Earlier this week, the second Community Conversation presented by a variety of community partners, including the Tillamook County Pioneer met at Tillamook Bay Community College. Providing a forum for people to meet informally as a community to discuss “hot topics”, find out more about community resources, and connect. The first community conversation in August, 2022, came about due to the response to hate crimes occurring in the community. Recent thefts, attacks on the homeless and violent crimes were noted in December, and the pulse of social media indicated that many people didn’t feel safe in our community, and were not aware of the many resources available. Representatives from the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Matt Kelly, Community Corrections Lieutenant Ahnie Seaholm and Public Information Officer Paul Fournier, Care Tillamook, Tides of Change, Tillamook Police, Tillamook Bay Community College, the City of Tillamook, Board of County Commissioners, Tillamook Family Counseling Center (TFCC), Oregon Department of Justice, Tillamook County Community Health Center and about a dozen county citizens.
The casual conversation centered on safety concerns and security issues facing our community. Updates were provided about new programs coming to the city of Tillamook with plans for neighborhood watch programs. There was collective agreement that too many times crimes go unreported, and law enforcement “hears about it” via social media. “We can’t do anything about these issues if you are just posting about it,” commented Tillamook Police Chief Ray Rau. Some of the most effective tools are aware neighbors, improved lighting, security – locking doors, and cameras.
– Tillamook Police Chief Ray Rau giving high praise to Tillamook area schools’ emergency preparedness and training during a recent assessment by his department, while also recognizing School Resource Officer Trent Olsen’s role as a resource for students and staff.
– Undersheriff Matt Kelly discussed the importance and effectiveness of the Emergency Volunteer Corps (EVC) that are located in the north and south of the county and the need for the establishment of an EVS in the central area of Tillamook County.
– Tillamook City Manager Nathan George discussed the state of the City of Tillamook’s emergency preparedness and praised his public works staff’s response and efforts during the recent flooding and power outages.
– TFCC’s Executive Director Frank Hanna-Williams explained his agency’s response to those needing mental health services in the county.
– CARE’s Michele Wayne discussed the availability of assistance to those experiencing a financial need and could use some help paying overdue power, water and sewer bills to avoid those services from being terminated.
– Undersheriff Matt Kelly also discussed TCSO’s surveillance camera registration program S.C.A.N. (Security Cameras Assisting Neighbors) which can help provide vital evidence during criminal investigations. More information at tillamooksheriff.com
– Noting the lack of many community members at the discussion, County Commissioner Erin Skaar asked the group for ideas to help “reengage and bring people back” to these types of community meetings since the pandemic disengagement.
– Everyone agreed on the importance of neighbors helping neighbors and to look for those that might need some assistance. A reminder that if you “see something or hear something – then say something.”
The community members that were in attendance offered insight and prompted important conversations for the group. However, we would love to see more participation from community members in future discussions. To learn more about the next Community Conversation in April, please visit the Tillamook County Pioneer’s website – www.tillamookcountypioneer.net or Facebook page and become part of the conversation!
Tillamook Police Chief Ray Rau talked with the Pioneer about community policing.