Follow the overall steps below, and use the links to the left for specifics.
Step One: Decide what size of party you want, make an initial list of activities you'd like to have, and be flexible
Do you want to get to know the neighbors on your block or in your apartment building? Or would you like to see neighbors from many surrounding streets? Would you like an intimate party of 20 people, or a huge bash of 500? Any size party will be fun. The main point is to bring neighbors together. Start to think about what activities you'd like to have at the party, but be ready to change the plan if necessary.
Step Two: Decide where you want to hold your party
Make this decision before you figure out anything else, and make the decision AT LEAST two months before the party. You will need to work with whoever owns or manages the property to get the appropriate permissions, and this can take a few weeks.
The most common places to hold a National Night Out party are: (1) on the street in front of neighbors' houses; (2) in a City park, or (3) on private property, such as someone's yard or at a business. If you hold your party in the street, you will work with the Portland Bureau of Transportation to get a permit to close the street. If you hold your party in a City park, you will work with Portland Parks and Recreation to reserve a space in the park. If you hold your party on private property, who you will work with and what you will need to do will vary depending on what the property owner requires.
Step Three: Register your party with the City
Party registration begins in early June and ends in late July. Registering your party will put you on the list for police and firefighter visits, and make you eligible to receive some fee waivers. Use our worksheet to gather all your info, then either sit down at a computer to register, or call 503-823-4064 to get assistance with the online registration.
Step Four: Develop a budget
How much money will you need to have your party? Do you want to seek donations from neighbors or businesses for the party? NNO parties don't have to be expensive, and usually aren't, but they aren't totally free. You can cut down on the cost by having a potluck instead of providing all the food, or by requesting people bring games from their houses rather than renting or buying them. If you are closing the street, you will need some money for rental of the street barricades. You may need insurance. These costs are identified when you work with the owner or manager of the party location to find out what they require for the use of their space.
Step Five: Start the more detailed party planning and send a "save the date" message to the attendees
Once you have secured the location of your party, you're registered, and you have a general idea of the budget, it's time to work on the details. What activities will you have, and how many volunteers will you need? If you haven't already, tell the people who will be invited to your party where and when it will be so they don't make other plans. We recommend doing this about four to six weeks in advance, if possible.
Step Six: Firm up the final details and send a reminder to the attendees.
In the last week or two before the party, most of the details will be sewn up, and you'll want to send an official invite or a reminder to the neighbors.
Step Seven: Enjoy your party!
Step Eight: Thank the volunteers
Send an email, a thank you card, or some other show of gratitude to the people who made the party happen. They'll appreciate it, and it will make them more willing to help out for next year's party.