't a sedate gathering, along the avenue in the block north of S.E. Knapp Street. Huge event tents filled the street, multiple barbecue grills sizzled hamburgers and hot dogs, and tables were laden with picnic foods.

Across-the-street resident Monica Harding put the event into context. 'Sarah said that she would like a 'block party' for her memorial celebration. Sarah was so dear to us. Every summer, we would have block parties on our street, and also little 'happy hours' in our yards. These were real community builders and neighborhood celebrations. Sarah really enjoyed them.'

Harding continued, 'When Peter mentioned her request a couple of weeks ago, we made it happen. It wasn't anything more than just 'putting the word out'. The community loved her so much they put it up on a website.'

Refusing to take any credit for organizing the event, Harding told THE BEE that festive wake was an community effort, primarily by the Webster, Harding, Saling, Bertoli, Shannon, Soler, Tompole, Renfro, Khaw, Evered, Marcus, and Wyman families.

'One family handled the rentals, one family the food, one family the logistics, the water, the street permit, and so forth,' Harding explained. 'Otto's donated 100 hot dogs, The Little Store donated three large salad platters (two caprese salads, and one beet salad), Peter Corvallis Productions donated all the tables and chairs. I'm a stay-at-home mom; all of the donated food and drink landed at my house.'

Like past block parties there, 'Sarah's neighbors grilled, served food, tended bar, set up tables and chairs, and cleaned up after the celebration, with love,' added Harding.

As the band played, and the Celebration of Life was in full swing, Peter Bach told us, 'I have grateful appreciation for the people of Eastmoreland and Sellwood and expanding beyond, and certainly our Holy Family community. I appreciate who has expressed their support. It has been a phenomenal experience, and our family has been lifted incredibly.'