Gateway business people hold in-person gathering

It’s been a while since the Gateway Area Business Association has met. See what happened when this venerated outer East Portland group again convened in person ...

In the Hazelwood neighborhood, inside Von Ebert Brewing at Glendoveer, the business association that serves Gateway area businesses meets.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Like most Portland Neighborhood Business Districts, the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) suspended its group activities since the first mandated “lockdown” of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic early last year.

Finally, on February 9, GABA members and other interested business people felt comfortable again having an in-person meeting – in the meeting room of Von Ebert Brewing, Glendoveer.

Before the meeting starts, Lily Pak, of Lily Market, gets to know Liz Starke from Rose Haven, a community shelter.

The gathering started out with a handful of arrivals. But, by the time the formal meeting began, about 20 participants had checked in, ordered food – and, of course – a beer.

“It’s true; it’s been almost two years since we’ve had a live meeting,” recalled GABA President Nidal Kahl of Kahl Properties and Furniture Plus , located on NE Halsey Street.

“It does not feel like it is been that long; especially when you see some familiar faces,” he told East Portland News.

GABA President Nidal Kahl can’t help but smile broadly as he meets and greets the returning area business people.

“Our organization has survived one day at a time, like everyone else, and we have a lot of ‘community rebuilding’ to do,” Kahl reflected. “We’ve had to ‘hit pause’ on many of our district’s projects; so, we take things day by day, moving forward.”

As he later told the group, Kahl told East Portland News that his primary focus is on the priorities tied to the Gateway Action Plan for the Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal Area, managed by Prosper Portland. [CLICK HERE to open a PDF copy on the Prosper Portland web portal. Although stamped “Draft” Kahl assures us it is the actual plan]

More folks check into this GABA meeting before it begins.

With about 12 months left, it’s urgent that the elements of the Gateway Action Plan are enacted.

“The ‘clock is ticking, loudly’ for the Gateway Action Plan; this is a five-year plan; and now we are into our last and fifth year,” observed Kahl. “But, we haven’t been able to do much of anything during the past two years. This is one of the reasons we’re holding this event – hopefully to reactivate the business people in our district, to get this going!”

Ready with door-prize and beverage tickets is Nana Hoerth, Gateway District Manager from Venture Portland.

Delighted to win a door prize is Shane Milner of Town & Country Glass.

Asked to look forward in 2022, Kahl’s face lit up with his typical enthusiastic smile. “We’re looking forward to seeing people, in person, routinely!

“We are considering some outdoor events, at Gateway Discovery Park – it’s been really underutilized in the last couple years. And, with the Nick Fish [building, directly adjacent to the park on NE Halsey Street] completed, hopefully we’ll get some new retail business here in our Gateway Center.”

His other goal is reactivating the Gateway Retail Advisory Committee to focus on increasing business in the district.

Karl Dinkelspiel of Prosper Portland presents elements of the Gateway Action Plan.

After self-introductions, Prosper Portland Development Manager Karl Dinkelspiel gave a presentation, reacquainting those present with the Gateway Action Plan, outlining the next steps for revitalizing it.

We’re also told that the Gateway Area Business Association is in the process of also revitalizing their website; to see it: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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