Rosewood continues to host ‘Night Out’

As other outer East Portland groups have discontinued their annual late-summer gatherings, find out why this particular community event thrives …

In the Centennial neighborhood, neighbors flock to Rosewood, the Community Center of the Rosewood Initiative Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, for their annual ‘National Night Out’ party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In years past, East Portland News delighted in covering “National Night Out Against Crime” (NNO) events – large gatherings put on by neighborhood associations.  Those have dwindled in recent years; most of the rest disappeared this year, past organizers say. They’ve lost the support of “Neighborhood Small Grants”, and other funding support programs.

But, on the evening of August 2, folks were streaming into the Rosewood parking lot, at the edge of outer East Portland in the Centennial neighborhood, for the NNO event that included a free dinner, with live music and dance presentations, and ended with a Movie in the Park presentation.

Glad to see the event get underway is its organizer, Rosewood Associate Director Marissa Clarke.

‘This evening, we’re happy to be celebrating our 5th annual Rosewood Family ‘Night Out’,” said Rosewood Associate Director Marissa Clarke, as the party got underway.

Rosewood’s “National Night Out” continues, Clarkesaid, “because as an organization, we try to connect neighbors with resources.

Getting a head-start grilling hot dogs is ‘sausage chef’ Mike Davis from St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Knights of Columbus, aided by Freedom Foursquare Church volunteer Matt Phipps.

This dance troupe, from the Zomi community, performs a modern dance number.

Dozens of organizations offer information on a wide variety of topics, in the Resources Plaza.

“So, this evening embodies our mission of connecting people with resources, and, at the same time, bringing fun and positive activities to the people we serve,”  Clarketold East Portland News.

While the Party didn’t specifically promote crime prevention, it did bring out 36 community resource organizations, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations to meet with visitors. “There is a wide array of information available here; and, OHSU student nurses are providing basic health screenings,” Clarke pointed out.

With sphygmomanometer cuff in place, a guest has her blood pressure checked by OHSU RN Student Christopher Savage.

Clarke emphasized that celebration is put on by about 75 people volunteers, and to plan and present the party takes nearly an entire year.

One of those volunteers, Shelli Thompson, a member of the nearby Parklane Christian Reform Church, was working with others from Freedom Foursquare Church, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Knights of Columbus, and As Is Church, at the party.

Members of four area churches pitch in on the serving line, dishing up scores of free barbecue dinners.

“We’re expecting to feed as many as 1,400 people this evening,” Thompson smiled. “Thanks to generous donations, we’re serving numerous gallons of bow-tie Florentine macaroni salad, about 100 lbs of potato salad, and a half pallet of chips, to accompany the 800 hamburgers 400 hot dogs that are being grilled and served.”

Volunteer Nathan Engkjer, with P:EAR Bike Works, fits a child with a free helmet.

“I believe church members volunteer because they believe in going out to the community and doing things for the love of Jesus, so we can spread the Good News to anyone that comes; and, anyone that comes to our table, God is going to bless them,” Thompson remarked.

The multitude who gathered enjoyed entertainment, ate supper, and topped it all off with free scoops of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, before the evening movie got started on Portland Parks and Recreation’s big outdoor screen at dusk.

When we caught up with the event’s organizer, Clarke enthused, “The best part for me is seeing all the people having fun, enjoying a free dinner, and I personally, am excited to see tonight’s movie presentation, Pixar’s ‘Coco’!”

Jossie de la Garza receives commendations and a “Heart of Rosewood” plaque from Rosewood Director Jenny Glass.

Learn more about Rosewood at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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