Thousands of Portlanders took time tonight to hang out with their neighbors in celebration of National Night Out (NNO). More than 150 block parties take place this week, over 85% on the first Tuesday in August. Information about the event is on the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) site here.
The kick-off party was held last week outside City Hall.
In yet another improvement in the NNO program planning, Stephanie Reynolds (behind the podium), the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's wonderful Crime Prevention Manager, arranged for the annual Public Safety Awards to be bestowed at the NNO kick-off. Among the winners was the SMASH (Students Making Ads for Student Health) team of students from now-closed Marshall High School, for a project aimed at reducing drug use.
Photos courtesy Luke Fritz, Marshall High School/Step Up staff 2009 - 11
I am happy to be the champion and Commissioner in Charge of community engagement in Portland, through both the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and the Office of Human Relations and its New Portlanders and other programs. Since taking office, I have re-visited almost all our 95 Neighborhood Associations, and many communities beyond boundaries such as residents who live on the rivers, and cultural/ethnic groups. Last year, I went to NNO parties in outer Northeast Portland. In 2009, I visited multiple neighborhoods in outer Southeast.
Tonight, I stopped by the Downtown Neighborhood Association celebration in the Park Blocks by PSU, then headed to outer SW Portland. I visited the Neighborhood Association parties in Crestwood at Dickinson Park, Marshall Park at (yes) Marshall Park, and Arnold Creek at the church grounds opposite Jackson Middle School. Thanks to Portland Police Lieutenant Scott Johnson for giving me a ride back to my car after the Marshall Park event, after I took the wrong trail out and ended up a long way from where I parked.
Thanks to all the neighbors who welcomed me so warmly, and to Stephanie Reynolds and all the ONI team for making this week another spectacular success for community-building in Portland.
Added 8/3/11: Here is a photograph of Pennington Award winner Fern Wilgus of the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association, community stalwart Keturah Pennington, Stephanie Reynolds and me, courtesy of Teri Poppino, ONI Crime Prevention Speicalist: