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Summer's Here - Host a Block Party!

How to Throw a Block Party in 5 Easy Steps

Modified from an article written by Concordia neighbor, Signe Todd

A neighborhood block party is an excellent way to enjoy a warm summer day, socialize with your neighbors and meet new people who live on your street. When I lived in the Irvington neighborhood, my neighbor Dana Griggs taught me the nuts and bolts for planning a successful block party in 5 easy steps.

Step 1 – Plan Ahead!Block parties require a street closure permit and liability insurance from the neighborhood coalition. When selecting a date for your event, you will want to allow 4-6 weeks for completing the application and to ensure you give the City two weeks advance notice of your permit request. The application process is not as daunting as it may sound and speaking from experience, the folks at the neighborhood coalition really support block parties and are available to help.

Other points to consider are: Permits are typically not issued for parties that are longer than 1 block or extend past 10 pm. You cannot have a block party on a street that is on a bus route, has a bus layover, or is a signalized traffic intersection. Also, the City won’t allow alcohol in the street, so plan for drinking to take place on neighbors’ private property. Finally, if you’re planning to have amplified music that someone could hear (and possibly complain about) more than 10 houses away, be prepared to also fill out a noise variance application.

Step 2 – Gather Your Paperwork from ONI and NPNSOnce you have decided upon a date, visit the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's website to download the four forms you will need in order to get your permit:

  1. Block Party Guidelines -  Application guidelines and a general "how to"

  2. Block Party Permit - Office of Transportation permit application - download and print

  3. Block Party Street Closure Petition - Petition for residents of the block to sign - download and print

  4. Block Party Traffic Control Plan - A map showing your traffic control plans for the street closure - download and print

North Portland Neighborhood Services (NPNS) also requires you to fill out an application to use their insurance for your party. Give Pamela a ring at 503-823-0215 and she'll email or mail that form to you.

Generally speaking, Pamela is available to answer questions about the application process. Call 503-823-0215 or email or if you get stumped along the way.

Step 3 – Fill Out the PetitionYour block party application will include a petition, which must have signatures from all the residents and/or businesses on the street you wish to close. This is the fun part of the application process because it gives you a positive talking point to greet neighbors without asking them for money.  If a house is vacant, indicate that on the petition. You need to account for all of the houses on the block and its adjacent properties, including side yards.

Once you have all of the signatures, mail or drop-off your completed applications (Event and Block Party packets) to NPNS; upon approval, NPNS will submit your application to the City and the City will send you your street closure permit.

Step 4 – Rent BarricadesFor our block parties we rented from American Barricade Company, located at 173 NE Columbia Blvd and can be reached at (503) 285-6616. Barricades (ask for six, “Type 1” barricades) should be placed at both ends of the street with a copy of the permit attached.

Step 5 – Coordinate Entertainment and FoodDistribute a flyer two weeks in advance of the event to remind neighbors and request donations of food, beverages, tables, chairs etc. Consider having an activity especially if there are young children in the neighborhood.  Inviting the local fire department to bring one of their fire trucks is always a big hit with the little ones plus they hand out cool stickers!! If you decide to rent a bouncy house or climbing wall you need to be aware that NPNS’s insurance will not cover these items. Alternatively, you can have the bouncy house on your property if your homeowners insurance will cover injuries.

Another great option is to hold your block party in a park.  To begin, you need to reserve a park and obtain a park permit for a modest fee. Parks can be reserved by calling (503) 823-2525. If have your party in the park, you can skip steps 1 and 2 on this list.

Really it is that easy!!  The rewards of building social connections with my neighbors far outweigh the time spent in planning. Dana, if you are reading this, thanks for teaching me how to throw a block party.


Last Friday Happy Hour

Join us at the The Farmers Barn for happy hour!

7421 N Denver Ave

(near the corner of Denver and Lombard)

Friday, May 25, 2012

5:30 - 6:30 PM

Once a month, on the last Friday, meet your neighbors at a rotating venue in or around Arbor Lodge. Check our website each month for details on the next gathering.


This Sunday: Food, Inc.

We will be showing the documentary Food, Inc. at the Kenton Firehouse tomorrow at 3:00, followed by a discussion.  Please join us for this event!

Parking may be challenging due to the Kenton Street Fair activity.  But it looks like a perfect weekend to walk or ride your bike!


ALNA Board Meeting Agenda, May 17th

click this link to access the Agenda for the May 17th Board Meeting:


Update: May 10th 2012

Arbor Lodge clean-up of N Interstate Lot!

Neighbors Max Kirchoff and Christina Collada invite you to join them in cleaning up an overgrown vacant lot along Interstate this Saturday, 10am-4pm. They write: "Come join us as we all pitch in to make the neighborhood better! We can use a hand in every caliber of work - from rakes to chainsaws.

The lot near N Bryant and N Interstate has sat empty for many years with some pretty amazing overgrowth.

In a recent agreement between neighbors and the lot's gracious owner, we have been given the opportunity to develop the lot into community gardens and more. The first task is to take care of the overgrowth. A crew previously cut down the huge bushes, but now they need to be processed and mulched.

You do not need any sort of landscaping experience to help out.

While we will make sure that everyone is performing safe tasks, we will be asking people to sign a release form. This effort is being driven by the neighbors who would just like to make our block even better - and ask that any questions about the project or the lot be directed to us privately. For the time being please forward any questions to max[at]maxisnow[dot]com."

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