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Middle of Millen Parade gears up for 17th year

The annual parade draws crowds from across the Portland area to watch the tiny neighborhood parade.Millen Drive has been hosting its small neighborhood parade for close to two decades, making a big deal out of old fashioned neighborhood pride.Tigard’s Middle of Millen Independence Day Parade may not have a long parade route, but it has a long history as one of the city's most popular Fourth of July events.

The tiny parade covers about seven-tenths of a mile, but has become a neighborhood tradition near Tigard High School since its inception 17 years ago.

“I can’t believe it has become as big as it has,” said Carol Gifford, who organizes the event every year. “It’s like throwing a patriotic costume party every year.”

The parade starts on Millen and loops around the small neighborhood west of Southwest 92nd Avenue before ending back at Millen Drive. The parade started nearly two decades ago after Gifford asked her nephew’s friends to play “Louie Louie” up and down the street on the Fourth of July.

“Friends would come over, and one friend eventually said, ‘I’m always going to be over here, why not just have a parade?’” Gifford said.

Check it out!

What: Middle of Millen Independence Day Parade

Where: 9225 S.W. Millen Drive, in Tigard

When: 4 p.m., Friday, July 4.

How much: Free

Neighbors decorate floats for the annual event, Gifford said. “They get out the papier-mâché, the glue gun, the duct tape. Nothing is off limits. They take it to heart. If I’m out walking the dogs they’ll close the garage door so I can’t see what they’re making for their float.”

Tigard Police will kick off the parade with ATVs and motorcycles, followed by horses from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Tigard Mayor John L. Cook, and others.

“We get more and more people coming every year,” she said. “Some come all the way from Gresham just to watch the parade.”

The parade is popular, Gifford said, because of its appeal for the American dream.

“People want to have that kind of neighborhood,” Gifford said. “We have a great neighborhood. I think that’s magical.”

Gifford said that she hopes her parade stays small forever.

“For the neighbors and friends who have been putting this on with me forever, I think they would be disappointed,” she said. “It wouldn’t be the Middle of Millen parade anymore if it didn’t go down Millen. We’re happy to keep it little and homey.”

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