Mental illness organization seeks participants for only annual fundraising walk

A 5K walk in Portland on Sunday, May 21, will benefit Columbia County programs for mental illness.

NAMI Walks Northwest is the annual fundraiser 5K walk, hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The upcoming walk, held at the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade near Southeast Water Avenue and Southeast Main Street in Portland, will benefit NAMI's all volunteer-based Columbia County chapter.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NAMI COLUMBIA COUNTY - Ellis Amdur of Edgework, NAMI volunteer Teri Robinson, and St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss during a 'Thin Blue Lifeline' crisis intervention training for first responders in Februrary. NAMI will hold its annual fundraiser 5K walk next Sunday, May 21, in Portland to support programs for training and mental health support. The annual walk is the local chapter's only fundraiser.

This year, NAMI of Columbia County hopes to raise at least $5,000. Funds raised help pay for training expenses for group facilitators and help pay for services like peer groups for those with mental health challenges, or support services and groups for family members.

Anyone can join the roughly three-mile walk by starting a new team or joining an existing team through There is no cost to register, but participants are encouraged to ask friends

and family to sponsor them with donations to the NAMI event.

"When you join the NAMI walk, you get to pick a team to walk with and you can say which chapter you want [your donations] to go to," Teri Robinson, coordinator for NAMI Columbia County, said Tuesday.

Children in strollers and pets on leashes are welcome to join the walk. Smoking is not allowed on the walk route.

NAMI is a grassroots national organization focused on educating others and being a voice for mental health issues. The organization offers free training to its volunteers, and hopes to recruit more volunteers in Columbia County.

"With the funds raised in past years they have helped Columbia County's law enforcement attend 40 Hour Crisis Intervention Trainings in Clackamas County, gave Christmas gifts for Columbia Community Mental Health Rehabilitation clients for more than a decade, contributed to local organizations that support community wellbeing such as Amani Center, Sacagawea Health Center, Personalized Medicine presentations in Rainier, scholarships, held NAMI Family to Family 12 week classes, and much more," a news release from NAMI states.

NAMI Columbia County says volunteers would like to use funds to bring back Ellis Amdur, a crisis intervention specialist, to give further training courses to first responders in Columbia County.

To register for this year's fundraiser walk, visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call

503-230-8009. The walk begins at 1 p.m. with check-in at


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