CANNON BEACH — In a record-breaking year, more than 150 people participated in Cannon Beach’s fourth annual National Night Out event Tuesday.
National Night Out is a nationwide event intended to build better relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In Cannon Beach, connecting with the community took shape in the form of a barbecue, firefighter relays and a raffle. “It’s a great way to meet a lot of citizens we don’t see on a regular basis, and it’s a good way for people to ask us questions they would otherwise feel uncomfortable asking,” Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn said.
He said in past years, most of those questions usually are about how to report noise complaints, threats one might see to an empty vacation house or pets stuck in vehicles during a hot summer day.
“Answering these types of questions adds more eyes and ears for us in the community,” he said.
New this year, volunteer groups like the Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Team had tables with information in the hopes of recruiting more volunteers. Mick French, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, joined the Medical Reserve Corps a year and a half ago after being asked by the coordinator, he said.
“Being on MRC means being available in a medical crisis — fire, tsunami, tornado, all that. It’s all about helping people who can’t help themselves,” French said.
Currently there are 22 members, but member Susan Oxley said they can “never be big enough.”
While events like tsunamis and fires aren’t common, having a healthy membership is advantageous in other ways. Oxley said corps members have been called on to work five, 12-hour days the weekend the total solar eclipse is scheduled to happen.
Because of the expected surge of eclipse tourism, rural counties like Marion and Wheeler look to groups like MRC to help mitigate the spike in medical service demands counties this small usually don’t see.
“We are trying to spread the word to recruit medically trained people. The more hands the better,” French said.