Powellhurst-Gilbert kicks off area National Night Out celebrations

See why Portland Mayor Charlie Hales came to this outer East Portland event …

Families enjoy the shade, as they dine during the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood National Night Out party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The first major National Night Out Against Crime celebration got under way during the late afternoon hours of August 2 in Earl Boyles park as the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association event began.

Under the canopy of trees that sheltered exhibitors and participants from the hot summer sun, the first of hundreds of neighbors filtered into the park.

East Portland Rovers” Trevor Hopper from Mill Park, Joyce Ley from Wilkes, and Donna Dionne from Rockwood are some of the volunteers helping Barb Klinger put on this National Night Out.

“Holding this on the first Saturday in August has become a tradition for us,” said Barbara Klinger, one of the organizers.

“Volunteers pitch in to do this because we love our community,” Klinger told East Portland News. “It’s about helping people learn more about being safe, and also about the many community resources that are available in our area.

“And, we like to see the kids have fun!” Klinger added.

Grillmasters Brian Lockwood and Lyle Boisen are again hot-dogging on the grill.

Van Griffin, Harper Griffin and Cody Griffin learn about emergency medical transport services from American Medical Response EMT Maryssa Donaghy.

Zenger Farm Community Chef Blanca Hernandez makes papusas with Zenger Farm Community Cooking Workshops Coordinator Krysta Williams.

Some of the booths present provided information about nonprofit organizations, and others about business groups – but there was plenty of entertainment available for kids.

“This is important to do, to help bring our community together,” Klinger noted. “I think when neighbors get together and get to know each other, crime goes down because people start watching out for each other. That’s a very good thing.”

Mayor’s Office Policy Director Deanna Wesson-Mitchell, Citizen of Portland Nancy Hales, Mayor Charlie Hales, and Midway Division Alliance Director Lori Boisen are all about to walk through the party.

As he did during his talk at the National Night Out kickoff, Mayor Charlie Hales commended the effort neighborhoods make to hold the these celebrations. “This fits really well with our neighborhood traditions in Portland, where people come together, and work together to solve problems and get to know each other at the same time.

“That’s really the spirit of what’s going on here tonight in Powellhurst Gilbert,” Hales added, “Portland has really embraced the National Night Out idea because people know that if we work together we can make our city even safer.”

Co-organizer – and also an East Portland Rover – Thomas Barnes heads off to fix an electrical emergency in the park.

East Portland Rover and Powellhurst-Gilbert resident volunteer Debby Smith helps leads the fun at the Kids’ Crafts table.

The Mayor and his wife journeyed to outer East Portland, he said, “Because I really believe in what this neighborhood has been doing. Not just the neighborhood, but also the school – Earl Boyles School is a model of what we need to be doing in early childhood education. We have been supporting the Early Learning Center, as you know. That’s another piece of positive community action.

“There is a food pantry in the school, organized by women in the neighborhood,” Hales pointed out. “There is a SUN School here, and that is really positive. There are a lot of positive things happening in this neighborhood, created by people working together.”

Again this year, the River City Band rocks out, playing the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

After the day’s activities, everyone who came by was treated to live music and a Portland Parks Movie in the Park presentation.

Many other successful National Night Out events – some of which East Portland News covers – were yet to come. You’ll see what happened at those celebrations in future stories.

> On our Front Page: East Portland Rover and Glenfair Neighborhood Association Chair Brenda McSweeney serves up another shaved ice cone.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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