‘Crime Prevention Awards’ bestowed on three East Portlanders

Learn which, and why, Wilkes, Montavilla and Mt. Tabor neighbors were honored. Also see the kick-off of the ‘National Night Out Against Crime’ season …

Neighbors take seats, as the 2014 Crime Prevention Awards program gets underway in Laurelhurst Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
This year, the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) Crime Prevention Program officials made a delightful change of venue for their Crime Prevention Awards celebration.

Instead of again holding their event in front of the Portland Police Bureau Southeast Precinct – beset with traffic noise and exhaust fumes – they selected the peaceful tranquility of Laurelhurst Park for the July 10 event.

Guests and representatives of Portland’s Emergency First Responders were plied with gourmet Flying Pie Pizza pies, cookies, and soft drinks, before the awards presentation.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales welcomes attendees to the National Night Out season kickoff.

“One of the things that should not go out of fashion in our city is National Night Out,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, on hand to offer opening remarks

“Unfortunately gang violence is up right now, and we’ve had some real tragedies in the last couple of weeks,” Hales said. “But, neighbors getting to know one another, working with each other and in cooperation with law enforcement, make our neighborhoods safer.

“I really support what you are doing,” Hales concluded. “People working together, to help shape our communities, really makes a difference.”

Portland Police Bureau Assistant Chief Mike Crebs says that citizen volunteers help make Portland a safe and livable city.

Speaking on behalf of the Bureau, Portland Police Assistant Chief Mike Crebs remarked, “I’m very proud to serve with the Portland Police Bureau and help make communities safer. I see a lot of friendly faces here tonight that I remember from the time when I was Commander at East Precinct.

“People like you are the ones that make Portland great, and a safe community in which to live,” Crebs continued. “Call your precinct and get your name on the list so we can get out to your National Night Out event.”

Three of the four 2014 Crime Prevention Awards went to East Portland citizens or organizations, revealed Crime Prevention Center Program Manager Stephanie Reynolds.

2014 Neighborhood Watch Award
WilkesNeighborhood Eyes

Wilkes neighbor Sharon Maxey accepts the Neighborhood Watch Award from Crime Prevention Center Program Manager Stephanie Reynolds.

Reynolds told how, starting with a Neighborhood Watch training on April 29th, 2013, a group that named itself “Neighborhood Eyes” took on sending out e-mail alerts to neighbors. “Relationships among neighbors were further strengthened that summer as members organized the blocks’ first-ever National Night Out party,” Reynolds said.

In May, members of Neighborhood Eyes utilized their e-mail network to coordinate an effort to stop squatters from taking over a vacant house on their block, Reynolds added. One neighbor engaged the squatters and gathered information, another reported the activity to NRT Officers Jason Lemons and John Edwards, while another found and contacted the bank who held title to the property. From then on, members of Neighborhood Eyes called 9-1-1 and the NRT officers every time they noticed people trying to break into the house

Neighborhood Eyes have created a Neighborhood Watch culture in their community,” Reynolds said. “They consistently report suspicious activity to the police, utilize their e-mail chain to discuss neighborhood concerns, and most importantly, they look out for each other and for their street as a whole. Neighborhood Eyes embodies the spirit and letter of the Neighborhood Watch program, and we are pleased to honor them with this award.”

After the program,Wilkes neighbor Sharon Maxey told East Portland News that she was proud to have been part of the group that confronted the squatters. “We called the police several times. Then, we went and got the key to the house and put the squatters’ stuff out in the street.”

Asked if those actions took courage, Maxey replied, “It does. But what can the squatters do, call the police? It seemed to work, we have not seen them back!”

2014 Public Safety Project Award
Columbia Christian School

Columbia Christian secondary social studies teacher Jaime Foland stands with graduating seniors Jiayan Sheng and Daniel Smith, as Stephanie Reynolds tells of the group’s accomplishment.

Columbia Christian Capstone students and staff were presented with the 2014 Public Safety Project Award.

This past year, seniors at Montavilla’s Columbia Christian School completed a “capstone project”, designed to engage students in community problem-solving.

Several of these high school seniors decided that crime, especially larceny, was a serious problem on campus and in the surrounding community. They focused their project on finding a solution to the crime problem, and each senior researched a prevention strategy that could lower crime rates in their area.

The students put together an in-depth presentation on “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” (CPTED), including before and after images of locations that had been improved according to CPTED principles. The students also organized a “Day of Awareness” to educate community members about CPTED, attended by well over 100 people.

The students’ CPTED project won first place in the regional Project Citizen competition.

“Engaging communities to address crime and the fear of crime is one of the best ways to make neighborhoods safer,” Reynolds said while presenting awards. “By researching crime prevention strategies and educating area residents about actions they can take to reduce crime, Columbia Christian School students did a great service for the City.”

2014 Pennington Award
Dave Hillman

-7 Stephanie Reynolds tells why Mt. Tabor’s Dave Hillman is being presented with the 2014 Pennington Award – as namesake Keturah Pennington looks on.

The 2014 Pennington Award for Crime Prevention Excellence was presented to Dave Hillman.

From being in the initial training of the Mt. Tabor Foot Patrol in 2000, and completing 2,754 patrols and contributing over 23,000 volunteer hours in the first 10 years – to recruiting volunteers – Hillman has been a public safety leader, Reynolds said.

Hillman was also a co-founder and chairperson for “Friends of Mt. Tabor Park”, a non-profit organization dedicated to park maintenance and improvement for over seven years.

His next challenge was to develop the Visitor Center in Mt. Tabor Park in 2011.

> To read “Thousands come through Mt. Tabor Park Visitor Center”, CLICK HERE.

“For all these reasons,” Reynolds said, “Dave is most deserving of this award. Now, the only question that remains is: What and where is Dave’s next project?”

On August 7, Mark Stevenz presents his Elvis Tribute Show as part of the Glenfair National Night Out celebration.

National Night Out parties planned for August

National Night Out Against Crime has been celebrated across North America on the first Tuesday of August since 1983.

“It’s a day when people hold parties to strengthen community togetherness and resistance to crime,” smiled long-time outer East Portland Crime Prevention Specialist Teri Poppino, as she spoke with East Portland News. “And, it provides a good opportunity for folks to get to know their neighbors and their local public safety officials.”

Here are three of this year’s National Night Out celebrations, already listed in the East Portland News Community Calendar:

August 2 – Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood
About 5:00 p.m., it starts with lots of fun, games and food. Many civic and non-profit and “Emergency First Responders” are there for “show and tell”.

The River City Band & Portland Teen Idols present a live concert 6:30 p.m. Then, at dusk, they’ll be showing The Croods on their big outdoor screen, with stereo sound. Bring a blanket or low beach chairs, a picnic dinner, and warmer clothing for when the sun goes down. This event is located at Earl Boyles Park, SE 112th & Boise Street.

August 5 – Parkrose Neighborhood
The Parkrose Neighborhood Community Picnic is from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. on this evening. Neighborhood families are invited to bring a picnic and blanket and come down to Senn’s Dairy Park for some yard games, a raffle and cake.

“This is a great chance to meet your neighbors and enjoy our Parkrose park!” organizers say. Senn’s Dairy Park is located at 11206 NE Prescott Street. For more information, see the Parkrose Neighborhood Association webpage: CLICK HERE.

August 7 – Glenfair Neighborhood
Elvis returns! Starting about 4:40 p.m. it’s the Glenfair Neighborhood Association’s “National Night out Against Crime” will again offer inexpensive food, and free games and fun.

The evening’s entertainment starts off with Mark Stevenz Elvis Tribute – doing two shows. Then, at dusk, they’ll be showing The Nut Job on their big outdoor screen, with stereo sound. Bring a blanket or low beach chairs, a picnic dinner, and warmer clothing for when the sun goes down. This event is located at Glenfair Park, NE 154th & Couch Ct.

The Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Crime Prevention Program has responsibility for coordinating National Night Out events throughout Portland. To find a party in your neighborhood – or to sign up to organize one – see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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