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National Night Out expands to a week

Portland likes annual crime-countering event so much, city makes it last

The Portland version of National Night Out has grown from a one-day event to a weeklong series of activities this year.

The annual event was created to fight crime by encouraging people to hold outdoor activities one special day a year. This year, National Night Out is set for Tuesday, Aug 1.

'National Night Out is a great opportunity for people to get out, get to know their neighbors and send a message to the bad guys that drugs and crime aren't welcome in their neighborhoods,' said William Warren, a crime prevention specialist with the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

But the concept has proved so popular in Portland that the city will hold its annual kickoff party a week before this year's official night, and numerous neighborhood and community groups will hold activities throughout the week.

Billed as the Countdown to National Night Out, the party will run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lloyd Center Applebee's restaurant, 1439 N.E. Halsey St.

The public is invited; organizers say those attending will include Mayor Tom Potter, Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer, Fire and Rescue Chief Dave Sprando, city crime prevention coordinators and staff, and volunteers from the Portland Office of Emergency Management.

In the past, the kickoff party has been held the the same night as the other events. It was changed this year so people can attend both the party and events in their own neighborhoods, said Stephanie Reynolds, interim program manager for ONI's Crime Prevention Program.

'We realized that this was a conflict for many of the party-givers that wanted to attend the kickoff but couldn't because they were in the midst of final arrangements for their neighborhood celebration,' Reynolds said.

'This year … we moved the event to a week earlier than the actual date of National Night Out. We hope to see many of our longtime National Night Out party organizers as well as new folks interested in this annual event.'

By last week, more than 170 events throughout the city had been officially registered. Most are scheduled for Aug. 1, but some will take place July 29 and July 30, when some people have more free time.

'Anyone can hold a National Night Out event without registering it with us, of course,' Warren said.

Information on the dates, places and times of the events is available through the city's neighborhood coalition offices and ONI's Web site at www.portlandonline.com/oni/nno.

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