Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question, we have an answer!

We’ve been keeping track, and here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions (from the basic to the bizarre). Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send us an email.

 

What days and times are the lights on?
When is Pedestrian-only night?
How can I find out if the street has unexpectedly closed to vehicles?
What about parking?
I lost something on the Lane. Did you find it?
Are some nights better than others for seeing the lights?
Can I take a carriage ride on Peacock Lane?
How much is cocoa and when is it available?
Tips for viewing the lights from my car?
Tips for viewing the lights by foot?
Is smoking allowed on the Lane?
Can I bring my dog?
Can I bike on the Lane?
Can my singing group perform?
Can I sell novelty items, charge for photos with me, or promote my business?
Can my charity or non-profit solicit donations or petition signatures?
I’m arranging a bus or van for a group. What do I need to know?
If I have a special request, who can I ask?
Can I go into a yard to take a photo?
Are Peacock Lane residents contractually obligated to decorate your houses?
Why are some houses decorated so much more than others?
What does this do to your electric bill every year?
What other organizations help out with the event?

What days and times are the lights on?

December 15 – December 31, from 6-11pm each night (except December 24th and 31st, when we keep them on until Midnight).

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When is Pedestrian-only night?

For 2016, Pedestrian-only nights will be December 15, 16, and 17 (Thursday through Saturday). However, the police do evaluate the traffic situation nightly, and determine whether or not it is safe for cars to continue to have access. If you are not able to visit us on foot in the event of an unscheduled closure, please plan to monitor our Facebook or Twitter pages for traffic updates.

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How can I find out if the street has unexpectedly closed to vehicles?

We keep the official web site, Facebook Page and Twitter feeds updated frequently with any changes to the traffic situation. If you have the Facebook or Twitter apps on your phone, and have Notifications turned on for those apps, you should receive a notification when we update the page/twitter feed (assuming all is working well with the apps).

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What about parking?

There is no official parking, and Walgreens asks that you not use their parking lot. We highly recommend you take Tri-Met (which also lets you avoid long waits along SE Belmont and SE Stark), walk, or bike to Peacock Lane. This area has lots of great restaurants, shops, pubs, and coffee houses, so it makes for a fun night out of walking, enjoying the lights and doing a little holiday exploration of the neighborhood – some of our neighbors put up some fun light displays, too!

If you are parking on a nearby street to walk on Peacock Lane: pleasebe respectful of our neighbors! The people in the Sunnyside and Laurelhurst neighborhoods around us are so gracious about our event every year. Please help us thank them for their support by taking care to do the following things:

  • Park thoughtfully. Do not block driveways, double park, drive on lawns, etc. Do obey posted parking advisories and drive slowly through our residential areas.
  • Dispose of garbage properly. While on Peacock Lane, you will find event garbage containers. If you leave the Lane with your cocoa cups, doggie bags, or other litter, please find an appropriate receptacle for it (even if that means you have to take it home with you).
  • Be patient and empathetic. All our visitors want a chance to see the lights and experience our festive atmosphere. All our neighbors want to get home from work or get where they’re going on time. At this time of year, and because the whole point is some good old fashioned holiday spirit, please be gentle and thoughtful with each other out there in the neighborhood.

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I lost something on the Lane. Did you find it?

There is a lost and found box near the cocoa booth where we put lost things like gloves and scarves. We try to post photos of the box contents every few days on our Facebook page so you can check virtually for your items that way. Items form this box that remain unclaimed at the end of the season will be donated to charity. When more valuable items are turned in, and we can’t figure out how to reach you from the clues available on the items, we’ll keep them in a more secure place. If you’re missing something like that, email us and we’ll try our best to reunite you with your stuff.

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Are some nights better than others for seeing the lights?

After the 25th, we find the traffic calms significantly, giving you a better chance to enjoy the lights with less noise and far fewer people. However, there’s no cocoa booth at that point, and most of the unofficial performers (carolers, for example) will not be coming out. Also, with it being generally calmer, the chance of vehicle traffic being allowed on the Lane increases.

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Can I take a carriage ride on Peacock Lane?

Sorry, carriage rides aren’t happening anymore due to changes in permits and traffic restrictions during the lights displays.

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How much is cocoa and when is it available?

There’s no charge for hot cocoa or hot cider. We always welcome donations in the booth (it helps us pay to have the cocoa and cider made), but there’s no required payment. A portion of proceeds from the cocoa booth will be donated to a local charity each year. For 2016, Peacock Lane neighbors have voted to make our annual donation to the Architectural Heritage Center, in support of our application for National Historic District designation. For more information about our bid to be included on the Historic Register, or to make a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts, please visit our GoFundMe campaign page.
The cocoa booth opens at 6pm every night from Dec 15-24, and closes when/if we run out. Cocoa tends to run out quickly if the weather is nice. Get here as early as you can if you’d like to enjoy the cocoa/cider. Visitors are welcome to bring their own reusable cups for cocoa and cider.

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Tips for viewing the lights from my car?

      1. Don’t plan to drive the Lane on Pedestrian Only nights (December 15th, 16th and 17th in 2016).
      2. Be prepared to go with the flow! We can’t ever guarantee that the Lane will stay open to vehicle traffic, even when it’s not Pedestrian Night. That’s because the Portland Police will close the street if traffic is too thick for pedestrian safety or is causing major backups or fender benders in the area. If you drive to Peacock Lane and find it’s closed to vehicles, you have a couple options. If you can park and walk instead, please do! In our opinion, the experience is more fun this way. If someone in your car isn’t able to walk the Lane, then we suggest you find a fun way to kill some time by having a bite to eat or a drink at one of the wonderful businesses nearby. There’s a food cart pod at SE 43rd and Belmont with a heated seating area, and lots of other things to do along Belmont and Hawthorne. While you wait, you can check for updates on our Twitter or Facebook pages to find out when the Lane is open again for cars. If walking the Lane just won’t work for you, another option is to come after the 25th, when crowds really thin out and you’re much more likely to be able to drive down without a hitch.
      3. Turn off your headlights! It’s so much easier for everyone to appreciate the decorations without the glare of headlights. But, please do remember to turn them back on when you head out into the neighborhood.
      4. Be patient. You’re going to be in your car a while. There will probably be a line leading up the Lane, and then you’ll creep along at a snail’s pace for 4 blocks. Put on some music and enjoy it. IF you’re in a hurry to catch a movie or get to your dinner reservation, it’s not going to be as pleasant!
      5. Bundle up. You’re probably going to want to open your windows, and you might end up walking if the street is closed to cars, so dress warmly, bring blankets, etc.

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Tips for viewing the lights by foot?

  1. Check the weather forecast. Even if it’s not raining or snowing, it can get cold and windy. Even when there are no crowds, it still takes about half an hour to really see everything, so you’ll want to be dressed for the conditions.
  2. Have a plan in case your group gets separated. During peak hours, the Lane can be shoulder to shoulder crowds. Make a plan with your group about where to meet if you get separated.
  3. Stay on the path. This generally means the sidewalk, but during times when the Lane is closed to cars, it also includes the paved street. Unless you see a clearly marked pathway to enter a yard for a photo op, you can assume the resident prefers you not to walk on their yard. Most of our yards have lots of electrical cords across them, and we wouldn’t want you or your child to trip. Also, these are old homes and some of them have old wiring, too. Jostling the extension cords has been known to cause a shorted circuit or two, and it’s a bummer for everyone when one of the houses goes dark.
  4. Everything on Peacock Lane is free. You do not need to pay for anything. If a performer, vendor, or charity rep is asking you for money or being otherwise aggressive, they are not supposed to do that. Please let a police officer know. You are not prohibited from giving money to performers and such, but please don’t feel pressured. The cocoa booth does accept donations of cash and canned goods, but cocoa and cider are always FREE, so please know that your donations are 100% optional (and 100% appreciated)!

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Is smoking allowed on the Lane?

Peacock Lane is an outdoor public street, and that means that smoking tobacco is not prohibited. However, please be mindful of the people around you. Crowds on the Lane can get very thick; at times people are shoulder-to-shoulder for the entire 4-block walk down the street. A lot of families with young children visit the Lane. We know you aren’t looking to burn someone with your cigarette butt or expose little kids to smoke, so please consider waiting until you reach the cross street and the crowd thins before you light up. Thank you!

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Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are welcome, but only on leashes, and please, clean up after them and carry their waste out with you. We see a lot of dogs, and kids who love to pet them, on the Lane, so be sure your dog is 100% comfortable with large tight crowds, noise, lights and a huge variety of other dogs. A short leash is preferred, so your pet can stay close (and so nobody trips over long leashes).

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Can I bike on the Lane?

It’s a great idea to ride your bike to Peacock Lane (bonus points if you decorate your bike)! However, we ask that you walk your bike while you’re viewing the lights. There are typically too many people, including unpredictable small kids and dogs, on the Lane during viewing hours for safe riding.

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Can my singing group perform?

Yes, singing groups, musicians, carolers and Unicycling Bagpiping Lords of the Sith are always welcome, but you cannot directly ask for money. The Lane is a 100% commercial-free community event put on by its residents, and we expect you to respect that.

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Can I sell novelty items, charge for photos with me, or promote my business?

No. We do not allow any commercial enterprises on the Lane. It’s a 100% commercial-free event so everyone can enjoy some holiday magic without having to spend any money. If you see someone selling items, please contact a Lane resident or Police officer – whom you can typically find standing at the end of the Lane.

In addition, we ask that organizations and individuals do not hand out flyers on the Lane. This generates a lot of litter (no matter how great your materials are), and our neighbors have to pick it all up in the morning!

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Can my charity or non-profit solicit donations or petition signatures?


No. It’s the same as with the commercial enterprises – no fundraising, promoting, vending, etc.

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I’m arranging a bus or van for a group. What do I need to know?

Have a backup plan. If the Lane gets closed to vehicle traffic, your bus/van will absolutely not be allowed down the Lane. You’ll want to plan ahead as to where you’d park and then walk the Lane. Remember that the entire Lane is Pedestrians Only on December 15-17 (Thursday-Saturday).
If the Lane stays open to vehicles, you should still plan for a long wait (upwards of 30 minutes) to get onto the Lane from the main streets (SE Belmont and SE Stark). Travel down the Lane in a vehicle can take 15-45 minutes, depending upon traffic congestion. It’s best to plan to park somewhere and walk with your group if you can. Be sure to make a plan to meet somewhere before and after, because it’s fairly likely someone will get separated from the group at some point during your journey.
If you’re planning a meetup or other public event at Peacock Lane, we’d love for you to let us know about it! You can give us a head’s up on Twitter or by email. Let us know if you’d want us to share your event with our followers, and about how many people you’re expecting (if you have an estimate).

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If I have a special request, who can I ask?

Please email us! We love to try to help you out with big ideas like marriage proposals or surprise reunions with long-lost relatives. Please be aware that we will not open early or stay open later, because it causes too many traffic problems.
If you’re planning a meetup or other public event at Peacock Lane, we’d love for you to let us know about it! You can give us a heads up on Twitter or by email. Let us know if you’d want us to share your event with our followers, and about how many people you’re expecting (if you have an estimate).

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Can I go into a yard to take a photo?

We request that you stay on the path. Especially if you see any sort of fence, do not enter the yard. This is for safety (we have a lot of electrical wires running across our yards) and maintenance purposes (thousands of people crossing our yard makes for a long spring of trying to grow our grass back). Some residents do make special pathways for you to use to enter the yard for photos, so keep an eye out for those!

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Are Peacock Lane residents contractually obligated to decorate your houses?

No! This fun is run purely on voluntarism and holiday spirit. Most of the residents move here because they want to be part of the Lane’s magic every year (and the rest of them graciously tolerate it 😉 ).

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Why are some houses decorated so much more than others?

Each resident is responsible for their own light display. Some of us want to go over the top, and some of us prefer a more subtle approach. Some residents hire pros to hang their lights, some are up on the ladder in their spare time. We like to appreciate each house on its own merits. Sometimes we get invited to participate as a neighborhood in holiday lights competitions or reality TV shows, but that’s just not our vibe. We hope that the overall effect of seeing a few dozens homes decorated on the same street will delight you all the same!

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What does this do to your electric bill every year?

Not much, honestly. Most of us moved to LED lights long ago, thus significantly reducing our lighting costs and environmental impact. Also, it’s only 5-6 hours per night, for two weeks, so it doesn’t have a significant impact on electrical usage.

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What other organizations help out with the event?

Peacock Lane is completely managed by the residents, but we do get help. Our heartfelt thanks go out to:

      • The Portland Police Department and Youth Cadets help us control and direct traffic and maintain security
      • The City of Portland helps with permits and lots of other administrative stuff
      • Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and Southeast Uplift offer us lots of logistical support every year
      • Boyd’s Coffee and Tea donate a significant portion of the cocoa, cider, and cups for the Cocoa Booth
      • Walgreens puts up portable toilets to help our visitors be comfortable
      • Volunteers of America mix up our cocoa and cider and deliver it to the Cocoa Booth daily
      • Waste Management donates products and services to help us keep litter under control on the Lane

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