Port of Seattle Police Department Chief Colleen Wilson takes some time to flip hamburgers for community members at Shilshole Bay Marina's Night Out block party. (CLICK ON PICTURE TO VIEW SLIDESHOW)
SLIDESHOW: Night Out brings neighbors together
Last night, all over Ballard and the entirety of Seattle, hundreds of streets were blocked off for neighborhood parties to celebrate Night Out, a Seattle Police Department sanctioned event hosted to increase crime prevention and awareness.
The goal was to bring neighbors together and get them to know one another, and -- if the many barbecues, tables full of food, live music, and chatty groups of people found around town were any indication -- that goal was met.
At Shilshole Bay Marina, the largest liveaboard community on the west coast with about 300 boats used as permanent homes, the Port of Seattle Police Department went all out. In addition to live music, neat gadgets and vehicles and a raffle, police officers -- including Port of Seattle Police Department Chief Colleen Wilson -- even went as far as to personally grill up burgers and hot dogs for everyone.
As far as public safety goes, Gail Luhn, president of the Shilshole Liveaboard Association, had trouble thinking of any problems within the marina community.
"Quite frankly it's a pretty darn safe place to live," Luhn said.
This was because the community members did a good job of looking out for one another and making sure to note anything troublesome, Luhn said. She said there were "dock captains," like neighborhood watch captains, who help direct safety concerns. There are also "dock walkers" who will walk down the docks in the evening to make sure everything is alright and nothing is suspicious is going on. A lot of times, the dock walkers will catch if anything is going wrong with a boat, such as a line coming undone, but will also catch suspicious actions.
"We have such a wonderful community here who look out for each other and we are just really fortunate to have that," Luhn said while speaking to the crowd.
Everyone agreed that Shilshole Bay Marina is in many ways more like a neighborhood than just a place to dock a boat.
"I don't know of another marina like this," Shilshole Bay Marina Manager Guiseppe Alvarado said. "It's a unique neighborhood."
Like in many other neighborhoods, the main goal of Night Out was not simply to have a party, but to connect different parts of the public safety community together.
"The goal (of Night Out) is to recognize the community and the importance of each component's part in it," said Tracy McKendry, senior manager of recreational boating for the Port of Seattle. Components included the neighborhood residents themselves, the police and, in Shilshole Bay's case, the marina management.
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