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Pride has been celebrated in Portland since 1975. A small group of 200 people marked the Rose City’s first public and outdoor Gay Pride celebration, in the South Park Blocks near Portland State University. Portland’s first Gay Pride parade took place 2 years after in 1977. By the early 1980s, Portland’s Pride celebration had become an annual tradition, becoming summer’s unofficial kickoff. It was renamed in 1982 Lesbian and Gay Pride Week, with more than 2,000 men and women taking to the streets of downtown Portland.
The 1991 parade was the largest in history at that point, with more than 6,000 marchers, including supporters from small Oregon towns. In 1993 and 1994, 10,000 participated and/or attended.
Since 1994, the Portland Pride Festival is organized by Pride Northwest, Inc. The Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade changed in 1997 to the Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans Pride Parade. An estimated 20,000 people turned out for the 1998 Pride parade.
In 2003, an estimated 1,000 people marched in the parade while more than 50,000 people dropped in on the two-day festival at Waterfront Park.
In 2011, there were 110 entries in the parade, and the police estimated the crowd size at more than 25,000. One of the largest groups marching was Nike employees. The Pride Festival hosted its first official Portland Trans March in 2014.
The 2015 Pride parade not only marked the 40th anniversary of Portland’s first Pride festival but it came less than two weeks before the United States Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage in every American state. The 2016 Portland Pride Parade came just one week after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, (49 killed, 53 injured). The crowds of supporters lining the parade route were among the biggest in history. It was also the longest parade to date, with 150 entries featuring about 8,000 marchers.
The annual Portland Pride Waterfront Festival (a two-day festival at Waterfront Park) and Parade (through downtown Portland) is the largest LGBTQ cultural celebration between San Francisco and Seattle. It is the single, largest visibility avenue for Oregon’s LGBTQ community organizations and businesses. In addition, the festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the Pacific Northwest to Portland each year.
Please note that due to the global Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, Portland Pride has been postponed until further notice.
Bear in mind that this is the event program for 2019. Stay tuned for the 2020 program for Portland Pride, coming soon.
2019 will mark 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising, meaning this year's installment of Portland Pride will be extra special. Keeping this at the forefront, the specific theme for Portland Pride 2019 is Resist. Remember. Rejoice. Portland Pride encourages everyone to celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement, raise awareness of the community's ongoing struggles, and continue to foster an environment of solidarity, inclusivity, and accessibility.
The highlight of the celebrations is arguably the Portland Gay Pride Parade, which will this year kick off on Saturday, June 15 at 11:30am. The parade will set off at 1pm from Monument Square, then travel through the city streets before wrapping up at Deering Oaks Park. Roughly 8,000 people are said to walk in the parade each year, with up to 45,000 spectactors cheering the procession on from the sidelines.
The incredible Portland Pride Festival will follow on from the parade, and run from 2pm to 6pm in Deering Oaks Park. This hugely popular festival often welcomes up to 45,000 pride enthusiasts over the weekend, who come out to experience the incredible line-up of diverse, local entertainment. There will also be a series of food trucks, a beer garden, and a marketplace of LGBTQ-friendly businesses and organizations.
Portland Pride will wrap everything up on Sunday, June 16, with a lively Tea Dance at The Inn on Peaks Island. Running from 12pm to 4pm, you can look forward to a gay ferry trip, along with cool tunes and plenty of new people to meet. So what's stopping you? Head to Portland, and experience your pride in this alternative US city.