Pendleton used to have one event for National Night Out.
This year there will be at least 10.
The Pendleton Police Department in years past hosted a community-wide party at Roy Raley Park or the aquatic center for National Night Out. Free hot dogs and ice cream floats enticed plenty of turnout but did not necessarily foster National Night Out’s get-to-know-your neighbor principal. Jesselee Leachman said tapping into that is why he was one of the 10 who registered to host gatherings. He signed up for Roy Raley Park, just down the street from his home.
“I love giving back to the community with events like this,” Leachman said, plus this provides a fun way to bring together law enforcement and Pendleton residents.
Leachman is the owner of the notorious “Zombie Outbreak Response Team” car. He said he will have it at the party. If you’re not sure where to go, he said, just look for the flashing green lights.
Shelly Studebaker is the police department’s community services officer and coordinated the revision for National Night Out, which takes place Aug. 7. She reported the people who registered receive a “party pack” that includes hot dogs, buns and more, all from local vendors. She said the 10 gatherings, which run 6-8 p.m., have an estimated attendance of nearly 800 residents and are throughout the town:
•Aldrich Park neighborhood
•Kiwanis Park neighborhood
•May Park neighborhood
•Roy Raley Park neighborhood
•Vincent Park neighborhood
•100 block of Southeast Seventh Street neighborhood
•1400 block Southwest 44th Street neighborhood
•1800 block Southwest 18th Street neighborhood
•3100 block Southwest Marshall Avenue neighborhood
•Vista Village residents
“Each of these gatherings is hosted by folks who live in the individual areas,” Studebaker stated in an email. “If community members live in one of these areas and wish to participate in their neighborhood gathering, I would ask that they network with their neighbors for information specific to their neighborhood or email PPD at NationalNightOut@ci.pendleton.or.us and I can provide contact information.”
City police and the public library also are holding a Facebook Live event to draw from one of these locations for the library’s “Campfire Stories” presentation. And Studebaker said the NNO coloring contest for children is accepting entries through Aug. 1. For more information about the contest, email NationalNightOut@ci.pendleton.or.us.
Studebaker explained the deadline passed to get a party pack, but locals still can coordinate with the police department to host a party, which includes police officer or fire department personnel visiting the gathering and assisting with street closures for traditional block parties.
Leachman said the Roy Raley party is open to the public, and he encouraged anyone who comes to bring activities for others to enjoy. He said he received positive feedback about the event, and people are looking forward to “that community time again.” Some folks, however, were unaware of National Night Out, so this is an opportunity for them to learn more.
“It’s just get to know your neighbors, get to know your law enforcement and emergency providers,” he said, “and build a sense of community. In a time when everybody is so divided politically, it’s nice to have something we all can come together on.”
For more information, check out the Pendleton Police Department’s National Night Out webpage, ppd.pendleton.or.us/national-night-out, or email NationalNightOut@ci.pendleton.or.us.