Peer group tackles Last Thursday issues

Peer group tackles Last Thursday issues

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by FRANK MUNGEAM, KGW.com

kgw.com

Posted on April 3, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 4 at 6:20 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The arrival of spring means Last Thursday is heading back outside in NE Portland.

A new group hopes to tackle some of the problems that have accompanied the popular street festival. Members of Friends of First Thursday met on Saturday. The group's goal is simple.

"Clean and safe," said Michael O'Connor, with Friends of Last Thursday. "As long as we can keep it clean and safe, there shouldn't be any issues."

The monthly festival brings crowds and business to Northeast but also problems. Excess noise, garbage, and parking in driveways have long frustrated some neighbors there.

One of the biggest issues is paying for all the required security.

City commissioner Amanda Fritz says, right now, taxpayers are footing the bill for police enforcement.

"If 15,000 people show up, we are going to have our police and other enforcement folks showing up too," said Fritz.

Those are costs the Friends of Last Thursday hope to offset through fundraisers.

The year's first outdoor edition of First Thursday in Northeast resumes on April 29.

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