02-19-2017  6:13 pm      •     

As the neighborhoods of inner North and Northeast Portland have changed over the years, the area's favorite annual festival has evolved right along with them. The Good in the Neighborhood Multicultural Music and Food Festival returns this weekend for the 14th time, complete with the lineup of music, food and activities that locals have come to expect.
"We're going to have a lot of the same entertainers and vendors that have been with us since Day 1," said festival Chair Cheryl Roberts. "But what I've noticed this year is the new energy from the new community members and new entertainers who want to come on board this year."
The festivities get under way with a kick-off party scheduled for 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Jazz group the Ben Fowler Quintet will warm up the crowd during dinner, followed by dancing to the sounds of R&B band Moment's Notice. Admission is free, and McMenamins will donate part of the evening's proceeds to the festival, Roberts said.
Roberts added that holding the party at the Kennedy School is part of the neighborhood spirit that infuses Good in the Neighborhood — the McMenamin brothers, Mike and Brian, attended Holy Redeemer School on North Portland Boulevard back in the day, and have been involved with the festival for years.
The festival's main event gets started at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 24, with what has become a Good in the Neighborhood fixture: the annual Community Parade. The parade steps off from the Legacy Emanuel Hospital parking lot, at the corner of North Williams Avenue and Russell Street, and heads west down Russell to Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. From there, the parade takes a left turn and heads north on Martin Luther King all the way to Northeast Alberta Street, where it takes a right and heads west to its final destination — and the Good in the Neighborhood headquarters — King School Park, at the corner of Northeast Alberta and Sixth Avenue.
Past grand marshals of the Good in the Neighborhood Community Parade have included mayors Tom Potter and Vera Katz, Paul Knauls Sr. and members of the Portland Trailblazers and the Rose Festival Court.
The parade's grand marshals this year are Mr. and Mrs. Tom Kelly of Neil Kelly Designers and Remodelers. Tom Kelly is one of the original founders of Good in the Neighborhood. His late father, Neil Kelly, was a prominent North Portland businessman, philanthropist and community activist.
"I don't think that Tom gets his due as a community leader," Roberts said. "He is busy running a business, but he really gives back to the community. I'm glad we can recognize him this year."
The park serves as the site for the rest of the festival's run. Activities begin at noon on both Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, and run until 9:30 p.m. Saturday and until 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
There's a whole lot more to be found at Good in the Neighborhood besides food and music, Roberts said. There's also an ethnic marketplace; a kids' space with arts and crafts; an Information Village with material on everything from financial wellness to healthy living; and booths from a wide range of community organizations.
In addition, Providence Health System representatives will conduct diabetes and high blood pressure screenings and provide information on the many health conditions that occur with greater frequency among non-White communities, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. The idea, Roberts said, is to get people to be proactive with respect to these conditions, so that their onset can be prevented ahead of time.
"It's about having a healthy community in all respects," she said.
Members of the Portland Police Bureau's Northeast Precinct also will discuss the growing problem of identity theft. Officers will provide free document shredding services from noon to 4 p.m. June 24 and 25. Shredding old documents is a good way to keep vital personal information from falling into the wrong hands, Roberts said.
Roberts said the festival's roots reach back to Holy Redeemer School 14 years ago, where it got its start as a school fund-raiser. Her children attended the school at the time, so she found herself involved from the very beginning. Even then, she said, the festival carried a distinctively multicultural flavor.
"It was a way to reach out into the community and say, 'Hey, we want Holy Redeemer to represent the community that it's in.' So, we tried to bring in some of that diversity that was all around us."
From there, she said, the festival gathered steam, growing in popularity year in and year out.
Roberts said she is gratified to have seen attendance rise steadily at Good in the Neighborhood every year. It's evidence, she said, of the warm-hearted spirit of North and Northeast Portland.
"The labors are long and hard, but the rewards are even longer," she said.
"The festival really speaks to the diversity of Portland."

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All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. 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Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. 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