East Portland gives the city more than it receives, and now it's given the rest of Portland one more thing: free block parties. Last year, knowing that very few groups in the area hosted neighborhood block parties, officials with the Portland Bureau of Transportation sought to change that.

They abolished the nominal $10 block party permit fee and told would-be organizers they no longer had to collect signatures from residents on affected streets—a pretty big barrier where multifamily apartment complexes dominate.

As of March 2018, permits for block parties are free throughout the city. And in parts of Portland, PBOT will also loan neighbors the required safety barricades for free, too. They cost about $75 to $100 to rent from private companies. "

Block parties are an easy tool for neighbors to engage with each other," writes Dylan Rivera, a PBOT spokesman, in an email. "We love that people want to use our streets as public gathering spaces, building vibrant, resilient neighborhoods."

Click here for the full Best of Portland 2018 guide.