National Night Out enjoyed across East Portland

Come on along for photos of our tour through outer East Portland, as we checked into ten “National Night Out against Crime” picnics, parties, and events of all sizes. There’s a record number of photos in this article …

At the well-attended Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors National Night Out party, folks get to know one another while listening to the sounds of the Eric Christopher Band. See more photos from our stop at their event, further down in this article!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
All across outer East Portland – from the Lents neighborhood in the south, to the Argay neighborhood in the north – neighbors were coming out to meet one another, learning how to help make their community a safer place, and having a good time, during the 2010 National Night Out against Crime (NNO) on August 3.

Follow us our tour, and see neighbors getting together at the ten events we were privileged to visit this year …

Arbor Glenn Apartments
SE 145th Avenue

Kimberly Smith, manager of the newly reopened Arbor Glenn Apartments welcomes all to their NNO event.

“We are celebrating National Night Out here today,” welcomed Kimberly Smith, the manager of Arbor Glenn Apartments. “We’re also celebrating our four-year renovation project today.”

Toby Eidem and Jason Specht of “Teem Green BBQ” sauce up their hot, delicious meats.

After games, safety exhibits, visiting police officers – and the great barbecue dinner – everyone chills out on the lawn to soak in the late afternoon sun.

The brisket and pulled pork served at this NNO event was far better than traditional cookout food, everyone agreed. Police officers who stopped at several different locations said that this was the most delicious food they’d ever had at such an event.

“We are also celebrating our partnership,” Smith said. “We’re celebrating our partnership with East Portland Crime Prevention team and the Portland Police Bureau to make Arbor Glenn a safe, great place to live.”

Lents Neighborhood Association
Lents Park ~ SE 92nd Avenue

Longtime Lents neighborhood supporters Judy and John Welch get ready to scoop ice cream for their annual “social”.

We’ve held an Ice Cream Social for at least 15 years,” said Judy Welch, as we met up with the Lents Neighborhood NNO party. “We started out having one at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, then moved it to this park years ago.”

The best thing is about the annual event, Welch said, is getting neighbors to get together. “Plus it helps neighbors realize that there are agencies here to help them with crime and neighborhood livability issues.”

Sarah Coates Huggins, a project manager with Portland Parks & Recreation, drums up interest in participating in the Lents Park Master Plan.

“That’s the basic thing about National Night Out,” Welch concluded. “It’s to meet other neighbors, visit with the police and fire department, and to know that there is help available when you need it.”

Classique Floors
14107 SE Stark Street

Judith Huck, owner of Classique Floors, is clearly having a great time at the NNO party she’s hosting, at her family-owned store in the Hazelwood Neighborhood.

For the first time ever, a well-respected family business in outer East Portland – Classique Floors – hosted a NNO event on a store’s parking lot and lawn.

“We’ve invited our customers to come by,” Huck said, “but, we decided to host a party so we can meet our neighbors who live right here, near our business.”

The freshly-grilled gourmet hamburgers and hot dogs smelled great, and the guests at the Classique Floors NNO event said they were happy to eat the delicious food while talking with one another.

Huck just couldn’t stop grinning. “This is fun; it really is! We’ve been in the neighborhood in this building for five years, but here, almost on the same block in the neighborhood, for 33 years.”

Classique Floors’ Dave Dickson sure looks happy, as he makes up his dinner plate.

But, it’s not only her family business that’s been located here in the neighborhood. “I grew up right here, on this block, on the other side of East Burnside Street, and would ride my Stingray bike down to the corner store for a treat – the same building we’ve renovated for Classique Floors.”

Lifegate Baptist Church
208 SE 148th Avenue

Because little Pippin Miller says he’s unclear about the game, volunteer Derek Dix shows him how to play it, at Lifegate Baptist Church in the Glenfair Neighborhood.

Celebrating their fourth National Night Out this year were the members of Lifegate Baptist Church.

They were hosting hot dog barbecue, open to all, and they also provided music and had games for the kids throughout the evening.

With prizes for the kids, and free raffle games for adults, Pastor Dan Brown says the church was trying to have something for everyone who stopped by their event.

“It’s an event to which our congregation really looks forward every year,” said Pastor Dan Brown. “A couple of years ago, one of the neighbors told us that this is one of the ‘bright spots’ of the year for them. To give even a little – and some much-needed hope – in the middle of a neighborhood that seems pretty dark and hopeless at times, feels really good.”

Glenfair Neighborhood Association
Glenfair Park ~ NE 154th Avenue and NE Couch Street

Glenfair Neighborhood Association’s Chair, and event organizer, Brenda McSweeney takes a moment out from hosting kids’ games introduce volunteer Doug Hiebenthal.

Again this year, the Glenfair Neighborhood Association partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation – to have a Movie in the Park showing (this year, of “Shorts”),  and a musical performance by The River City Band , as part of its NNO event.

From American Filipino Christian Church, shown here are Rosa Berry, Richie Stone, and Lina Vergeson serving delicious dishes, just right for a fun evening in the park.

Brenda McSweeney, the event’s organizer, said, “It’s great how it brings the community out. You get to meet your neighbors; it’s a good community effort. It helps people all get together and join in fun activities.”

Fun? You bet! With plenty of games, provided by the Glenfair School’s PTA – and the Burgerville Nomad on scene, selling fresh burgers – this looked like a great outdoor party.

Argay Neighborhood Association
Argay Park ~ NE 141st Avenue at NE Failing Street

NNO Volunteer Dianna Palmquist helps Argay Neighborhood’s NNO party coordinator April Courtney pass out free, top-quality Nestlé ice cream sandwiches.

At Argay Park, the annual NNO party tradition continued in grand style, thanks to the hard-working volunteers from the Argay Neighborhood Association.

“It’s great having a neighborhood all come out and enjoy the summer weather,” said April Courtney, as she grabbed another handful of ice cream treats to pass out – the perfect snack on a hot, summer’s eve. “It makes me feel good, to see everyone out, and being part of the community.”

Steve Voorhees, Market Master of the Saturday Parkrose Farmer Market, and event volunteer Troy Palmquist, Land-Use Chair at the Argay Neighborhood Association, clown around – as they decide which of them will get the very last ice cream sandwich at their NNO event!

A feature not seen at any other NNO event, but an annual tradition in Argay, is this display of explosive ordinance – like sticks of dynamite and hand grenades — brought by agents of the U.S. Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Bureau.

Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors
Knott Park ~ NE 117th Avenue at NE Knott Street

Stephanie Viegas Dias, chair of the Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors event gets ready for another raffle prize drawing.

With a little help from the East Portland Neighborhood Small Grant Program, the Parkrose Heights Neighborhood Party appeared to be the greatest NNO party in outer East Portland on August 3rd.

These volunteers worked for months to line up two live bands, a hot dinner, lots of kids’ activities, appearances by representatives from Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire & Rescue, face painting, free health screenings, and a visit from the ever-popular Reptile Man.

Who wants to get an up-close look at a very, very big snake?

The Reptile Man lets kids give a BIG hug to his albino boa constrictor, “Julie Squeezer”.

“It’s a lot of work to organize all this,” admitted Stephanie Viegas Dias, as she rushed the raffle drawing bin up to the main stage. But it’s so rewarding to see so many neighbors together, and having a good time.”

Personally, Viegas Dias told us, her favorite part is that “I get to reconnect with people I don’t get to see very often. It’s so satisfying to see everyone out and enjoying themselves together, here in our neighborhood park.”

A grilled hot dog dinner is served up by volunteers from the United Methodists Men’s Group.

Members of the Eric Christopher Band get ready to rock Knott Park.

In all, over the course of the evening, more than 500 Parkrose Heights neighbors came to the park to enjoy a fun, family evening.

Into the sunset ride Portland Police Bureau Mounted Patrol Sgt. Franz Schoening on Jeager, and Officer Gregg Mack on his own steed, Tabor.

Parkrose Heights
NE 119th Avenue and NE Thompson Street

Opting for a more intimate gathering in Parkrose Heights is this group of neighbors.

Showing that an official NNO event doesn’t have to be gigantic to be fun, we stopped by this small park to find a dessert and ice cream social in progress.

“We’re using this event to update our Neighborhood Watch program, and let people know what’s going on in our neighborhood,” said organizer Ann Croze. “It’s all about being together, and having some fun.”

Mill Park Neighborhood Association
Street party on SE 113th Avenue and SE Yamhill Street

Todd Baker flashes us his famous smile, as he gets ready to serve up another premium grilled hot dog in at the Mill Park street party.

Not many neighborhoods opt for street parties these days, but it’s an annual tradition in the Mill Park neighborhood.

Angelica and Todd Baker bring out their grill, organize the neighbors to bring the trimmings, and all have a great time. “Here behind my grill, it’s my ‘safety zone’, where I can cook and watch all the fun,” Todd said, smiling broadly, as he typically does.

“We’ve served 160 hot dogs so far,” Baker continued, “and have had about a hundred people here at our street party.  It’s outstanding!”

Kids romp and play, as their parents chat, at the Mill Park Street Party.

“So far, I’ve met three new neighbors tonight,” Baker added. “They’ve all moved into the neighborhood since our last NNO Street Party. And, I met another neighbor who’s lived here for seven years – and got to meet them for the first time tonight. It’s a good thing to get to know one another.”

Sadly, we missed getting the names of these nice Mill Park neighbors who are talking with Portland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Craig Funk.

Hazelwood Neighborhood Fair
Portland Adventist Academy ~ 1500 SE 96th Avenue

At the Hazelwood Neighborhood Fair hosted by Portland Adventist Academy, Principal Gale Crosby, event coordinator Liesl Vistaunet, and PAF Sophomore Anthony Savage all enjoy a slice of watermelon.

As the rosy glow of the setting sun illuminated our way, the last stop on our NNO adventure this year was at Portland Adventist Academy, for the Hazelwood Neighborhood Fair.

“We all live busy lives,” observed the school’s Principal, Gale Crosby. This event provides a way for people to slow down for an evening, to get to know their neighbors, and to have some good family fun.”

One of 11 volunteers from the Mall 205 TARGET store, Mykel Presler, did a great face painting job on this tickled-looking youngster, Isaac Johnson.

Portland Police Bureau K9 Officer Troy Grundmeyer, and dog Ace, a three-year-old German Shepherd, made new friends in the neighborhood.

Portland Adventist Hospital, the school, area churches, and representatives from the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and the East Portland Neighborhood Office came by to present health and safety information. Serenading at the event was Jack Mahoney’s ever-entertaining Plus Five Trio. And, there were plenty of watermelon, popcorn, and sno-cones for all to enjoy.

Even as the sun sets on another year’s National Night Out, kids still enjoyed playing in the Bounce Castle at the Hazelwood Neighborhood Fair.

“When neighbors come together, it builds camaraderie, increases trust, strengthens the family, and helps create a real sense of community spirit that we often overlook while living our busy lives,” Crosby observed. “An event like this helps restore and refresh our community.”

One more to go …
Next week, stop by here and see the National Night Out event presented by the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood that took place two days later, on August 5. It’s pretty cool – they also dedicated a newly-completed City park, too!

> On our front page: Sgt. Tony Passadore makes new friends as he hands out “Honorary Police” badges at the Argay Neighborhood NNO Picnic.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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