Night Out

A participant takes a turn on the dunk tank, which raised $222 for the Amani Center, during the annual National Night Out in St. Helens. 

A joint collaboration for one of the county’s yearly National Night Out events, a community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, brought together the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), Columbia River Fire & Rescue (CRFR) and the St. Helens Police Department (SHPD) together on Tuesday, August 6.

“This was the biggest turnout we’ve had for National Night Out in recent history and it really showed the community partnerships that we’ve built,” Sheriff Brian Pixley said. “It was really fun.”

The CCSO hosted a dunk tank on site to raise money for the Amani Center. Pixley, Chief Deputy Ryan Murphy, Captain Tony Weaver, Lt. Brooke McDowall, SHPD Officer Kolten Edwards, SHPD records clerk Tia Sharp and CRFR firefighter, best known as “G,” all took turns in the tank, and tickets sold for citizens to take their turn dunking first responders raised a total of $222 in donations.

“That means that someone was dunked at least 1.48 times per minute to earn that much money,” Pixley said. “Commissioner Margaret Magruder came down and she bought a bunch of tickets for the dunk tank and she was literally handing them out to everyone she could find while I was up there getting dunked. It was really interesting.”

Officials with CRFR said the kids were able to spray water with the fire hose and check out their ambulance and fire trucks. SHPD Sgt. Jose Castilleja said the whole night made for an amazing moment. He said CRFR were actively refilling the dunk tank with their hoses and splashing participants, and the “whole crowd went wild” in response.

“There were many times when we got to interreact with a lot of folks in the public,” Castilleja said. “It was nice to catch up with some folks that remembered you from a call in the past and to see a lot of the kids I see at the schools and other events that were there. They really liked the jail tours and getting stickers. The bouncy houses were a lot of fun and, of course, who doesn’t like free hamburgers and hotdogs?”

On hand for the first time this year was also the Rx Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Oregon – a coalition of community leaders and organizations, health care stakeholders and business representatives working together to address opioid addiction and misuse across the state. Representatives handed out drug disposal pouches along with informational pamphlets.

InRoads Credit Union also brought out their photo booth.

Pixley said they plan on expanding the event to make it even better next year.

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