Operation Nightwatch
Serving Portland's Street Population Since 1981


What's Happening at Operation Nightwatch

November 2018 Newsletter

Give!Guide and Nightfest

Operation Nightwatch is proud to announce that we have been selected to participate in the 2018 Willamette Week Give!Guide! The Give!Guide is an online and print fundraising campaign designed with end-of-year giving in mind. Why is this such a big deal, you might ask? Last year, through the Give!Guide campaign $4.2 million was donated to 150 non-profits in the Portland Metro Area. Each non-profit averaged $28,000 raised, and donations came from 9,951 unique donors. With over 450 applicants, we are very excited to have been selected as one of the 150 organizations to participate this year.

The Give!Guide is an excellent opportunity for us to reach new donors who have yet to hear about us and the great work we are doing. We’ve had some exciting outreach opportunities of our own lately to help spread the word- our Executive Director has recorded an ad to be played regularly on X-Ray FM Radio, and we are creating a new series of videos to be released weekly during the duration of the Give!Guide Campaign. The Give!Guide gives us additional exposure through their website and print materials, and through their events over the next few weeks- including a Charity Smackdown Arm-Wrestling competition featuring our very own Rachel “The Reaper” Morse! This is a very fun and exciting time at Nightwatch, and we hope you will want to be a part of it!

This year we have set a goal of $30,000 raised through Give!Guide. We want to take a moment to thank our Sponsors- Kuni Lexus of Portland, Sizzle Pie, and Beneficial State Bank who are all making generous contributions this season. There are a number of ways you, as our longtime supporters, can get involved. If you are social media-inclined, a simple yet impactful way to show your support is to follow, like and re-tweet both Operation Nightwatch and Give!Guide this holiday season. Also, you can help us spread the word! Tell your family and friends to look for us in the Give!Guide and consider making a contribution.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we would love to have you join us at our annual Nightfest! This year, Nightfest will be held on November 15th, from 6-9 pm at Lagunitas Nonprofit Community Room, 237 NE Broadway. Please join us for a night of pizza, beer, wine, and a silent auction. Attendees will get VIP access to the new Nightwatch videos that others will have to wait weeks to see! This event will help us kick-off the Give!Guide, but is also our annual party to raise awareness and celebrate the work that we all do together through Nightwatch. Tickets are on sale now. A $25 ticket purchases admittance, pizza and a beer token. Visit www.operationnightwatch.org to purchase your tickets. Can’t wait to see you there!

A Message from our Mental Health Director, Kolin Busby

I am excited to tell you, our supporters, more about our Mental Health Initiative and the progress we have made this past year! First, some information about what it is we do. At the heart of our Mental Health Initiative, I provide trauma-informed crisis counseling, solution-focused brief therapy, and engages guests in harm reduction strategies. I offer strengths-based support to guests who do not typically engage with traditional mental healthcare services. I am available on a drop-in basis throughout the night for any guest at any time. I have also been working to bring peer support specialists in as volunteers as a means to better support our diverse population of guests.

There are many factors that affect people who do not have safe and stable housing. Isolation, trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, violence, sleep deprivation, the constant and often abrupt cycling between abundance and scarcity, the elements, and having basic human needs not met can drastically impact one's state of mind and well-being. Through our Mental Health Initiative, we support both those experiencing severe and persistent mental health issues, as well as those struggling with the hardships and stress of homelessness.

The primary focus of our Mental Health Initiative is to foster relationships with our guests that are built on trust and consistency. Our guests know that every week I will be there for them, supporting everyone who walks through our doors just as they are, free from judgment and prejudice. Within these relationships, I get to know our guests as individuals, helping them to recognize their unique strengths that already reside within them. I often also refer guests to medical clinics and other mental health, housing, and addiction agencies.

The positive psychological impact of our Mental Health Initiative on our guests cannot be underestimated. We have found when guests feel safe and cared for, they are more likely to embark on conversations about change, choices, and harm reduction.

At Operation Nightwatch, we believe everyone deserves to be seen and heard. We know our guests are more than their set of circumstances and stereotypes that can often bind them. For a few nights a week, we offer our guests a reprieve from the often curdling ebb and flow of life on the streets and hope that our Mental Health Initiative will help them to better face the mental, emotional, and physical challenges of homelessness.

-Kolin Busby

Welcome, Zubaida!

We would like to introduce you to Zubaida Ula, our new Downtown Program Coordinator! Zubaida brings many strengths to our team- she has an MSW from University of Michigan, and has over 6 years of experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges and addiction at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare.

Beyond her impressive resume, we were blown away by her heart of service and her enthusiasm for our mission. Skills can be practiced and procedures can be taught, but we have found it is much more difficult to teach someone how to naturally meet people with compassion and kindness, how to operate from a place of love, and how to believe in and want to live out our mission. We are incredibly grateful to have found a team member who loves what we do, and who is excited about the hospitality and genuine human connection that makes Nightwatch so special.

Welcome to the team, Zubaida! We are lucky to have you!

Mikaila Smith
Register for August 26th De-Escalation Training!

Operation Nightwatch is offering a Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training to all Nightwatch volunteers! This free course teaches you concrete skills and provides in-depth knowledge about how to recognize when someone is in crisis, how to safely de-escalate tense situations, and how to better care for yourself and others before, during and after a tense situation.

Our next training is taking place on:

Sunday, August 26th from 10 am - 4:30 pm

at Fire Station 12 Community Room,
8645 NE Sandy Blvd


The training is free of cost. When you register, please indicate if you would like us to provide you with a sandwich lunch from Elephant's Deli, or if you would like to bring your own lunch.

If you are interested, please email Mikaila at info@operationnightwatch.org, or call/text us at (503) 220- 0438 as soon as possible to register and secure your spot at the training! To attend the training, you must register no later than Thursday, August 23rd. Spaces are limited.

Mikaila Smith
March 2018 Newsletter

An Ode to Kristen Murray

I’m sure most people reading this are familiar with the famous line from Forrest Gump- “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Our Nightwatch family recently got a chocolate delivery that is truly bittersweet. Our beloved Downtown Program Director, Kristen Murray, happened upon an opportunity to pursue her dream of opening a bed and breakfast and has courageously ventured on to make her dream a reality this April. While we are ecstatic for what the future holds for her, we cannot deny that Nightwatch is losing a uniquely talented member of our family in the process.

Kristen began her faithful service with Operation Nightwatch as a volunteer in our medical room back in 2013. When Sean Meehan stepped down as our lead health care volunteer, Kristen did not hesitate to step up to the plate. It is without a doubt that our health room is the sustainable, thriving program it is today because of her years of hard work and selfless dedication.  With her uncanny organizational skills, her sharp eye for cost-saving measures, and her ability to recruit volunteers with her irresistible charm, we are blessed with an exceptionally well-ran first-aid room- a legacy that will continue long after her departure.

We had the absolute pleasure of officially hiring Kristen as our Downtown Program Director in May of 2017, and for the past year she has excelled, providing the best hospitality Portland has to offer to our Downtown guests. Anyone who has seen her in action cannot deny that her motherly nature and no-nonsense attitude creates an atmosphere that truly does feel like home.

On a personal note, we as staff will truly miss what she has brought to our little family. Even on days when we were running on empty, when everything seemed too much, Kristen’s endless energy and love would bring us back to life. She is truly an unstoppable force of nature, and she will be greatly missed by staff, guests, and volunteers alike.

As sad as we are to watch her go, it’s hard not to be happy to see where she is heading. After 5 years at Nightwatch, she is moving on to open what will undoubtedly be the best bed and breakfast in the country. She has assured us she will stay in touch, and will stop by to visit often. Even though she may not be here to greet us at the door every night, a bit of her will certainly be here with us. Someone cannot give so much of herself to a community for so long, and not leave a bit of her spirit and love behind- she is an inextricable part of what Nightwatch has become, and for that we are grateful.

Happy trails, Kristen. We wish you all the best.

Calling All Businesses (?)

It’s no secret that Operation Nightwatch depends on each and every one of you to keep our light shining in the community. You give freely of your time, your money, your resources- this is the fuel that keeps us going, and in turn keeps our hearth warm for our guests. We truly can’t thank you enough for all you give to our guests through Nightwatch.

We wanted to take a moment to recognize some of our major supporters that we may not all know by face, but certainly by name- our business supporters who provide immeasurable value with their regular contributions. Elephant’s Delicatessen is among one of our largest supporters, providing thousands of dollars’ worth of high-quality food for our guests monthly. Similarly, Starbucks donates delicious cake-pops and pastries every week for our guests to receive the coffee-shop experience. What would Nightwatch be without coffee? For that, we would like to thank Ground Works coffee for their generous donation of pounds and pounds of coffee to keep us sipping. Dave’s Killer Bread hooks us up with healthy, delicious bread every week to make hearty sandwiches for our folks in SE- delicious and nutritious!

Then we have our friends at Neil Kelly, who provide a box truck and volunteer every month free of charge to help us transport blankets that we hand out to guests throughout the month, saving us hours of running around when we can better be serving our guests in other ways. Lagunitas and Sizzle Pie are another pair of generous donors, who donated space and a mountain of pizza to our annual Nightfest- did we mention this year was the most successful Nightfest to date? Of course, how could Nightfest not have been a success with a sponsor like Kuni Lexus, donating a $2,000 matching fund! Our friends at Data Abstract Solutions in Vancouver continue to be one of our largest financial contributors, donating a percentage of their monthly profit directly to our general fund, which provides peace of mind as well as much needed funding month in and month out.

We recognize times are changing. Our economy is changing, our community is changing, and Nightwatch is changing how we think about fundraising. As exemplified above, businesses are an absolute wealth of giving that can create sustainable support for our operations and services. This year, we have set a goal to increase our business support from our community. Business contributions chalk up to more than charity- they are investments in our community.

Do you know a business that has an annual giving campaign we could apply for? Perhaps a business you know has an event we can table at, or are seeking meaningful ways to support their community? If so, please put us in touch. We would love to show them an investment opportunity for a brighter future.

De-Escalation Training at Nightwatch

Operation Nightwatch is pleased to announce the return of Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training! As of mid-April, our Assistant Executive Director Mikaila will be certified as an instructor, and she will be ready and eager to train those interested. This de-escalation training is central to the work we do- it gives us the tools to handle tense situations safely and with compassion. We love this training so much, that we want to offer it to all of you- it’s too good to keep to ourselves!

Homelessness is increasing rapidly in Portland- and so are tensions between the housed and unhoused community. We see it happening all around us. People are becoming increasingly stressed, and fear has a way changing people’s ability to act kindly to one another. Our hope is that by providing this training, we can give both housed and unhoused members the confidence and skills they need to stay safe and grounded.

The training itself lasts no more than 4 hours (often less), and is well worth the time. Perhaps you want this training offered at your workplace? Or maybe there are a group of regular volunteers reading this newsletter who find themselves interested? If you are interested in this training, or know of someone who may be, please give us a shout! We are extremely excited to spread this training far and wide. The more people trained, the wider-spread the impact is. We’d love to have you join us.

For more information, contact Mikaila at info@operationnightwatch.org, or by calling us at (503) 220-0438.

New Website!

Operation Nightwatch has a beautiful, brand new website! We would like to thank Mac Ehlen for all the hard work he has put into designing and launching our new site. Not to worry, our address is the same- www.operationnightwatch.org.

Some things worth mentioning:

-Smack-dab on our home page you can find our Nightwatch video (created and donated by Ryan Maher), which is a great tool for telling others about Nightwatch.

-As always, you can sign up to volunteer by clicking on the “Volunteer” tab at the top of the page.

-Donating is as easy as it ever was for those who would like to donate using a bank or credit card- simply click on the “Donate” tab at the top of our page to find our online donation system.

Please, check it out! We think it’s great, and we’re sure you will too!


Downtown Hospitality Center
1432 SW 13th Ave (in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church)
Thursday-Saturday, 7 pm- 11 pm

SE Hospitality Center
8800 SE 80th Ave (in Clackamas Service Center)
Friday 7 pm- 9 pm
Saturday  5 pm- 8 pm

To sign up to volunteer, please visit www.operationnightwatch.org

To Donate:

For online donations, please visit www.operationnightwatch.org

Checks can be mailed to:

Operation Nightwatch
PO Box 4005
Portland, OR 97208

For in-kind donations (socks, toiletries, sleeping bags, etc.) please contact us to set up a drop-off or pick-up.
(503) 220-0438

MacGregor EhlenComment