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News Releases
Gresham Arts Festival aims to break world record; offers free summer concert with internationally acclaimed country star - 07/11/19

GRESHAM, Ore. – Celebrate art with free, family-friendly fun at the 18th annual Gresham Arts Festival with more than 100 artists, live music, Guinness World Record attempt and more—it’s all happening on Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 in historic downtown Gresham.

The Gresham Arts Festival draws thousands from around the region each year to the charming downtown streets to meet, browse and shop from a carefully curated selection of Northwest artists and artisans, ranging from painters, potters and sculptors to woodworkers, photographers, jewelers and more.

“We worked hard this year to create a community event that has plenty of free entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.  Whether you’re an art lover or looking for family fun, you’ll find it at the Gresham Arts Festival,” Mayor Shane Bemis said.

Festival activity summary:

Friday, July 19, Art Under the Stars, 6-10 p.m., Main Avenue in historic downtown

  • Kick off Arts Festival weekend with a free concert featuring rhythm and blues artist the Norman "Boogie Cat" Sylvester Band.
  • Beer, wine, outdoor dining, kids’ activities and a silent art auction benefitting Gresham Outdoor Public Art.

Saturday, July 20, Gresham Arts Festival, historic downtown

  • Artist Market, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: More than 100 juried artisans from all over the Pacific Northwest fill the streets with an amazing array of unique art. Featuring live music and cultural performances all day, more than 100 shops and restaurants, and the Gresham Farmers' Market. Location: Historic downtown.
  • Kids Village, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Art fun for kids is on the Arts Plaza, just steps from downtown. Enjoy free craft stations presented by sponsors, face painting, bounce houses, sports obstacles, live music, a visit from the Reptile Man and more. Splash in the Children’s Fountain. Location: Arts Plaza, 401 NE 2nd St.
  • Guinness World Record Event, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Gresham is going to crush the world’s record for the largest display of origami turtles, in honor of Gresham’s native Western painted turtles. Location: Arts Plaza, 401 NE 2nd St.
  • Breakin’ on Main, noon-5 p.m.: Breakin' on Main presented by the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce takes the art of dance to a whole new level. Watch it unfold with more than a dozen talented break dance teams from around the West Coast. Hosted by OSK with music by djblessOne. Location: Second Street and Main Avenue
  • Summer Jam concert, 6-10 p.m.: Featuring Portland-based duo The Talbott Brothers and internationally-acclaimed country star Tenille Arts (as seen on The Bachelor!). Free. Live music, local cuisine, and Migration Brewing beer garden, with wine from Buddha Kat Winery and Catman Cellars and cider from Hood View Ciderworks. Location: Arts Plaza, 401 NE 2nd St.

Park at Gresham City Hall at 1333 NW Eastman Parkway and take the free shuttle, courtesy of First Student, to the Arts Plaza. Parking is also available at nine City-owned lots in and around downtown or take public transportation via TriMet’s MAX Blue Line to Gresham Central Transit Center.

More than 60 sponsors make this community event possible. Special thanks to our Patron sponsors: Gresham Ford, The Outlook/Pamplin Media Group, MetroEast Community Media, 101.9 KINK FM and 98.7 The Bull.

For more information, visit

For information the day of the event, members of the media may call or text Elizabeth Coffey, Communications Manager for the City of Gresham, at 503-793-4167.

City monitors lead levels in water; offers advice for residents - 06/28/19

GRESHAM, OR. – Twice annually, the City tests water in homes to evaluate lead levels in drinking water.  In more than ten percent of the homes recently sampled (seven homes total), lead levels were above the action level of 15 parts per billion.  The City is providing information and resources to its residents to reduce exposure to lead in their drinking water, which enters the drinking water through plumbing within the home.

In 1986 the City removed all known lead service connections from its distribution system. Exposure to lead in drinking water is possible if a home has plumbing that contains lead. Homes typically built between 1983 and 1985 are sampled because they have copper pipe and lead solder.  Lead enters the drinking water from the corrosion of building plumbing and fixtures. The homes in Gresham that participate in a voluntary water monitoring program are sampled because they represent high risk. Samples are collected by the homeowners after the water has been standing in household plumbing for more than six hours.

“Protecting public health is a top priority for the City of Gresham,” said Andrew Degner, Water Resources Regulatory Manager. “We’ve informed our customers of these test results and educated them on the ways they can take action to reduce exposure to lead in their water.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the biggest sources of exposure to lead are not from drinking water but rather from exposure to lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil. Residents concerned about exposure to lead in their homes, especially those with pregnant women and children six years and younger, may contact the City of Gresham at 503-618-2525 or visit to learn more about reducing exposure.

There are five simple steps to reduce exposure to lead in water:

  1. Run cold water to flush out lead.  If the water hasn’t been used for several hours, run cold taps for 30 seconds to two minutes before drinking or cooking. This simple step can reduce lead in water up to 90% or more.
  2. Clean faucet aerators to remove trapped sediment.
  3. Do not cook, drink or make baby formula with hot water from the tap. Hot water dissolves contaminants, like lead, quicker than cold water.
  4. Do not boil water to reduce lead; it will not remove the contaminant.
  5. Install low lead fixtures and a lead-reducing filter.

Residents may order a free water test kit at or 503-988-4000.  

Gresham celebrates elimination of Oregon's stolen vehicle loophole - 06/19/19

It’s about to be get harder to steal a vehicle in Oregon. The City of Gresham, and the lawmakers representing it, celebrated the passage of HB 2328 today, which passed easily in the Oregon State Senate. The bill previously passed the House of Representatives last week, which means that it now moves on to the Governor’s desk for signature.

The issue rose to prominence when a pair of Court rulings in 2014 and 2015 reinterpreted Oregon’s stolen vehicle statutes, establishing a much more strenuous burden of proof—suspects typically had to get caught in the act of stealing the vehicles or admit the vehicles were stolen. HB 2328 reestablished the previous burden of proof—evidence like fingerprints, possession of the stolen vehicle, and possession of the tools used to steal the vehicle—putting the teeth back into Oregon’s stolen vehicle statutes.

The City of Gresham strongly advocated for the bill’s passage, listing it as a top priority for the current legislative session. Stolen vehicle cases doubled in Gresham after the Court rulings, from around 600 cases a year to more than 1,200 cases a year. Prior to the adverse Court rulings, stolen vehicle cases represented 4-5 percent of the Gresham Police Department caseload. After the rulings, it jumped to nearly 10 percent of the department’s caseload.

“We are extremely happy to see this bill pass the Legislature,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. “It is insane to think that suspects could completely avoid any legal consequences by simply claiming ignorance, even in the presence of overwhelming evidence that they stole the vehicles.” He continued, “The spike in stolen vehicles put a horrible burden on our residents, often those experiencing the most economically vulnerability, who couldn’t get their kids to school and make it to work on time, and who suddenly found themselves facing impound and repair fees, or the cost of a new vehicle.”

Legislators from East Multnomah County helped champion the bill. Senate President Pro Tempore, Laurie Monnes-Anderson (D, Gresham) was a Chief Sponsor, along with Representatives Carla Piluso (D, Gresham), and Janelle Bynum (D, Clackamas). Representative Chris Gorsek (D, Troutdale) was also a Regular Sponsor of the bill.

“I regularly heard from constituents that this issue was at the top of their lists, and I am extremely happy that we were able to fix the issue in this legislative session,” said Monnes-Anderson. “This was a high priority for me because it hit hard-working residents the hardest and was deeply disruptive to their households, neighborhoods and our community livability.”

Piluso, who serves as the Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee, where the bill was referred, also celebrated its passage. “As a former Police Chief, I saw first-hand how destabilizing it can be to have a vehicle stolen,” Piluso said. “Many families depend on their car for work, school and daily life. I am extremely happy that we were able to push the bill over the finish line.”

Bynum also serves on the Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee, as well as the House Committee on the Judiciary, where HB 2328 made its first stop. “I have had my eye on this bill throughout the session, knowing how important it is for my constituents,” Bynum said. “The most commonly stolen vehicles are older model sedans, which means that this bill will help households that are already facing the most economic strain.”

Gorsek, a former police officer who also supported the bill as a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, celebrated its passage. “East Multnomah County got hit particularly hard when the legal burden changed for stolen vehicle cases, which means that we stand to gain the most by fixing the law,” Gorsek said. “This is a small change to statute that will have a big impact in our community.”

Media note:
Mayor Bemis is available for comments.