The secrets of Portland's Peacock Lane

The secrets of Portland's Peacock Lane »Play Video
Going to see the lights on Peacock Lane is a long-standing Portland tradition.

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Many Portland families celebrate Christmas with the long-standing tradition of visiting the lights on Peacock Lane.

But for Michelle Cairo, who is spending her ninth Christmas living on the lane, it’s also a responsibility she loves.

“I’m known for the arches and the candy in the trees,” Cairo said.  “It’s such a Portland tradition, it’s pretty cool.”

She even doesn’t mind having to park two blocks away and walk home while carrying the rest of her Christmas presents from the store.

“It seems to be crazier and crazier. This is the first year the street's been closed down to pedestrian only.”

As she looks down on the crowds from her bedroom window and waves, she recalls the memories she and her neighbors have made.

“Sometimes we stand up here and pretend we're paparazzi,” she said. “One night I woke up to 40 carolers under my window.”

While she’s been a neighbor on Peacock Lane for nearly a decade now, she points to the neighbors who have lived here for 20 or more years.

“There's an urban legend there's a contract out there,” Cairo explained. “There’s not.”

But she’s also never seen a neighbor who doesn’t participate. Even families who live on Peacock Lane but don’t celebrate Christmas will put up lights, she said.

Cairo said people always wonder how expensive living on Peacock Lane must get, but she doesn’t think it’s too bad: $20-50 extra on the month’s electrical bill and a few hundred dollars in lights she is able to reuse.

She admires her neighbors’ decorations and laughs at the neighbors’ nickname for the lit-up lollipops across the street.

“We do call it Typhoid Alley because every little kid walks by and licks them,” Cairo said.

You may not taste the sweetness of this street with those lollipops, but you can feel it.

“I've had people come knock on the door, and they're old and they say, ‘I've been coming here since I was a kid.’”

The lights go on December 15 and last through the month from 6-11 p.m. each night.