Some neighbors upset with Portland's planned naked bike ride
NORTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. - Thousands of naked bicyclists are soon expected to fill Normandale Park in Northeast Portland, which is the meeting place for this year's upcoming World Naked Bike Ride. But some neighbors are not happy about it.
"Kids can't go to strip clubs," said Jean Marshburn, who lives nearby. "It's kind of the same thing, I guess. They should probably go someplace else 'cause there are a lot of kids around. It's kind of like an adult activity."
Other neighbors feel differently.
"As long as it's just a non-sexual thing I don't see any problem with it," said James Harrison, a father who also lives close by. "I don't think there's anything to be ashamed (of) about male or female nudity."
More than 8,000 people showed up for last year's ride, which started off at the South Park Blocks in Southwest Portland.
"The ride is a lighthearted protest against our dependence on fossil fuels," said Stephen Upchurch, one of the event's organizers.
Upchurch says this year they were looking for a starting place with more room, that's close to a MAX station and that won't interfere with other events in the city.
"This event is a family event," Upchurch said. "We have families with children who come to the event."
Upchurch says the group has obtained a permit, talked with the local neighborhood association and notified police, as they've done in the past.
"We want people to be comfortable in their bodies and celebrate their bodies with us," said Upchurch.
"It's kind of entertaining and humorous at the same time," said Marshburn. "But my kids saw 'em out last year and they were a little shocked."
"Say I was here eating lunch with my kids," Harrison said, while sitting at a picnic table in the park with his children, "and then a whole bunch of naked people came running by or walking by or whatever, I think we'd probably just laugh at them. I don't think we would see it as necessarily threatening."
Bicyclists are expected to gather at the park around 8 p.m. June 7.
In the past, police have said they'll look the other way as long as people wear helmets and shoes.