To prepare for Saturday’s “Lighting Spectacular” Holiday Parade, Longview officials on Thursday will hold a cleanup along Broadway outside City Hall and ask the homeless campers to move somewhere else.
The Broadway median between 15th Avenue and the Civic Circle will then remain closed from Thursday until shortly before the parade, which begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, City Manager Kurt Sacha said Monday. Notices will be posted Tuesday morning, he said, giving campers until Thursday morning to find a different place.
After a couple Longview residents expressed concern last month about the makeshift homeless camp affecting the parade route, city officials met with Cowlitz PUD, which organizes the event, to discuss an alternate route, Sacha said. However, there were many unforeseen factors, such as the turn radius at certain street corners, that made it difficult to find a different route, he said.
The parade path, therefore, will remain the same as years before. Floats will begin at the Cowlitz PUD at Commerce Avenue and Fir Street. Participants will then travel north on Commerce to Maple Street, where they will turn left and head west to 14th Avenue. The parade will then turn left again on 14th Avenue, head south to Broadway, where it will turn right and head west to the Civic Circle. The parade will proceed counterclockwise on the Civic Circle, passing the Longview Public Library and the Monticello Hotel before disbanding at Larch Street.
Under city law, camping also is banned in R.A. Long Park, where the festival will take place, Sacha said.
Police Chief Jim Duscha said he doesn’t anticipate any problems between campers and parade viewers. There will be officers on duty for the parade, just as there are every year, but the police department doesn’t plan to do anything additional this year, he said.
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“If there are any problems around City Hall, we will be right on it, but we don’t have any special plans,” Duscha said Monday. “I really don’t see how it’s going to be a problem unless it is pushed into being a problem.”
PUD spokeswoman Alice Dietz said the 39th annual holiday parade has a record number of participants already signed up this year. The 90 participants also includes groups from Thurston County, Vancouver and the Portland area.
The grand marshal this year will be Brooke Fisher-Clark, Executive Director of United Way.
“We chose her for how well she’s been doing with United Way and how, from her leadership, United Way is giving back to the community,” Dietz said.
Lights on Lions Island in Lake Sacajawea Park also will be turned on after the parade Saturday night.