by: Eric Norberg, SURPRISE GUESTS ON S.E. 48th. Woodstock Community Business Association Co-Chair Nancy Chapin was holding her Brentwood-Darlington “National Night Out” party on August 1st, at Flavel Drive and S.E. 48th, same as usual, when the crew of Woodstock’s Fire Bureau Engine 25 pulled up and got off to participate in the picnic! Her party was just one of 182 in Portland this year.

In recent years the observance of the first of August (or dates close to it) as 'National Night Out', a grassroots statement against crime, has become a national movement. In Portland alone, there were 182 such backyard parties and block events, and several of them were in Inner Southeast.

Most were set up to allow a few neighbors to drop in and visit for a while, but police officers and firefighters dropped in here and there to surprise the hosts and meet the guests. Bob Riehl and Jan Renee had their tenth annual 'Night Out' yard party on S.E. 50th between Holgate and Long, and one of the visitors was Mayor Tom Potter, who dropped in on only four parties this year. He lives nearby, on S.E. 41st in Woodstock.

Perhaps underlining the need for more neighborhood anti-crime activism, 'taggers', vandals spraying graffiti on buildings and signs, were busy along both S.E. Milwaukie and S.E. 17th in Sellwood and Westmoreland on the night of August 1st. Victims are urged to document the graffiti with photos (these can help identify, then prosecute, the taggers), then report it to the city's Graffiti Hotline (503/823-4824), and also report it to the new Inner Southeast NRT Officer, Heidi Helwig (503/823-1275). Lastly, remove it within three days--which not only helps discourage repeats, but also is legally required of victims by local law.

However, there certainly was no shortage of Inner Southeast Portlanders taking a stand against crime this year in this nationwide event; here are some snapshots of ours from some of the 'Nights Out' in the BEE service area this year.

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