A unique partnership between Woodburn Independent and Woodburn Proud helped community exceed WPD's goal

LINDSAY KEEFER - (From left) Woodburn Independent Publisher Al Herriges, Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris, Woodburn Proud President Eric Swenson and Woodburn City Administrator Scott Derickson stand with 15 AEDs purchased with community-donated money. Thanks to a unique community partnership between the Woodburn Independent and Woodburn Proud, the Woodburn Police Department has exceeded its goal of purchasing 10 automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

The two organizations raised $11,085 to outfit all of the WPD's police fleet. The goal was to equip every police cruiser, but donations exceeded the amount needed for that.

"The contributions were so generous we were able to extend it to unmarked and command staff vehicles," Chief Jim Ferraris said. "I even have one in my car."

All uniformed police personnel have been trained to use AEDs, on top of being CPR certified.

In May of this year, the Independent's Publisher Al Herriges approached Ferraris about Pamplin Media Group, the Independent's parent company, wanting to raise funds for AEDs in each of its communities.

Brian Monihan, Pamplin Media Group's vice president, said the project was inspired by Lake Oswego Police Chief Don Johnson, who's been passionate about the value of AEDs.

"Hearing from Chief Johnson how many lives had been saved by having an AED in their police vehicles was validation for me to push this idea forward," Monihan explained. "Our goal with the project was threefold: raise awareness of the value of AEDs within each of the communities that we serve, raise funds to purchase AEDs and to save lives. I know we accomplished goals one and two already, and I'm confident that saving lives will happen as well."

In Woodburn, which Monihan said was one of the top three most successful communities thanks to this initiative, Woodburn Proud representatives were also interested in raising money for AEDs, and a partnership formed. Woodburn Proud donated $5,000 and became a clearinghouse for community donations (ranging from $20 to $1,000). Among the largest donors were Ed Krupicka State Farm Insurance, Abby's Pizza and Specialty Polymers, donating $1,000 each, and Woodburn Eagles, which donated $500. Additionally, the Independent, through its advertising sponsors, was able to donate $1,000.

Ferraris said that after exceeding the $10,000 goal to purchase 10 AEDs for $1,000 each, he was able to go to former colleague Salem Fire Chief Mike Niblock and the Salem Fire Foundation to acquire five additional AEDs at a reduced rate of $700 per unit.

AEDs are still being installed in WPD vehicles, but already they're saving lives. There's already been at least one successful AED deployment by the WPD, Ferraris said.

"Woodburn Proud and the Independent are the big players here. We just are the recipients. They get the credit," Ferraris said. "In all my years in law enforcement, this is one of the best community partnerships I have ever been part of."

This project fulfills the Woodburn City Council's goal of enhancing public safety through community partnerships, a press release from the city said.

"It has always been a high priority for the Council to make sure our police department fosters positive relationships in the community," Woodburn City Administrator Scott Derickson said in the release. "The Council views public safety as one of its highest priorities and when our police department can develop relationships that help save lives, Woodburn is better for it."

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