Shauna Altman found a way to get her Pendleton neighborhood to turn out Tuesday for National Night Out.
Altman lives near Kiwanis Park, 1800 S.E Byers Ave., and she said a neighbor told her about the annual event and Pendleton’s shift from the police department hosting one central party to asking residents to hold block or park parties.
The Kiwanis Club volunteered to play host at the park, which it did on its own last year. Altman said she want to get the word out to her neighbors about National Night Out.
“So I just made a flier and made an ad for Facebook,” she said.
Altman and fellow school teacher Lisa Bork set out with the fliers and discovered most homes in area of the park have fences. Altman said they made that work. When they could not hand folks a flier, they stuck them in the fences, under windshield wipers and sometimes in doorways.
She said they made 100 fliers and passed out 75.
The effort seemed to pay off. Matt Terjeson, one of three Kiwanis Club past presidents at the park, said they started with 100 hot dogs for the event and were down to 10 by 7:30 in the evening, a half hour before National Night Out came to an end in Pendleton.
“We got rid of pretty much all the hot dogs, I know that,” he said.
The scene repeated itself at Roy Raley Park, where host Jesselee Leachman was about burning the grates off his gas-powered grill. He had folks lined up 20 deep for the free hot dogs, which local businesses provided, along with the hamburgers his mother tossed in.
Mayor John Turner and his wife, Gail, were making the rounds at the several parties and gatherings in Pendleton. Past National Night Outs conflicted with city council meetings, but this year Turner rescheduled the meeting so he and other council members could participate.
Turner thanked Leachman for stepping up. Scanning the scene, Turner said there were an easy hundred people at Roy Raley, from neighborhood families to local businesses and organizations, including the Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter. He said this a step in the right direction for building community.
Residents on the 100 block of Southeast Seventh Street were grilling as well. Alyssa Hanson organized the party for her block. She works in the front office of Oregon State Police in Pendleton.
“My dad was a retired state cop, so I grew up in it,” she said.
Hanson said the event helped the community get to know its local police and firefighters and was a fun way for neighbors to come out and get together.
Back over at Kiwanis, with the hot dogs all but gone, folks sat at the park tables and chatted.
“I didn’t know who would come out,” Altman said, but tonight she was hanging with folks she hadn’t met before.
Sort of the whole point of the night.
A previous version of this story had inaccurate information about where Altman and Bork work.