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Seaside enjoys fun night out with a serious purpose

National event helps citizens forge partnerships with police

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Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 11:34 am | Updated: 11:42 am, Wed Aug 7, 2013.

SEASIDE — Early afternoon sun gave way to clouds, fog and mist in Seaside, but that did not deter the hundreds who joined neighbors and local law enforcement at the National Night Out event Tuesday evening at Broadway and Cartwright parks.

The event, hosted locally by the Seaside Police Department, promotes partnerships between the police and community, and encourages the prevention of crime, violence and drug use. This was the eighth year it was held in Seaside.

Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross said he sees a couple of reasons that the event is valuable for the community.

“(It’s a) chance for community members to come out and get to know each other and a chance for them to get to know local law enforcement,” Gross said. “It gives them a chance to be heard.”

Gross said the value for him is watching his officers, especially the younger ones, mix with and meet the people who live in their community.

He said it is also a chance for community members to let them know about potential law enforcement related issues within their communities.

In recent years Seaside Fire and Rescue has joined the festivities at both parks.

The Seaside Kiwanis and Seaside Rotary took over duties at each park, providing free hot dogs and hamburgers to those who attended.

Local residents took the opportunity to meet Seaside’s law enforcement officers, ask questions and offer praise for the work they do.

“We decided to come out and meet our neighbors and see our wonderful police and fire departments,” said Gloria Linkey Seaside resident and area historian.

Linkey was joined at Broadway Park by her longtime friend and Broadway Park neighbor Mary Cornell. The two have been attending the event regularly for years.

“It’s nice to see this,” Cornell said.

The food was also a draw for some.

Lin Anderson and Elaine Sorensen said they came out to the event for the free hotdogs and hamburgers but also to enjoy the entertainment and activities. The women said it was a good opportunity for people on fixed incomes.

Sorensen, who has lived in Seaside for 19 years, said she had been to the event three or four times.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of National Night Out,” Anderson said.

Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District General Manager Justin Cutler set up disc golf, gunny sack races, jump roping and Hula Hoops for the children and the young at heart to have a little fun.

Mary Jackson was at a booth promoting the Lunch Buddy Mentoring Program’s backpack initiative and was on the lookout for individuals interested in becoming mentors. She was also representing North Coast Prevention Works.

Next to hers was a booth with information from the Clatsop County Women’s Resource Center.

Across the Necanicum and a few miles south at Cartwright Park, a similar scene played out with music playing barbecues going, local nonprofits providing information and kids laughing as their parents mingled, met their neighbors and spoke with law enforcement officials.

Seaside Police Lt. Dave Ham took the lead law enforcement role there.

Seaside Mayor Don Larson and his wife Lois joined neighbors huddled around picnic tables and under cover at the event at Cartwright Park.

“It’s a good time to meet people and visit with police officers and firemen,” Larson said. “Plus it’s a good social event.”

Larson said he planned to visit the event at Broadway Park as well.

The National Association of Town Watch began National Night Out in 1984. According to national organizers the annual event is hosted in 15,000 communities in all 50 states and welcomes more than 37 million people.

The Rotary Club of Seaside, Seaside Kiwanis, the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District and Seaside Chamber of Commerce helped put on the event.

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