I enjoyed many wonderful neighborhood events celebrating National Night Out last week. Saturday, August 1, I visited the East Columbia Neighborhood Association in the beautiful Children's Arboretum near Marine Drive.
Photographs by Maryhelen Kincaid
It was relaxing chatting with folks in the cool shade. The stars and stripes pin in the lower photograph was given to me by Jim Kincaid, pictured - he said it is a "Superior Councilperson Award".
That Saturday, I also visited the 10th Annual Iranian Festival in the Park Blocks by PSU, the Parkrose Cruise-In on NE Sandy, and a neighborhood party in Arnold Creek near my home in SW. There are many different communities in Portland, and many ways to celebrate our differences as well as our commonalities. I find the annual competition to guess how long it takes cars to explode at the Parkrose Cruise-In one that particularly reminds me how much I love the US of A.
On Sunday 8/2/09, I visited the Portland Fire Fighters Association picnic at Oaks Park, then went to the Maplewood Neighborhood Association party at Maplewood Elementary School. Awesome organization, with many informational booths staffed by volunteers, food donated by local businesses, fun for children, and a special guest appearance by Commissioner Randy Leonard playing with the band, "The Usual Suspects." I confess I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed by how good they sounded.
On Tuesday 8/4/09, (the first Tuesday in August, when most of the National Night Out parties happen), I stopped by the neighborhoods I visited last year - Lents, Centennial, and Parkrose - plus made it to Hazelwood and Parkrose Heights. It was so good to visit with old friends and make new ones - which is the essence of National Night Out. If you didn't make it to an event this year, plan on going in 2010, or think about hosting your own. When neighbors know and look out for each other, crime goes down and happiness goes up.
Many thanks to Kelly Ball, Stephanie Reynolds and their team at the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and all City staff who supported more than 160 parties all over Portland.