National Night Out promotes safer neighborhoods in Federal Way

Steve Potter works the grill during his neighborhood
Steve Potter works the grill during his neighborhood's National Night Out event on Tuesday. 'It's perfect timing,' he said. 'It's nice to get together.'
— image credit: Kyra Low/The Mirror

Hundreds turned out from around Federal Way for the nationwide National Night Out on Tuesday.

In neighborhoods throughout the city, neighbors gathered to eat at potlucks, barbecue, chit-chat and get to know one another — all in the name of making their homes and neighborhoods safer.

Firefighters and police also showed up at more than 20 neighborhood parties to talk with the citizens and join them in the food.

“You have to get to know your neighbors to have a strong community,” Federal Way resident Jan Millguard said. “I was raised in a strong community. I’ll always want that.”

One community that participated in National Night Out was the Alderdale neighborhood, which experienced a shooting death related to drug use last winter at the park in the center of the neighborhood.

Neighbors said there were about 100 community members out for the Night Out who wanted to find out how to take back their park.

“Tonight went very well,” neighbor Catrine Kizis said. “I want to be able to go to the park with my kids. This is our park.”

The work at taking the park back began a few months ago after Cynthia Sporleder and other community members began putting together block watch groups and patrolling the area.

Police have also increased their patrols in front of the park — something several neighbors said has made a difference.

“Call 911, don’t second-guess yourself,” police Commander Chris Norman said. “Don’t wait. We’ll come out and we’ll check it out.”

National Night Out started 26 years ago. For the past four years, the event has been sponsored by Target. This year, Target staff went out with police and firefighters, handing out stuffed dogs and beach balls.

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