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Hit movie "in the park" packs Hazeltine Park

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - As the sun goes sets, the animated feature Frozen rolls in front of some 1,200 in small Hazeltine Park. One of the first Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) “Movies in the Park” presentations of the summer – held in Brentwood-Darlington’s Hazeltine Park on the evening of Wednesday, July 9 – was almost too successful.

The terrain of the acre-sized park, built out with the help of neighbors for about $26,000 in October of 2006, makes it an ideal Movie in the Park venue – for a few hundred neighbors. But the hit Walt Disney animation “Frozen” drew a much larger crowd.

PP&R Southeast and East Services Manager Jeff Milkes, the person crediting with leading the park-building effort on behalf of his Bureau, smiled as he looked out at the gathering crowd. “Now that we bring the movies back every year, it’s kind of a reunion,” he said.

As the audience continued to fill in, Milkes, who is also the coordinator of PP&R’s “Summer Free for All” program, wondered if the film selected for the evening’s entertainment, the animated feature “Frozen”, was an appropriate choice for this smaller setting. “This is one of the only four times we’ll be showing this feature this year; and it’s a very popular movie.”

By the time the Portland Teen Idol Music Show concluded at about dusk, all of the side streets were lined with vehicles; and ever more neighbors were walking in to the event.

Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association Board Member Gail Kiely said she’d helped select the evening’s feature. “I'm looking forward to this movie because I haven’t seen it, and I hear it is delightful.”

Folks acted neighborly, allowing new audience members space to set up their blankets for the outdoor picture show.

“This is important because we need to get the neighbors together to talk to each other, so they know their neighbors,” Kiely said. “This way, kids can get to know each other, and get to be friends; childhood friendships last forever.

“And, it’s good to be out on a beautiful summer evening, share some fresh popcorn and a good movie,” Kiely reflected.

As the sun set, and the movie started, more neighbors kept drifting in – until about 1,200 people turned small Hazeltine Park into a standing-room-only outdoor movie theater for the night.

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