Tukwila residents gather for National Night Out

Tukwila residents participated in National Night Out on Tuesday, a celebration to promote neighborhood bonding and crime prevention.

Tukwila residents at the Rainbow Trailer Haven celebrate with city officials and community members as part of National Night Out activities.

Tukwila residents participated in National Night Out on Tuesday, a celebration to promote neighborhood bonding and crime prevention.

Among the 35 families of the Rainbow Trailer Haven community, it was a chance for residents to meet city officials and police officers.

The predominately Latino community has seen changes as a result of the city’s involvement, said Francisco Calderon.

Calderon spoke with the help of Enrique Gonzalez of El Centro de la Raza, who translated for him.

“We’re pretty close to another apartment complex and there seems to be a little bit of a nest for some crime,” said Gonzalez for Calderon. “So, we’re a little bit concerned about that; we’ve been concerned over the years.”

However, Calderon said, the community had seen changes to that situation as a result of working with the city.

“More than anything we just want to extend our appreciation to the City of Tukwila,” Calderon said. “We feel honored that they (city officials) would come and spend time with us here. We’re always glad to have them.”

The Rainbow Trailer Haven community’s Night Out celebration included lots of food, brightly colored streamers hung between homes, a singer performing rancheras, many families with small children and city officials dropping by to say hello.

It was one of 26 community parties that took place on Tuesday as part of National Night Out.

In another part of the city, Vern and Joan Meryhew have lived in their Tukwila home for 27 years and hosted 18 consecutive Block Watch parties for National Night Out. They invite the neighborhood children and residents to come play in their pool and treat them to snacks and beverages.

In the mid-1990s they would get a turnout of 30 to 35 people at their annual party. Lately it has dwindled down to about 20 people, said Vern Meryhew, as the neighborhood has changed a lot.

“It’s an influx of new people,” he said. “When we moved in everybody had lived here for many years. And now, we’ve got a bunch of new people who have moved in and it’s much more diversified than it was before.”

Meryhew said that diversity isn’t bad, but times have changed and a younger community isn’t as eager to participate as the older residents.

Of the 30 households who participated in the Block Watch with the Meryhews over the years, only four of those original families remain.

Better communication with Tukwila residents is something Meryhew hoped to express to city officials at his community party. That was the one area he felt the City of Tukwila could do a better job.

That is exactly the type of feedback the city is hoping to get residents to weigh in on with their strategic plan.

City representatives were passing out information about the plan and how to access a current city-wide survey.

“What I want to do is establish a comfort level among all the people who live and shop and visit in Tukwila,” said Mayor Jim Haggerton.

Earlier in the day, the city opened up its new Neighborhood Resource Center on Tukwila International Boulevard. It is a project designed to reduce crime along that corridor.



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