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Wine tasting and a family-friendly picnic in Westmoreland Park -- a novelty, or a new tradition?

DAVID F. ASHTON - A highlight for many at the Portland Picnic was the Grape Stomping Contest. Thats how wine is made, people! Although Westmoreland Park has hosted numerous large events, including an international footbag competition and the annual Milk Carton Regatta, the first large scale, open-to-the-public picnic was set up on September 10th between the park's Casting Pond and Sckavone Stadium.

The family-friendly gathering was presented by "Portland Picnic, LLC", an Oregon Domestic Limited-Liability Company owned by Emily and Travis Motter.

"The project's 'captain', who's been 'steering this ship' – Emily Motter – really thought that Inner Southeast Portland, in this area, would enjoy something like this," commented spokesperson Lydia Corran.

"We have all kinds of activities going on here, including wine-tasting, kids activities, food available for purchase, grape stomping, and other fun and family-friendly things to do," Corran said. "The people who worked on this event are very much involved in, and supportive of, Ride Connection." It was the organization benefiting from the picnic.

"Ride Connection is a nonprofit organization which works in the community to fill gaps in the transportation system," explained Ride Connection Grants/Outreach Manager Cora Lee Potter. "Most of the service that's provided by our volunteer 400 drivers is for older adults and people with disabilities, but we also work with people with low incomes that are trying to get to jobs, and people in rural areas, who don't have many other transportation options."

Some 20 local vendors – several located in surrounding neighborhoods – sold food, beverages, craft items, and entertainment. Families enjoyed a summer afternoon in the park. And, Ride Connection received the proceeds from the wine-tasting, making it a successful outreach activity.

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