Annual parties offer chance to meet neighbors, local officers in friendly atmosphere

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - About 300 people are expected at Metzgers National Night Out celebration on Tuesday. Several Tigard and Tualatin neighborhoods are hosting local events to help stamp out crime.Neighborhoods all across the area will be pulling out their barbecues next week for the annual National Night Out celebration on Tuesday.

The one-night community gathering has become a ritual in many Tigard and Tualatin neighborhoods, with close to 40 parties planned.

“It’s a really great way to get all the neighbors together and just be out,” said Christine Frisiras, a Tigard resident hosting her neighborhood’s first National Night Out party next week.

Held the first Tuesday in August, neighbors mingle over a barbecue, host a potluck or neighborhood block party.

Residents might not realize it at the time, but they are doing their part to help stamp out crime.

“When you know who your neighbors are, you are more likely to keep an eye on things going on around the neighborhood,” Frisiras said. “When you have a friendly relationship with your neighbors, you can keep an eye out on their property and vice versa.”

Is your neighborhood hosting a National Night Out celebration?

Click here for a list of local parties

Washington County sheriff's deputies and other local law enforcement agencies will be traveling to different parties introducing themselves.

Started in 1984 as a way to increase relationships between residents and local police departments, the event has exploded to more than 15,000 community get-togethers across the country.

Most of the local neighborhood parties are expected to draw only a few dozen people. That is, unless you live in Metzger.

Open to anyone who lives in Metzger, the town’s annual National Night Out celebration seldom draws less than about 300 people each year, said event coordinator and park manager Darcy Erdman.

“One year we ran out of ice cream in 35 minutes,” Erdman said.

National Night Out celebrations have been held at Metzger Community Park for the past 15 years.

“I think it’s just fun, it’s a really good time,” Erdman said. “Everybody today is so into texting or email or technology that we have lost touch. It’s a great chance to actually visit with people one on one.”

In today’s fast-paced world, Erdman said, many people don't even know their own neighbors.

“People don’t really watch out for each other anymore,” Erdman said. “There isn’t that cohesiveness in communities. The nice part here is that you get to meet your neighbors, and meet some local deputies or officers.”

Having a relationship with local law enforcement agencies is good to have, Erdman said.

“Lots of times you hear negative things about public agencies, but this is a way to have a positive connection,” she said.

Want to learn more about National Night Out?

The Tigard Police Department is hosting a special “kick-off” celebration this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Target, 9009 S.W. Hall Blvd.

The two-hour event offers families the chance to learn more about National Night Out and families can come away with ideas for hosting their own neighborhood celebrations in the future, said Tigard Police spokesman Jim Wolf.

The kick-off event has become a tradition for the Tigard Police Department, Wolf said.

Representatives from each of the registered events in Tigard are invited to stop-by and pick up a party pack to help jumpstart the celebrations.

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