Aug. 3, 2019 — On Tuesday, Aug. 6, Florence Police Department is holding its second annual National Night Out (NNO). This fun community event brings thousands of families to Miller Park in Florence for an evening of safe activities, free dinner and snacks and getting to know local law enforcement. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m.
NNO is a community-police event in the United States celebrated by over 16,000 communities for the past 36 years. The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch and other anti-crime efforts.
“We just want to educate everyone in the public,” said Florence Police Department Executive Administrative Assistant Jamie Gorder, who plans the NNO event for the area each year. “This year, I wanted to make sure that other parts of Lane County that are so close to us know that we’re doing this. In the event that something should ever happen, it’s our law enforcement that’s going to be responding. Getting other kids and families to meet our law enforcement in a non-crisis environment and having that strong partnership will be great.”
Florence Police Department will be providing hot dogs and hamburgers, chips, cotton candy and soft drinks at no cost to the public. There will be a variety of giant inflatable play structures and kid games with visits by police officers, City of Florence Public Works, city staff, firefighters, the Coast Guard and paramedics.
The Florence Community PTA, Siuslaw Public Library, Siuslaw Outreach Services, Lane County Emergency Management and ARC of Lane County will also be in attendance providing activities for all residents.
Local youth will be able to get their faces painted, have a balloon animal made and interact with local first responders.
Florence Police Department’s 2018 event earned the NNO’s Rookie of the Year Award due to the positive community interaction it generated.
Gorder said the first year was something new and exciting but didn’t have a lot of community expectations.
“Now, going into this year, you think, ‘Look what I have to live up to!’ But it is working itself out. We get so much community support,” she said.
According to Gorder, this year will feature “so many different things from last year,” including live music, an increased amount of bounce structures and more reasons for people to explore the entire Miller Park.
“We’ve brought in a couple more giant inflatables because that seemed to be a really big hit,” Gorder said. “We’re bringing in three really big, fun ones to try to target some of the older kids.”
Miller Park’s Snack Shack will also have free cotton candy.
The activities will be spread throughout the park, mostly so the inflatable activities can access the park’s electrical grid
“I like it spread out this way because some people didn’t know our park was as large as it is and that there are that many baseball fields,” Gorder added. “With the city getting the new snack shack, there’s a part of the park under construction, so I like that we’re utilizing the whole park.”
The live music will be recognizable to people who attended the 2019 Power of Florence Parking Lot as the Tavish Sextet plays jazz from the center of the park.
“I want people to bring chairs and blankets and just sit and enjoy some great jazz music,” Gorder said.
Nearby, Florence Kiwanis Club will guide kids in a variety of lawn games.
For those kids who get overwhelmed by large community events, “ARC of Lane County will offer a kind of sensory tent for children who have trouble processing and have different needs than other kids,” Gorder said. “They will also have a fun activity to do, which is a great addition.”
At this point, NNO is still receiving monetary donations from the community.
“There’s so much support that it just comes together each year,” Gorder said. “You get support from the community, you get every first responding agency that wants to help out, you get the City of Florence and our city manager saying, ‘Here’s our staff, here’s our presence. What can we do to make this happen?’ People just want to be involved.”
Mapleton School District and the upriver communities have been invited this year, as well as Boy Scouts of America’s Camp Baker.
“We just want to educate youth. That’s what we do, and this is a great opportunity for those kids at that camp or in Mapleton or students in our own district,” Gorder said. She added that Siuslaw School District School Resource Officer Brandon Bailey was able to use the district’s automated message service to make sure every family in the district knows about NNO.
“It goes outside of just the city’s bounds. We want to include everyone,” she said. “Thanks to our partnerships and relationship with the community, 2018 truly went off without a hitch and 2019 will be another success.”
NNO, a program of National Association of Town Watch, is an annual community-building campaign to promote law enforcement-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. This helps make neighborhoods a safer and more caring place to live. NNO enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. It provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.
Millions of neighbors across thousands of communities in the United States, Canada, and military bases worldwide come together on the first Tuesday of August to celebrate taking a stand against crime by hosting evening community events. Neighborhoods hold block parties, cookouts, children’s events, demonstrations and much more.
For more information, visit natw.org.
For more information about Florence’s event, visit