Throw a Block Party

If you want to throw a block party of your own, start planning at least three weeks in advance.

June 25, 2009 Published in the July 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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Maldenfest, an annual block party in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood, is one of hundreds of neighborhood parties that are thrown during the summer months. You too can dress like a pirate (optional!) and trounce your neighbors in a balloon toss. If you want to throw a block party of your own, start planning at least three weeks in advance. That should give you ample time to complete the necessary applications and select a team of hearties for the hook-hand relay.


Call Your Neighborhood Coalition

Contact your Neighborhood District Coalition Office for a Block Closure Application. (The City of Portland does not charge a fee for a block party.)

These permits are free for National Night Out, an anticrime program/holiday sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. National Night Out will be held on August 4th this year. You also may be required to submit a Traffic Control Plan with your application.


Fill Out the Petition

With your block party application, you will be given a petition, which must have signatures from all the residents and/or businesses on the street you wish to close. (Side yards are included in this requirement.) Hand-carry the petition to obtain signatures. 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.


Get a Noise Permit

If you would like amplified music at your party, pick up an application for a noise permit from your neighborhood coalition or call the Noise Control Office for the City of Portland at (503) 823-7350. You must describe the type of amplified sound you will have, and you need to apply at least two weeks prior to your event or an accelerated fee could be assessed. There is usually an application fee of $58, but the fee is waived on National Night Out. For NNO, register your event on the National Night Out home page, and your noise permit will be automatically filed.


Buy or Rent Barricades

Two vendors that rent out the appropriate barricades for block parties are American Barricade Co, which is based at 173 NE Columbia Blvd and can be reached at (503) 285-6616, and National Event Services, whose number is (866) 877-3572. Barricades should be placed at both ends of the street.


What to Eat?

Get tips, recipes, and ideas from The Summer Food Issue, July 2006:

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