Montavilla/East Tabor business group celebrates first year

Due to busy schedules, it looked like finding a new president for this business new business association would be impossible. But look at the creative solution these community-minded folks came up with …

Outgoing Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association president Alema McCrey (far end of table, right side) calls for officer and board nominations for the coming year.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Montavilla business district on SE Stark Street – from SE 92nd Ave west to Mt. Tabor –looked pretty much like post-modern ghost town. The former bustling business district was lined with dingy storefront windows showing off deserted retail establishments.

But a couple of years ago, things started to pick up when the Bipartisan Café opened its doors, Flying Pizza expanded and the Academy Theater was remodeled and opened.

Neighborhood business association formed
About this time last year, business owners banded together to form a neighborhood business district organization they call Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA).

“Our mission,” METBA’s first president, Alema McCrey, Alema McCrey Bookeeping, told us, “is to unite area businesses to create a safer neighborhood and more viable business atmosphere.”

Additionally, she said, their organization provides networking opportunities for local business people, promotes their business district, recruits new businesses, and encourages area residents to shop locally. “We also work with the city on transportation, pedestrian and traffic, and crime issues.”

Kevin Kissire of Infusion Salon gets a slice of the delicious pie from Peter Emerson, owner of Montavilla’s Bipartisan Café.

Food provided by many members
Their first annual meeting, held at Rob Robinson’s Stark Street Pizza, was a banquet featuring pizzas supplied by host’s establishment, additional pizza from Flying Pie Pizzeria and Academy Theater popcorn.

Bipartisan Cafe brought six luscious, custom-baked pies. Member Lawnn Holden came in with a giant bucket of hot wings she purchased from Thatcher’s in Montavilla.

The question of succession
At this meeting, McCrey mentioned several activities undertaken by the organization, including:

  • Participating in the 82nd Ave. of Roses first annual parade;
  • Being one of the instrumental organizers of for the Montavilla Farmer’s Market started this year;
  • Bringing Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams out to discuss transportation safety issues in the district; and,
  • Working with the neighborhood association producing the Montavilla International Fair.

The main thrust of this meeting, however, was regarding succession – establishing a new board of directors and voting in a new president.

Citing full schedules, community involvement and challenging business situations, several members present demurred accepting presidential responsibilities for METBA.

Two members then proposed a unique solution: Tarah Shuler, Sante’ Day Spa, will take presidential for the first six months of METBA’s new year; then, Ty DuPuis, Academy Theater/Flying Pie, will preside starting in May 2008.

Introducing METBA’s new co-presidents: Tarah Shuler and Ty DuPuis. They’ll share presidential responsibilities for the Association.

“SE Stark Street is a wonderful historic district with tremendous growth potential, and by working together, we can help Montavilla develop as one of Portland’s premier business communities,” summarized McCrey.

Find out more about this new and growing association by going online by going to: www.metba.org.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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