Elvis sighted – in Glenfair!

When you see his photos, you’ll agree – this entertainer might be the reincarnation of “The King”; he performed at the outer East Portland National Night Out party …

The NNO party that Glenfair hosts each year offers hundreds of neighbors the opportunity to meet one another, learn about community resources, and gather public safety information.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The second 2013 National Night Out Against Crime (NNO) party to which East Portland News was invited took place on August 7, in Glenfair Park.

The Glenfair Neighborhood, part of the Rosewood Initiative area, has a high concentration of multi-family dwellings and working class folks. Several organizations are working together to overcome problems, including a high crime rate: Drugs, gangs, and violence, leading to a negative public perception of the area.

Glenfair Neighborhood Association Chair Brenda McSweeney and Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz pause for a photo, as this NNO celebration gets underway.

Glenfair Neighborhood Association Chair Brenda McSweeney again led the effort to provide an entertaining NNO event for her neighbors. “We need to provide positive things for kids and families to do together here.

“We’re glad so many neighbors come out to meet each other, and learn more about their community,” McSweeney remarked.

Jake Mardegamo, Lesty Candamo, and Aurora Gonzales are three of the dozen volunteers with the American Pilipino Christian Church who provided – and served – sweet treats at the party.

Flanked by volunteers from the David Douglas Historical Society is the organization’s president, Ted Condon.

It’s the East Portland Rovers! Standing: Wilkes Community Group’s Kim Brickle, Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood Association’s Tom Barnes, Centennial Community Association’s Tom Lewis, Rockwood Neighborhood Association’s Donna Dionne, and seated): Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood Association’s Debbie Smith and Barb Klinger. They all come from their respective neighborhoods to help out at the Glenfair NNO.

Again, at this event, members of the loose-knit East Portland Rovers volunteer group – mostly leaders from nearby outer East Portland neighborhoods – came to help out.

“I’m so impressed on how people are working together,” McSweeney said about the Rovers.  “This is a wonderful model of how people in East Portland neighborhoods come out to help one another.”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz agreed. “Volunteers helping out one another is the essence of community building,” she commented.

Although no longer the Commissioner in charge of the NNO-sponsoring City agency, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Fritz told East Portland News she still enjoys coming to NNO parties to which she is invited.

“I am, indeed, very happy to be here. I enjoy visiting neighbors in our parks – I’ll come out for any excuse, or none at all!” Fritz exclaimed. “But, as Commissioner of Portland Parks & Recreation, it’s wonderful to see this, and other community gathering events, taking place in our parks.”

Beau Smits gets to see what it’s like to be astride a Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division motor cycle.

Grinding out cool snow cones on a hot afternoon are Arvin Gonzales and Aexia Gonzales.

As at many NNO events, Portland Police Bureau officers and Portland Fire & Rescue crews came by, delighting young and old. Inexpensive and free food and treats were available to all, on this delightfully warm summer evening.

Belting out another love song ballad is Mark Stevenz as Elvis.

But the highlight for many of the 600 people who gathered at this event was the appearance of Mark Stevenz’s Elvis Presley tribute show.

In addition to his remarkably engaging performance, “Elvis” also walked into the crowd, and invited kids up on stage to perform with him.

Many of the hundreds stayed on to see the film, “The Croods” – a Movie in the Park presentation – complete with bags of freshly made popcorn.

Clearly this annual event, supported in part perhaps for the last year by a grant from the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement East Portland Small Grant Program, fulfilled its purpose of building a stronger, safer community.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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