City brings live music to street plazas all month long

It’s not enough to create public street plazas and then just hope people will flock to them. Activating the spaces is a key park of making them attractive to more people — and vibrant, popular plazas are a common theme in every great city around the world. The Portland Bureau of Transportation understands this and they’ve partnered with the nonprofit trade association MusicPortland to bring live music to three street plazas all month long.

You might have heard the soothing sounds of some of the bands during a recent Bike Happy Hour since the Rainbow Road plaza on Southeast Ankeny is one of the lucky locations PBOT chose for this program.

“The goal is to create music when our plazas are most utilized,” PBOT’s Dylan Rivera shared with BikePortland. “With that in mind, music is happening during the Wednesday Bike Happy Hour at Rainbow Road, lunchtime at the Cart Blocks, and during the Montavilla Farmers Market.”

Here are the details:

Every Wednesday Live Music on Rainbow Road: Come to Ankeny Rainbow Road Plaza at SE Ankeny Street and SE 28th Avenue for a night of, food, bakery goods, and beverages while listening to professional musicians liven up the plaza. Starting at 4:30 p.m. and running until 6:30 p.m. Come enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!

Every Thursday Live Music at Cart Blocks- Grab a tasty bite to eat at one of Cart Blocks Plaza’s amazing food carts and enjoy local music hosted by Music Portland and located at SW Park Avenue and SW Ankeny Street. The event starts at 12 p.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

Sept. 18 Living Room Session at Pride Plaza- Come join other Portlanders for an afternoon of live music sponsored by Music Portland at Pride Plaza on Harvey Milk Street and 12th Avenue from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. featuring performances by Dune Laila and Jermaine.

Every Thursday Montavilla Farmer Market- Sponsored by Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA), this market is located at SE Stark Street and SE 79th Avenue. The event opens at 4 p.m. and closes at 7 p.m. September is the last month this event will run, take this opportunity to pick up seasonal produce and more from local farmers.

PBOT says this small-scale pilot has been a success and they plan to seek additional funding for a larger-scale music program in 2024. Learn more about PBOT’s street plaza program here.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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9 months ago

I don’t like bluegrass. This is all gonna be bluegrass, right? It’s always bluegrass.

9 months ago

Can’t wait to see what you guys can come up with to complain about this

Daniel Reimer
9 months ago
Reply to  Eric

Hows this?

Sounds promising but I’m not holding my breath for live music in plazas. Unfortunately Portland is in a bit of a free fall economically with businesses leaving along with high income individuals due to the high taxes and low quality of services being provided to taxpayers. Portlanders have opted to tax others heavily with poorly designed and executed taxes (PCEF, Homeless Tax, Preschool Tax, Metro Affordable Housing bond, etc) as well as a support a lot of wasteful and non essential city spending. Until the city can significantly cut much of its wasteful expenditures and these new taxes can be re-directed to essential services such as public safety and transportation I don’t foresee much improvement. PORTLAND IS DYING PORTLAND IS ON FIRE PORTLAND IS DYING

What do I win?