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While we may be well aware of the inadequacy of the services in a city like Portland to meet all the needs of the homeless, have you ever thought of what the availability of such services might be in a small community such as Woodburn?

A shocking fact: Woodburn has NO services for the homeless. The closest shelter is in Mt. Angel, 8 woodburn signmiles away.

One of our former volunteers, currently a Woodburn resident, has seen the homeless in her community and has asked if we could help establish a Nightwatch-like outreach in her town. We’ve begun conversations to get something going, and have received a grant from the Anne & Eli Shapira Charitable Foundation to help with that exploration.

Already our exposure to the Woodburn experience has opened our eyes to the need for services in similarly-sized communities. Therefore, we’ve adopted a broader goal in our work with those in Woodburn. We hope to develop from a it a model that can be packaged for other communities with like-needs so they may be able to create their own outreach programs. In theory, through our production of manuals and training videos, we would have something communities around the country could use.

We’ll keep you posted on how things develop.


It’s really too early for any of us to be thinking about Christmas, but it will be December by the time you receive the next newsletter and we need to think ahead.

Particularly, we need to think ahead when it comes to gathering items for the Christmas stockings wesarah handing out stockings give out to all guests who attend. The Christmas stockings typically contain helpful items such as these:

  • combs
  • razors
  • chapstick
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • gloves
  • knit caps
  • Kleenex (pocket pack)
  • soap
  • shampoo
  • lotion
  • sewing kits
  • candy

We would welcome contributions of any such items if you have them. We would also happily receive any monetary contributions towards purchasing such items.

CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “What Are People For?”

 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;

Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

                                                                                                --1 Peter 2:10


I am a minority in America today. I grew up on a farm, as most Americans once did. Today, fewer and fewer Americans know what that means. For me, it meant having a family and a community, meaningful work I could do that needed doing. Without ever asking the question, I knew what I was for.

Years ago, Wendell Berry became a favorite thinker and man of faith in my life. Early in his career as a what are people forcollege professor, Berry realized that he did not fit. A learned and well-read man and gifted writer, Berry returned to the land and community of his Kentucky roots. There as a small farmer himself, he observed and wrote about social trends destructive to families, communities and the land itself. In a pointed essay that became a book in 1990, Berry asked a startling question we might all ponder, “What are people for?”

Whether we seek answers to the causes of homelessness and mental illness, the massive number of refugees from Syria or Iraq, or how to be a gracious presence to a tired guest, Berry’s question is a timeless one. How we spend our time and how we respond to other human beings is our answer to that question. May we always be people who live mercifully because we have received mercy. May we always be people who find God’s people wherever we go. It’s the best way I know to be one of God’s own people ourselves. And that’s what we are for.    

                                                                           --Pastor Roger


Hi, I’m Katherine! It’s nice to meet you!

I’ve repeated these words many times since arriving in Portland two weeks ago, but I am especially excited to write them to you, the friends of Operation Nightwatch. As you may know, I will be serving as Nightwatch’s Program Coordinator for the next year as a member of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest/Americorps. This role grants me the opportunity to supervise the Downtown Hospitality Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, as well as program various events for our guests. Katherine low-res

I am coming to the Northwest after spending the first 22 years of my life in Indiana, and in many ways I was attracted to this region because of the ways in which it is different than my (beloved) home state: proximity to mountains and beaches, a more active lifestyle, and fewer mosquitoes!

My desire to serve with JVC Northwest and specifically Operation Nightwatch was shaped in part by my time at the University of Notre Dame. As a student of Political Science and Catholic Social Tradition, I was introduced to structural injustices and our obligation to our fellow humans in need. More importantly, though, I have started to realize how positive changes can come about by respecting and truly listening to the individuals in one’s community—especially those whose voices so often go unheard. I have only been at Operation Nightwatch for a week now, but I can already see that they do an extraordinary job of this—listening to their guests and providing them a space to speak.

Though I know it will be a challenging year, I look forward to meeting Nightwatch’s wonderful community of supporters and volunteers, witnessing the talents of our guests at Open Mic nights to come, and contributing what I can to this important work.



We’ve seen a number of personnel changes in the past few months—among them welcoming a new Program Coordinator and a new intern.


However, in two particular changes it feels like we’re seeing the passing of an era.


David Groff has served on our Board of Directors for most of this century, and in most of those as thepassing the torch Board chair. In his tenure, David helped manage Nightwatch not only through many positive transitions, but also through some of its most challenging crises. In his retirement, Bergen Allee has assumed leadership of the Board, and Waylon Spoden has assumed the empty slot that was created.

Our long-time bookkeeper, David Gaines, is also retiring. David has shepherded Nightwatch’s accounts for almost a decade, and has managed his own challenges in that, as Nightwatch has grown, so has the complexity of its finances. His successor is Allison Hicks, a graduate of the University of Washington who is studying accounting at PSU.


Nightwatch is only as strong as the people behind-the-scenes who keep it going. Many thanks are due our Davids for their great stewardship through these recent years!