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Pride Party at Orenco Station in Hillsboro features live music, LGBTQ vendors and more.

COURTESY PHOTO: ABBY GORDON  - Pop artist Frankie Simone will perform at Hillsboro's first Pride Party at Orenco Station on Saturday, June 1. June is Pride Month, and the city of Hillsboro is celebrating its first official Pride event with the Pride Party on Saturday, June 1, at Orenco Station.

Pride Month is nationally observed and recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout the country and the world.

From noon to 7 p.m. at Jerry Willey Plaza,  943 N.E. Orenco Station Loop, the all-ages, free event will start its ongoing entertainment with the The Portland Pride Band and Color Guard at 12:30 p.m.

Iris Ringer, special events supervisor for the city of Hillsboro's Parks and Recreation for the past eight years, said that as Hillsboro grows, events are continuing to be created to reflect community members' interests.

With the presenced of the plaza at Orenco Station, the city looked for ways to increase programming on site, like the Harvest Festival in October and the ice-skating rink around Christmastime.

"We've had interest in our LGBTQ community members to have a Pride event to commemorate Pride Month," Ringer said. "Through the support of city leadership and departmental leadership, we decided to introduce the Pride Party."

The celebration has been in the works for over a year, she said.

"We didn't want to have a parade like Portland, because it is still going on and happening," Ringer said. "What we considered the most was being authentic and to be able to have an event that supported a minority group that isn't always supported. We took time to outreach to community members, business owners, city leadership and city employees that may or may not have identified as a part of the LGBTQ community. We really thought about what the event would look like, down to the vendors. We selected LGBTQ vendors and kept it true, and not just try to put on an event."

COURTESY PHOTO: CARLOS SILVAS - Portland based drag queen Poison Waters will perform at Hillsboro's first Pride Party at Orenco Station on Saturday, June 1. A variety of arts and crafts vendors, food and beverage options, several community resources and all-ages activities will round out the live music and entertainment. Frankie Simone, a pop artist living in Portland, received national buzz with her song "War Paint," and will be headlining the entertainment along with Portland-based drag queen Poison Waters, who will be emceeing the day.

"I think it has been overdue," Ringer said. "This isn't just meant for one person in town, it is meant to be for everyone, all community members, with the emphasis on a minority group."

Mayor Steve Callaway will attend the party to give welcoming statements.

"I am really excited for this, and I am really proud of Hillsboro for bringing this to our community," Callaway said. "We pride ourselves in being a safe, inclusive community for all, and this is an example of that. Last year, I was in Boston with other mayors from the area and the state, and we participated in Boston's pride march. We were there for meetings while that was also occurring, and it was a profound experience for me and I know for others as well."

"While this is located in Hillsboro along the MAX line, there will be easy access from all over the metro region and even though it is in Hillsboro, this is for everyone," he continued.

Orenco Station is accessible via public transportation and will have available free parking.

Before the party, Project Pride is accepting volunteers to beautify the Orenco Woods Nature Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Attendees can plant colorful annuals, chip trails and enhance public spaces, with snacks and opportunities to tie-dye provided.

For more information on the Pride Party, visit the city of Hillsboro's website or call 503-681-6120.

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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