Graduation and Floral Parade go head-to-head

Ah, graduation. Caps and gowns. Diplomas. Degrees.Flower-covered parade floats?

This year, the Portland State University spring commencement ishappening the same day as the Grand Floral Parade, part of theannual Portland Rose Festival. And to make matters more difficult,they are both occurring at the same place: the Rose Quarter.

The first step commencement planners took when they found outabout this potential conflict was to change the time of graduation.Generally, commencement has taken place at 10 a.m. – the same timethe parade starts at Memorial Coliseum. This year, the graduationceremony is beginning at 3 p.m. at the Rose Garden, following theparade.

Dan Fortmiller, the interim coordinator of commencement, saidthat the parade should be over at around noon, ending near LincolnHigh School, and that all clean up at the Coliseum and the RoseGarden should be done by 12:30. This should leave ample time forgraduates and their guests to arrive for commencement.

“Clearly you don’t want to be late,” Fortmiller said. “But youdon’t want to be early, either.” He says students should arrivebetween 1 and 1:30 p.m.

Last year, when planners were aware of the possible snarlbetween the parade and graduation, staff members from the RoseQuarter ran a “test run.” Following the parade, they drove aroundand tested the traffic.

Fortmiller does not expect the two conflicting events to clashtoo much. He did say that following the parade the floats will betransported back to Lloyd Center, near the Rose Garden, which mayslow up traffic on one of the bridges spanning the WillametteRiver.

Freeway traffic should be fine, though, he said.

He also encourages people to carpool – parking is expensive,roughly $7 per car – or to take mass transit.

Adrian McCarthy, public relations officer for the Rose Festival,said they work closely each year with TriMet to make transportationto and from their events as smooth as possible.

On the day of the parade and graduation, MAX lines will berunning every 7-15 minutes and certain TriMet busses will berunning more frequently (see sidebar).

Around 2,000 students are participating this year in thecommencement exercises. The approximately 3-hour-long event willair live on OPB.


Grad day masstransit
In light of the Grand Floral Parade, TriMet has stepped up to offermore service to their riders. MAX lines will be runningapproximately every 7-15 minutes.
The following bus lines will also be running more frequently:
4 Fessenden
12 Barbur Blvd.
12 Sandy to Parkrose/Sumner Transit Center
19 Glisan
19 Woodstock
33 McLaughlin
35 Macadam (to Oregon City Transit Center)
54 Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
57 TV Highway/Forest Grove

– Information courtesy Portland Rose Festival

It’s all about timing
Graduation day is always a tricky affair, but coinciding with theGrand
Floral Parade makes things more difficult. The day’s events are
timed very precisely, and Dan Fortmiller, interim coordinatorof
commencement, encourages students to be as timely as ever.
Here’s a general schedule:
7 a.m. Some graduation volunteers arrive at Rose Garden
10 a.m. Grand Floral Parade begins at Memorial Coliseum
12 p.m. Parade ends at Lincoln High School
12:30 p.m. Parade clean-up at Rose Quarter should be done
1 p.m. Doors open for those with special mobility tickets
1 – 1:30 p.m. Graduates should arrive and assemble at MemorialColiseum
2 p.m. Doors open at the Rose Garden for graduation attendees
3 p.m. Graduation begins, airing live on OPB; the ceremony isexpected to last around 3 hours