Every year on Labor Day, union members in Oregon and Southwest Washington come together to celebrate family and community. Here are this year’s events.
The region’s largest Labor Day picnic takes place at Oaks Amusement Park in Southeast Portland, sponsored by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Members and their families from dozens of unions – up to 20,000 people – turn out for barbecue, games, carnival rides, raffle drawings, music, and a chance to hear from local politicians. The picnic runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Politicians take the stage at 1 p.m. For more information, call the Northwest Oregon Labor Council at 503-235-9444.
Best way to get there: Parking can be scarce in and around Oaks Park on Labor Day, the park’s busiest day of the year. But there’s plenty of parking five miles north at OMSI, the McLoughlin Overpass, McCoy Millwork, and the Portland Opera. The Oregon Pacific Railroad shuttles between OMSI and Oaks Park from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. — $5 round trip for adults, free for kids 12 and under. The train boards at Southeast 4th and Caruthers.
Scavenger hunt teaches kids about unions (and they might win a bike): A scavenger hunt for children ages 1 to 18 will be presented by Labor’s Community Service Agency (LCSA). Participants will use clues found in a “passport” to find various unions at the picnic. For example, a clue might be: “We are the union that delivers your mail six days a week.” Answer: National Association of Letter Carriers. Participants must find the NALC picnic site (look for signage) and have their passports stamped there. Children can pick up passports at LCSA’s booth at the picnic starting at 10 a.m. Once they obtain the required number of stamps, kids return their passport to the LCSA booth, where they will be eligible for a drawing to win a bicycle (donated by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union). All participants get union-made cookies, provided by Franz Bakery, whose employees are represented by Bakers Local 114.
Labor Day blood drive challenge: Which union will be tops this year? Northwest Oregon Labor Council and Labor’s Community Service Agency team up with American Red Cross again this Labor Day for a blood drive competition. Bloodmobiles will be parked at the picnic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers are asking that union members pre-register so donations can be collected as quickly as possible. The blood donation process takes about an hour. The labor organization that collects the most units of blood will have its name added to a perpetual trophy, plus bragging rights for the entire year. Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Local 5017 is the defending champion. Oregon Nurses Association represents nurses at the Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross, and Teamsters Local 223 represents support staff there. You can pre-register online. Plug in sponsor code “NOLC.”
For out-of-work union families, free food and drink at the picnic: Labor’s Community Service Agency (LCSA) will provide free food and drink scrip for union families who are verified to be out of work and want to take part in the Labor Day picnic festivities at Oaks Park. Scrip will be limited to a certain amount per family on a first-come, first-served basis. To make arrangements for scrip, call Labor’s Community Service Agency at 503-231-4962 and leave a message that you would like some scrip for the picnic.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Emigrant Lake, Picnic Shelter D, 5505 Highway 66, Ashland. Lunch will be served at noon. Sponsored by the Southern Oregon Central Labor Chapter.
12:30 to 3:30 p.m., Pioneer Park, NW Wall St., Bend. There will be food, drinks, and music. Please bring dessert; everything else is provided. Bring your family! Invite your friends! Sponsored by the Central Oregon Central Labor Chapter.
Toutle River RV Resort, 150 Happy Trails, Castle Rock, Washington, Exit 52 off I-5. Grilling hamburgers and hot dogs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your favorite side dish to share. There will be music, swimming, kids’ games, a bouncy house, a giant croquet tournament, and more. Please bring a school supply or two to donate to the local school district.
Willamalane Park Shelters, 6100 Thurston Road, Springfield (behind splash pool). Starts at noon. Please bring a side dish to share. Sponsored by the Lane County Central Labor Chapter.
NORTH BEND/COOS BAY
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ferry Road Park, North Bend. Music, games and fun for the whole family. Please bring a donation of non-perishable food items. Sponsored by the Southwestern Oregon Central Labor Chapter.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Waterfront Park. A barbecue, side dishes and soft drinks will be provided from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost: two non-perishable food items per person, or $2 per person for the Marion/Polk Food Bank. Sponsored by Marion-Polk-Yamhill Central Labor Chapter.
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