2008 Portland Christmas / Holiday Tree Lighting | Daily Stank Image Bank

Portland Christmas Tree, Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland Christmas** (Holiday) Tree, Pioneer Courthouse Square
Taken on January 2, 2008
Photo By Julian Chadwick / PDX Pipeline

The annual Christmas** tree lighting takes place today in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The photo above is from the take-down of last year's tree the day after New Years.

Info from the square about today's event:

Tree Lighting Ceremony Presented by SmartPark and brought to you by Globe Lighting and KGW NewsChannel 8
5:30pm

On the day after Thanksgiving, Portlanders will gather at the Square to celebrate the official start of the season by lighting the spectacular 75ft Tree. Well over 25,000 people are expected to attend the 24th annual Tree Lighting Event hosted by KGW NewsChannel 8 and Kink.fm with special guests including local Dignitaries.

Concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer with the Brown Sisters, Portland's Mayor and Santa will lead the crowd sing-along in this annual community celebration. Big, bright and beautiful, this event unites the community in an evening of merriment and sharing for the whole family.

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**It appears the word “Christmas” is not used in association with the tree event even though “Santa” is there.

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2 Responses to 2008 Portland Christmas / Holiday Tree Lighting | Daily Stank Image Bank

  1. Scott Davis December 1, 2008 at 13:07 #

    I attended the Portland, OR Tree lighting ceremony this year and it was awful. My girlfriend came up with the idea as a fun activity and an ice breaker to meet my 2 young boys (5 and 3). I was really looking forward to this since this is the first time my sons have meet someone since my divorce a year ago. So we boarded the Max at Gateway Station, and rode until we had to get off and walk into Pioneer Square. When we got there we found ourselves very quickly trapped by the massive crowd that was not going anywhere. I did not think this was going to be a problem since after they lit the tree at 5:30pm a lot of people would leave. Much to my dismay 5:30 came and went and no lights. Instead a couple speeches and musical number started. People all around us were getting very angry. Many started pushing and shoving just to try and get through the crowds. My girlfriend even heard one police officer comment to someone that they should’ve walked around if they expected to get through.

    Pretty soon my children started getting very impatient. My youngest son who was on my shoulders had to go to the bathroom so bad that he was squirming on my shoulders. We were trapped though. No way out we could not move. I had no choice but to pull him off my shoulders and place him between my legs. I had to let him go standing right there in the crowd. The crowd was so tight that no one even noticed. Which was even more concerning because that told me that if something happened there would be no way to get to someone. What if a child was lost, or someone had a heart attack.

    Finally after my kids begging me to leave, my girlfriend and I took one child each on our shoulders and started pushing through the crowd as well. It took us over 45min just to walk 75 feet. It was horrible. We finally turned around just in time to watch the tree light up, which was not extremely impressive. We then walked many blocks around just to get back to the max again. We rode back to Gateway station, and went home. After we were home I asked my kids if they had fun, and they replied “Yes”. I asked them what they liked, and they said “the train ride”. I asked them if they liked the tree lighting, and they said “NO”.

    This event was very poorly planned, and when things went bad there seemed to be no one there prepared to make it better. Why wasn’t the entire street closed down to traffic? Why weren’t there dedicated standing areas, and walk areas that were enforced by event staff? What was the emergency plan if someone got hurt or lost? Why was did they wait until the end to light the tree? Why wasn’t there a program available? If there was and I missed it, why wasn’t the program online?

    This event certainly showed me that all too often the holiday season is lost to commercialism, and those trying to make a buck. No finer example was that of this event, as I turned around and looked up at the building behind me to see a projection on the side of the building of all the sponsors. All in all this was a disappointing event that I do not plan to attend again.

  2. Julian Chadwick December 1, 2008 at 13:28 #

    That does not sound like a good time. I don’t know that the sponsors are the reason though. It must have been the overwhelming popularity of our earlier post sending throngs of Greshamites (we’re huge in Gresham) to this event.

    We’ll try to keep a lid on it next year so only you, your girlfriend and kids are there. We’ll try and get rid of the sponsors too but the tree will have to be a lot smaller. How’s a 4-footer?

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