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Block party celebrated Oregon volunteerism

Jarrod James, 5, of DeKalb, pitches a bean bag towards the fifth rung of Ladder Bags, a game set up by Oregon Together for their Community Block Party kid zone. Photo by Zach Arbogast
Jarrod James, 5, of DeKalb, pitches a bean bag towards the fifth rung of Ladder Bags, a game set up by Oregon Together for their Community Block Party kid zone. Photo by Zach Arbogast

The Oregon Coliseum was host to an event dedicated to showing a year’s worth of accomplishments to the public, thanking volunteers who made it all possible, and hopefully recruiting a few more to join in.

Oregon Together, a volunteer group dedicated to beautifying, restoring, and bringing community events to Oregon, hosted its second annual Community Block Party at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

Just inside the Coliseum was a presentation of Oregon Together’s various accomplishments and events volunteers have helped with through the year, such as the Rockin’ River Fest, Chocolate Walk, and cleaning up all over Oregon.

“We’re looking to reinvigorate the community,” said presentation host Tom Mahoney, Oregon School Superintendent and Oregon Together Coordination Council member. “Our intent here is to provide the community with a sample of what we do, have them enjoy some food and fun, and hopefully become a part of this with us.”

On the eastern lawn was a kids zone, a collection of games for children of all ages to play, including a tube ball toss, hula hopping, bean bag toss, flying tic tac toe, ladder bags, and a bottle ring toss.

A bucket of chalk was also in the middle of everything, for the kids to color the sidewalks with to their heart’s content.

“We’re having a great time. The kids really enjoy the games, and it’s really good to have things for them when we go out,” said Erika James, who lives in DeKalb but grew up in Oregon.

On the north side of the Coliseum lawn was a collection of local food vendors showing off their best.

Visitors had offerings from Hector’s Cocina, Hopper’s Poppers, Maxson’s Riverside Restaurant, Conover Coffees and Chocolate, and Ralfie’s BBQ.

Next to the food tents, Rock River Sound was playing music for the crowd, and right beside were booths set up by the three main teams that make up Oregon Together: Riverfront and Outdoor Recreation, Festivals, Events, Dining and Shopping, and Arts and Beautification.

Each booth included displays and fliers filled with information about each committee’s intent, what they’ve done throughout Oregon, and a themed gift basket visitors could put a ticket in for a chance drawing.

Debbie Dickson, Oregon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and Oregon Together member, said she was pleased with the turnout, in the face of the cloudy day.

To her, the event is a way not just to provide another fun event to the community, but to hopefully draw some interest from others.

“We’re a cog in the wheel - the chamber, Oregon Together, the city, the non-profits, and those who are working hard to rehabilitate businesses in the area, we’re all working together to make a tremendous impact in Oregon,” said Dickson. “This is part of our outreach to the community, to get people involved with us.”

Dickson says one of the biggest driving forces behind all the work the teams put in is a great sense of pride in Oregon.

“Speaking personally, as well as a community representative, I can tell you this: we have the bones right here, in Oregon,” said Dickson. “All that we need for beauty, arts, business development, family fun - all of it - we have the resources to make it all happen here.”

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