Press Release submitted by:
Lori Stegmann, Stegmann Agency – Farmers Insurance
202 SE 181st Ave, Suite 201
Portland, OR 97233-4874
503 667 -7971 503 666-8110 Fax
The “Plaza del Sol Community Events Committee” was initially formed as part of a subgroup of the Gresham Redevelopment Commission Advisory Committee (GRDC AC). The chairs of the Events Committee are Jean DeMaster of Human Solutions and Lori Stegmann of Farmers Insurance, both serve on the GRDC Advisory Committee. The group hopes to host several events throughout the year at the Plaza. We have already hosted “Pluto Day” where the City of Gresham recognized Pluto as an official planet. Possible future events could include a multicultural holiday celebration.
We will be holding our first annual Cinco de Mayo on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at the Plaza del Sol located at 18709 SE Stark, Portland, OR (formerly the site of Fred Meyer). The event will begin at 3:00 pm and conclude at dusk (approximately 8:00 pm). We are expecting over 500 attendees.
The Cinco de Mayo will be a free community event open to everyone. Our goal is to provide a family-friendly event that embraces the diversity and similarities of our many different cultures. Activities will include local musicians, singers, a DJ, folkloric dancers, storytelling, face painting and crafts for the kids, and food. Alcohol will not be permitted. Local food vendors will be selling authentic Mexican food.
There has long been a desire for a Cinco de Mayo in East County by residents, business owners, and community leaders. The Rockwood area is rich in cultural diversity with a large Hispanic population. The Plaza del Sol serves as a symbol of renewal and revitalization of a neighborhood that is re-inventing itself into something much larger than its individual parts. This is community building at its best.
When the City of Gresham’s Urban Renewal purchased the Plaza property it opened many doors and opportunities. At some point, the property will be redeveloped, but in the meantime, the Gresham Redevelopment Commission has developed an interim use plan. The first phase of that plan has included:
- The painting of the Plaza del Sol. Last fall the community gathered together to paint the solar system at the Plaza.
- A walking path has been installed adjacent to the Plaza. Inside the path wildflowers have been planted and are beginning to bloom.
Future phases include the installation of a basketball court, a children’s play area, and benches.
Other exciting things are happening in Rockwood as well, referred to as “Rockwood in Motion”. These include:
- Light Rail Station Improvements - The redesign of the Tri-Met light rail station across from the Plaza on 188th & Burnside. Tri-Met, ODOT, and the City of Gresham have commissioned Dan Corson, an acclaimed Northwest artist, to design a signature piece of artwork to welcome commuters to Rockwood. Improvements will include the co-location of the two existing stations into one, new rail shelters, improved station lighting, landscaping, and an iconic art piece.
- 187th/188th Realignment between Stark and Burnside. This will align these two streets together to make a thoroughfare between Yamhill & Glisan. Thereby attracting future development and increasing pedestrian and traffic safety.
- 188th at Burnside – This will improve the 188th & Burnside intersection in conjunction with the light rail station improvements. Thus improving pedestrian safety and encouraging transit use.
- Stark Street Boulevard (190th to 197th) - Landscaping, street banners, and other public amenities will be added.
- Burnside Boulevard Improvement. This includes improvements from 181st to 197th along Burnside. Improvements include undergrounding of utilities, wide sidewalks, pedestrian-oriented street lighting, street trees, bike lanes, and on-street parking.