Community Illumination: Highlights from Lloyd Light it Up at the Portland Winter Light Festival

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By Joshua Baker

We at Lloyd EcoDistrict had a blast with our community during the first Lloyd Light it Up event at the Lloyd Center — and earlier that night at our community partner events around the EcoDistrict. 

As a part of the Portland Winter Light Festival 2024, and organized in partnership with the Lloyd Center, our community came out to illuminate a surprisingly dry and comfortable February night. 

The evening kicked off with at NE Wiedler and our friends at NEBBA, the NE Broadway Business Association, and their mural celebration. The amazing new large mural graces the back of the Broadway Grill & Brewery on the edge of the Lloyd EcoDistirct. neighborhood. Titled It Can’t Rain All The Time, this narrative work springs from the beautiful mind of comic book author and muralist, Damon Smyth. Native to the Portland area, Damon wanted to create a mural for all Portlanders. With this wall, Damon chose to tell a touching story about the marginalized members of our community and how tiny acts of kindness can make all the difference.

After the mural opening celebration, our Program Manager Joshua Baker assisted on a family-friendly bike ride that started from the mural. The bike ride, led by our neighbors at The Street Trust, led lit-up cyclists around the city and hit up different Portland Winter Light Festival sites across Central City. It was great seeing more parts of Lloyd, Downtown, and the Central Eastside filled with activity and vibrancy.

Meanwhile, as the sun went down on the remarkably clear February evening over the Lloyd Center, the rest of our team was throwing our the Light it Up Lloyd dance party. The glow sticks were cracked one by one as dancers of all kinds donned illuminated garb. PopCartPDX and DJ Carlos provided the electrifying musical backdrop for the festivities while Keia and Martyn’s Coffee served up delectable beverages. The dance party really got going when the bike riders arrived. Over sixty lit-up bicycle riders came ready to dance and show off their glow. Neighbors from throughout the community and some from nearby multi-family housing buildings joined in the high vibes, while others enjoyed from their balconies above the party. Dancing, mingling, and all-around good company continued through the evening. 

As the dance party began to wind down, DJ Carlos packed up his bike trailer and Keia and Martyn topped off the final hot cocoa of the evening. The lights of the dancers began to fade and the shadows began to settle once again upon the exterior of the Lloyd Center. However, what persisted was a twinkle in the eye of our community as a spark and kindling for future events that bring us out and together. This was our first year participating in the Portland Winter Light Festival and look forward to doing more next year!

Thank you to all those who continue to show up and make our community brighter. We look forward to future community events!