While East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs was the scheduled speaker, Portland Planning Bureau’s District Liaison, Barry Manning, also stopped in. You’ll see what was discussed when you read this article ‚Ķ

Portland Planning Bureau’s District Liaison, Barry Manning came by to share plans for outer East Portland with members of the Midway Business Association, but stayed for a lively discussion about how the area is being developed.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
People who come to the Midway Business Association meetings learn a lot about what is happening in outer SE Portland.

In October, for example, we learned from club president Donna Dionne that the Portland Water Bureau plans to open its second “hydro-park” in outer East Portland at SE 128th Ave. and Center St. — the Gilbert Hydro Park. “The bureau said they’re putting up to $50,000 into improvements at the site,” Dionne told the group. “This includes taking down the fence and putting in park amenities.”

Planning Bureau update
Up next was Barry Manning, Portland Planning Bureau district liaison.

Manning, who has earned a good reputation for being approachable and helpful to folks in outer East Portland, gave attendees an update on his bureau’s activities.

Showing a map, Manning told of a recent “tour” planners took of the area.

“We started at the new East Portland Neighborhood office,” he began. “Then, we looked at auto dealers in the transit zone (E. Burnside St. and 122nd Ave.).

While threading their way across outer East, the busload of planners took note of infill housing and the increasing use of “flag” lots. They rolled down to observe rowhouses and other development in Powellhurst-Gilbert.

“As we looked at development, we noted whether or not it ‘fit in’ to the neighborhood; if it changed the character of the area; and, how it affected the existing infrastructure. Current zoning policy calls for more even more development.”

Bill Dayton, piped up, “I’m concerned that SE 136th Ave., from Division to Powell, is going to become our ‘Rockwood’ ‚Äì packed with nothing but high-density, low-income housing.”

“We don’t have a lot of answers,” explained Manning. “We are addressing issues in this area. It’s true, the Powellhurst area has the majority of the area development taking place. It is seeing a lot of change, and warrants a little more focus. Many new people are moving into this area.”

Public safety concerns about growth
East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs introduced himself, saying he came to the luncheon to “both listen and talk” with people about public safety issues.

“I’m concerned that when I see what looks like a lot of cheap housing being quickly built in a given area,” Crebs said. He added that housing, either for ownership or rental, that isn’t well-built, will turn shabby within a decade. “In ten years, some of these developments will be a mess.”

Frank Ryan commented, “The city talks about providing ‘affordable housing’, but it looks as if we’re building future ghettos of poverty instead.”

Crebs added, “If you build quality housing, it will attract quality people. In public safety, we have deep concerns that this explosive growth of dense housing will create problems. It is great to provide affordable housing. But, poorly-built housing becomes run down quickly. And run-down housing attracts problems.”

Manning responded that they could look into the quality of materials being used. “But, more dense development is a factor in Portland’s housing market,” he added diplomatically.

Neighborhood study underway
A “land inventory” of southeast Portland along SE Division will soon be underway, Manning told the group. “We’re working with Portland State University students, who are taking this on as part of their Planning Analysis and Data Methods class. We’ll look at South Powellhurst and Centennial.”

Then, the students will take a survey to learn area residents’ concerns, travel and shopping behaviors and use of local parks. “The information we learn from this project could lead to changes here,” Manning concluded.

How cops work to keep us safe

East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs listened to the concerns of area business people, including Frank Ryan, NW Senior News, and Carolyn Schell of Midland Library.

“We always have our hands full here,” stated the Commander Crebs. “We respond to the highest number of service calls per officer; and we have the highest rate of self-initiated stops.”

East Precinct is the most active among those across the city, he added, saying they deal with 30% of all reported crime, and investigate the highest number of homicides — “ten this year.”

“We have great officers who really care,” he said. “Because of their hard work and citizens dedicated to increasing safety, overall, crime is down about 22%.”

Crebs told the group about the success their Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) has had in the area.

Part of their strategy is to crack down on pawnshops. “If there’s no place to sell to sell stolen goods, it cuts down crime. We’ve targeted drug users and sellers. We put them out of business because we taking their car, their drugs, and their money.”

How citizens can help
When asked what citizens can do, Crebs responded, “If you have a problem, like dumpster diving, put locks on them. Take the effort to review your lighting — anything that may give a crook a place to hide. Our crime prevention people will evaluate your business, to keep your property safer.”

Next Midway gathering is Nov. 14
Come and learn more about your community! The Midway Business Association meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Ave., just south of Division St. For more information, go to www.midwayba.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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Not giving up after his first attempt at reforming Portland’s Business License fee last year, see how Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams wants to perfect the business tax system ‚Ķ

Before Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams began is presentation, he listened to concerns of Southeast Portland business people.

By V.M. Wells with David F. Ashton
City Commissioner Sam Adams took his drive to lighten the business tax burdens to a meeting of small business people, including those from inner Southeast Portland, on November 2 at a Gateway-area restaurant.

The commissioner started off by showing pages of charts and graphs depicting Portland’s economy and business demographics compiled by Warren Jimenez of his office.

Adams began his presentation by showing a dazzling array of demographics depicting the city’s business climate and financial position.

Adams said, with pride, that Portland “still has a lot of small business” ‚Äì and that Portland business has not been taken over lock, stock, and barrel by chain store operations or other out-of-city firms. Many cities, he warned, have lost a lot of their local business.

But, he added, the region is becoming more prosperous but the City of Portland has not.

He reported that 34,000 businesses paid $31.1 million in license fees in 2004, the last year for which figures are available. He estimated that the fees have yielded about $54 million this year, even though most businesses in Portland gross $200,000 a year or less.

Adams revealed that Oregon has the lowest state tax burden on business among the 50 states. But, Portland has the heaviest burden in the state, he added.

In the last five years the number of jobs in the region increased by 3.6 percent, but in the same time Portland lost 1.8 percent of its jobs, explained Adams. And, family incomes are slipping in Portland.

In Multnomah County as a whole, he said, 94 percent of businesses hire 50 workers or fewer; small business, taken as a whole, hires 125,000 workers.

Sam Adams told the group the purpose of is proposal was to fine-tune the city’s business tax system to make it “more fair”.

Adams tax fairness plan
The City Commissioner then shared five different ways the city’s Business License Fee (BLF) might be adjusted to make it “more fair”.

Regarding the difference between a fee and a tax, Adams said in passing, “A business fee is a tax, let’s face it.”

His proposal to “refine” the BLF would reduce the burden for more than 9,000 smaller city businesses; about 900 of the largest concerns would see their annual tax bill increase. Adams estimated that 59 percent of Portland business would benefit from his plan.

Adams said he wants the city council to raise the exemption below which no business tax is due from $25,000 a year to $50,000, and do it by the end of the year. And, he said, he wants to raise an exemption–the “Owner’s Compensation Deduction”–from $60,000 to $125,000 by the 2008 tax year. However, he does not ask for lower tax rates than the present 2.2 percent on net profit.

“We can help more by raising the owner’s exemption than by lowering the tax rate,” Adams explained.

Adams indicated that the license fee is not fairly applied, declaring that hundreds of businesses which gross more than $1 million a year pay only $100 in business tax. “Some of you are paying more than that, even though you don’t gross $1 million,” he said. “That is unfair.”

At the same time he quoted economists as estimating that eliminating the tax would add 1,500 jobs in five years.

Ken Turner, Governmental Affairs chair of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce commented, “There is fairness in [Adams’] plan.”

David Panichello, president of the Gateway Area Business association and owner of Opti-Con, suggested that stricter enforcement of the tax law is needed. But Adams said the city spends $1 million a year on enforcement and a study has found that it is about 98 percent effective.

Asks for business community support
Adams said he plans to take his plan before the City Council before the end of the year, perhaps early as the end of November. He hesitated to speculate regarding which council members might support his reform plan.

“If you agree the BLF needs reform, come down to City Hall when I present the plan, and show your support in person,” Adams urged the group. “It really does mean a lot when you come, either to testify, or just be there to show your support.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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If you’re a small business person who’s “had it” with paying the city’s high “license fee”, Sam Adams wants to hear from you at a special Town Hall meeting. Read this, and plan to come ‚Ķ no reservations required ‚Ķ

Portland Commissioner Sam Adams listens to the concerns of a Portland business person. He wants to hear what you have to say about the city’s licensing fees at noon, on Nov. 2, at JJ North’s in Gateway.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Oregon law allows Multnomah County to levy a “business income tax” ‚Äì but the City of Portland is prohibited from authorizing a tax on businesses. So, the city calls their tax a Business License Fee.

“Portland’s small businesses are paying too much in their Business License Fees,” Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams told us. “I’m addressing this problem by working on license fee reform. I want to hear from East Portland business owners before I make a decision on a reform package.”

Town Hall set for Nov. 2
To facilitate the conversation, the East Portland Chamber of Commerce set up a meeting at which Adams will pitch his reform ideas and listen to citizens.

“This is an opportunity for businesses and residents in East Portland to talk directly with Commissioner Adams and let him know their opinions on the impact of business tax and license fees on our Eastside community,” said Ken Turner, chairman of the government affairs committee of the East Portland Chamber.Turner added, “We’re pleased that this significant session with Commissioner Adams is being is also supported by the Gateway Area Business Association, Parkrose Business Association, 82nd Ave. of Roses Business Association, and Midway Business Association.”

No reservations; come early
The meeting starts promptly at 12 noon on Thursday, Nov. 2 at J.J. North’s Restaurant, 10520 N.E. Halsey, in the Gateway District.

The full buffet lunch is $8.50. Reservations are not required, but plan to arrive early to be assured seating.

For more information about the chamber or its events see: www.EastPortlandChamber.com or call (503) 788-8589.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman surprised many people by taking on reform of the Police & Fire Disability and Retirement System during his spring reelection campaign. The commissioner spoke at both the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, and Parkrose Business Association promoting this measure …

Ken Turner, Governmental Affairs chair of East Portland Chamber of Commerce introduces Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman at last week’s “Good Morning East Portland” networking meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has been barnstorming East Portland, asking voters to support a reform of the Police & Fire Disability and Retirement System.

Earlier this year, Saltzman surprised many people by taking on reform of the Police & Fire Disability and Retirement at the same time he was running for reelection. In February, we asked Saltzman why he’d take on an issue that, in the past has been a “campaign killer” for other elected city officials.

“I’m doing what I think is the right thing to do,” Saltzman told us back then, “for both the taxpayers and the welfare for police and firefighters. If the pension goes bust, everyone’s going to be left holding the bag. And I mean everyone ‚Äì our public safety workers and citizens. It is the fiscally-responsible thing to do.”

Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, here telling why he urges everyone to vote for Measure 26-68.

Solving a $1.64 Billion dollar problem
Working with a blue-ribbon panel, Saltzman and his staff have been working to find a way to start retiring a $1.6 Billion dollar unfunded liability in retirement fund. He credited Jeff Cogan, his chief-of-staff for managing the process.

“This unfunded liability can literally swallow the city’s entire budget,” he told members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce on October 18.

“What this means,” Saltzman continued, “is that the city has an obligation to pay this amount of money, but we don’t have the money to pay. If there were a rash of police or fire bureau retirements, or if because of a massive disaster our public safety works experienced a catastrophic loss, we couldn’t pay it.”

In addition to having this massive obligation hanging over the city’s head, the commissioner stated, it also lowers the Bond Rating for Portland. “This makes it more expensive for the city to borrow money.”

Vote required to change city charter
Changing our public safety retirement and disability system requires a change in the Portland City Charter, Saltzman explained.

If Measure 26-86 is passed by voters at the November election, then, starting Jan 1, newly hired workers will go into the state-wide PERS retirement system. “If we don’t do this, our obligation will balloon to $8 billion dollars within 40 years. Instead, as people on the current system retire, our obligation will diminish over time.”

Fixes ‘broken’ disability system
“When it comes to awarding disability payments,” Saltzman continued, “there have been some questionable decisions. Some workers, who don’t appear to be disabled, are ‘gaming’ the system. Now, there is a 99% disability approval rate.”

Because the current disability board is composed of active or retired police officers or firefighters, “we have, in essence, the fox guarding the henhouse.”

The board will be revamped from 11 members down to five. Their role will be to make policy, not make disability decisions, Saltzman added. “Instead, an evaluation of each claim will be made by an expert in the area.”

Unions, city agree to new plan
“These are dramatic changes,” said the commissioner. “The entire city council supports this measure.” Saltzman then quoted Mayor Tom Potter, “Police and fire representatives are supporting this measure in their own way.”

Dan Saltzman says he’s most concerned that this measure will get “lost in the background”, with so many measures on the ballot.

Measure to indirectly increases taxes for 26 years
Asked about the tax impact of the measure on citizens, Saltzman said homeowners will see their property taxes increase for the next twenty years, as existing pensions for retired police and firefighters are paid off. “Then, taxes will taper off. But, remember, in 40 years, our obligations will be paid off, and our public safety workers will have their pensions assured.

While there isn’t any opposition to the measure, “Our biggest concern is that this measure doesn’t get lost among the other measures on the ballot,” Saltzman concluded.

Web Only Extra: Chamber members mix things up at Vino Vixens

Erin Marie, owner of Vino Vixens and Sun Kiss Spa and Tanning hosts a fun East Portland Chamber of Commerce evening event.

On October 17, Wine flowed; guests noshed on cheese, shrimp and antipasto at a special East Portland Chamber of Commerce evening event.

“Vino Vixens is a unique wine bar with an intimate setting,” Marie told us. “This is the perfect spot to hold informal gatherings. And, Sun Kiss Spa offers a full line of treatments. Come see us!

To learn more about this great group, or her two businesses, go to www.eastportlandchamber.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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Learn about changes at the PDX Parking lot, area road improvements, and the possibility that the Port of Portland offices might move to outer East Portland, by reading this …

Port of Portland’s Dan Brame, showing Parkrose Business Association members where new parking facilities are likely to be built.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although it was opened just a few years ago, the short-term parking garage at Portland International Airport (PDX) is beginning to fill up, according to the Port of Portland’s Dan Brame — so they’ll build another.

“It reflects poorly on the airport,” Brame says as he addresses members of the Parkrose Business Association at their September monthly meeting. “In a survey we conducted, the main concern about PDX wasn’t security, but instead, problems with parking.”

In the near term, he adds, they’re considering increasing the parking rate from $14 to $18 per 24-hour period. “But, we expect raising the price will discourage only 200 cars a night.”

To address the tight parking situation, Brame says they’ll build a new parking garage immediately behind the current structure. This one will boast 3,500 spaces; 500 spots for rental car companies.

They expect start construction in next fall, and it should be ready to use in 2009.

Parking ‘valet’ to be installed
“With 3,300 spaces, it can be difficult to find a spot,” Brame continues. “When we get down to the last few spaces, finding an empty spot is challenging.”

To alleviate the problem, a new computerized directional system will tell drivers entering the “double helix” ramp how many spaces on each floor; and tell indicate where empty spaces are located.

“We’ve also installed a ‘pre-pay’ system,” Brame continues. “You can pay for your parking at a kiosk on the way to your car in the garage. If you’ve prepaid, you drive past the line of attendants, scan your paid ticket, and go.”

Port offices may move east
According to the port official, the top floor of the new parking structure may be constructed to house the Port’s headquarters offices.

“Downtown Portland, we have 300 employees who spend 70% of their time working on airport matters,” Brame tells us. “Engineering, Information Technology, and Human Resources all spend time a good deal of their time at PDX.”

In fact, Brame says workers annually spend 15,000 hours riding light rail back and forth from their current downtown offices. “When they are downtown, they aren’t connected with their prime customers ‚Äì the 14 million people pass though the airport.”

The new offices would provide 60,000 sq. ft. of space, into which about 100 workers would move. “The Port has made a commitment to sustainable building. It will have onsite waste water treatment and power generation, and will be built of sustainable materials.”

While the office is still on the drawing boards, Brame says the new parking lot construction has been approved.

Scott King, Port of Portland, describes some of the many projects that airport planners have been developing to alleviate traffic snarls near the airport.

Controlling ground traffic
As the airport gets busier, vehicle traffic to and from and surrounding PDX increases, says Scott King, also with the Port of Portland. “I know; I’m a local resident, and I live in the neighborhood.”

King says that PDX operates on a conditional use permit from the city. “It was updated in 2003, and we were told we had to do certain improvements. With the 2005 Oregon Investment Transportation Act in place, the Port submitted projects related to that fund. Other funding comes from the city.”

When the recent change allowing large-scale retail stores to be built at Cascade Station, King says more projects came on the map. “Most are low-impact in construction. But we also have a major projects, like one with a proposed ‘flyover’ ramp to ease freeway congestion.”

Of specific interest to attendees of the meeting was the concurrent proposal to widen Sandy Blvd. at 105th Ave.

Meet Commissioner Dan Saltzman in Parkrose Oct. 19
This month, the Parkrose Business Association welcomes Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who will speak on issues affecting the Parkrose area on October 19. The Member Moment will be offered by Terry Brier of Davey/Organicare.

Come at 11:30 a.m. so you’ll have time to meet these great folks. And, you’ll enjoy the best business lunch at town at Steamers Restaurant, 8030 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. For more information, check www.parkrosebusiness.org.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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Let’s check in with the East Portland Chamber of Commerce and see how this energetic group is supporting local businesses ‚Ķ

East Portland Chamber of Commerce members surround Terri Stromatt and Rithya Tang (front row, center) of DNA Services of America at the ribbon cutting ceremony not long ago.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In addition to representing east Portland businesses on the city, county and regional basis and their “Good Morning East Portland” Wednesday morning networking gatherings, the East Portland Chamber of Commerce welcomes new businesses to the area.

Recently, we met Rithya Tang, principal of the Portland of DNA Services of America lab.

“Through DNA testing,” Tang told us, “we can conclusively identify biological relationships. Our genetics laboratory provides accurate and conclusive results of paternity tests, for example.”

Their company is located in the Hollywood area at 3939 NE Hancock St., Suite 209, Portland, OR 97212.

Scrambling through the brambles

Richard Sorem, Stewart & Tunno Insurance Agency, winds up for a swing on the 10th hole at Edgefield Manor’s hillside golf course at the Chamber’s “Bramble Scramble” Golf Tournament.

The chamber helps its members build their businesses by providing stimulating networking activities. On September 8, it was their annual golfing event.

The “Bramble Scramble” Golf Tournament, held at McMiniman’s Edgefield, brought both golf affectionate and duffers for a wonderful afternoon of golf and fellowship.

The best way to tell the story is in pictures!

Gail and Richard Kiley (Home Run Graphics) provide hospitality at the hole they sponsored.

Todd Grasle (BC Graphics) holds the ball with which he made a “Hole In One” ‚Äì the 9th hole is behind him.

Sue Eastman (SE Works) selling tickets ‚Äì lots of tickets ‚Äì to Jonathon Shorter (Adventist Health). By the way, he took home many of the great raffle prizes. “If you want to win, you’ve got to play,” Shorter says.

Event title and “Gold Sponsor” Richard Sorem, Stewart & Tunno Insurance Agency, thanks the group for participating.

Platinum Sponsor AJ Prasad, Town Center Bank, shares a few thoughts.

The Silver Sponsor was Adventist Health. Monty Knittel addresses the group.

EPCC Ambassador’s Chair, Norm Rice (First Class Properties) samples the food at the apr?®s-golf reception at Edgefield Manor.

Nancy Chapin (The Support Group) diligently adds up the golfer’s scores.

Third Place awards go to the Adventist Health team: Monty Knittel, Jonathan Shorter, Hannah Clegg and Carol Cate.

Second Place winners were Team BC Graphics; Greg Zuffrea is accepting the gifts and prizes for his teammates from Sue Eastman (SE Works).

First Place team was made up of Richard Kiley (Home Run Graphics), Shelley Belt, (Madison Vinyards a visitor and member of Prosser Chamber of Commerce in WA); Richard Sorem, Ran Manza (Stewart & Tunno Insurance Agency).

For more information about this great business group, or to find the location of their next free Good Morning East Portland Wednesday morning networking meeting, go to www.eastportlandchamber.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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With fun Рnot business Рon their minds, see Gateway business people having fun at an outdoor party featuring – yes – a hat contest …

Arlene Halverson of Sterling Savings Bank is checking in “Not your ordinary bean counter”, GABA member Kevin Minkoff, CPA.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Taking a break from the serious side of business, the Gateway Area Business Association hosted their “summer frolic” a few weeks ago.

The outdoor event, held at 111th Square on NE Halsey St., featured Mexican food, a hat contest, and an arm-wrestling championship.

Jon Turino, Farmer’s Insurance; Kevin Minkoff, CPA; Bill Gates, Parkrose United Methodist Church; Lee Powell, Farmer’s Insurance; and Jeralyn Morgan, Portland Rent-all/Party Place all show off their hats

Hat judges Fred Sanchez of Realty Brokers, Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Guisto, Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts, and Oregon State Representative Jeff Merkley all look over the contestants’ entries.

Grand prize sponsor, Craig Mendenhall of American Sani-Can congratulates winner Jeralyn Morgan (her second win, in as many years), with host Fred Sanchez.

The other “business” of the day included arm-wrestling competitions against David Hardy, personal trainer and owner of One-on-One Fitness at 111th Square.

No matter how hard Sheriff Bernie Guisto tried to beat him, David Hardy prevailed during the first contest of strength and skill.

In the second arm-wrestling match-up, Ann Sanchez of Realty Brokers took a surprise win against muscle-man Hardy. We asked Hardy if he “took a dive” ‚Äì but he wasn’t talking ‚Ķ

All in all, the group had a great time. Come meet these folks at the next GABA meeting on September 14 at JJ North’s, 10520 NE Halsey St. Reservations are not needed. For more information, see www.gabanet.com.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton  ~ East PDX News

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Read this article and learn how one business association is participating in Mayor Tom Potter’s visionPDX program; and why you should, also ‚Ķ

Jean Baker and David Ashton “pick the brains” of business people as part of the mayor’s visionPDX process, discovering the values and desires of business people in the Gateway Area

Story by Watford Reed; photos by Frank Ryan
Answers poured out, when members of the Gateway Area Business Association were asked to tell what they think of Portland, and what they’d like to see changed.

David F. Ashton, a local newsman and communications consultant, was the facilitator of this “visionPDX” session, co-hosted by Jean Baker, vice president of the Alliance of Neighborhood Business Associations and president of Division-Clinton Business Association. Because of Baker’s diligent efforts, Ashton said, businesspeople had the opportunity to participate in this city-wide program.

Ashton asked participants to keep their “druthers” short, and registered about 40 of them as he, and Jean Baker, solicited views from businesspeople in this outer East Portland community.

At the meeting, Ashton began by asking those attending what they valued most about Portland–and why. The answers ranged from the climate and the people, to diversity of geography, individuals and businesses. “People are warm and friendly,” one member said.

Others said Portland is a “clean-looking city”; it has a “small town feeling” and good schools; “if a neighborhood goes down, people work to build it up again”.

When one member said he likes the parks and green spaces in Portland, Ashton asked how many others felt that way. About three-fourths of the crowd raised hands in agreement.

Immediate changes requested
His next question sought their wishes for changes in Portland.

Cleaner rivers were mentioned first, along with lower prices for gasoline. More support for schools and more light rail and other modes of transportation followed, then training for city and county officials ‚Äì “they don’t seem to have much business experience.”

One man urged “no more taxes or fees” without approval in an election; another called for more jail space to hold lawbreakers.

Ashton then asked what Portland should “be like, if all our hopes and dreams come true, in 20 years”.

Less traffic congestion, and lower pollution of streams, were among the answers. Others said that when “government asks for a new program, revenue sources are specifically identified.” Others demanded zero-based budgets; “no fat children”, lower crime, shutting down drug trafficking, and less prostitution.

Several members agreed that sounder economic development programs should be in place.

Action steps
The climax of the session came when Ashton elicited the most important steps that needed to be taken to reach the lofty dreams put forth for the city.

Less crowding of housing, and more space between houses, were the first items mentioned. A “fairer tax system” and “election of business operators to public office instead of politicos” were urged. So was accountability for city officials.

In closing, members were invited to tell others they knew, that they can also participate in “visionPDX” by going online to www.apnba.com, and following the link to the on-line questionnaire.

On their way out, members of the business association made it clear that they were pleased their answers to these vital questions would be included in the mayor’s vision plan.

¬© 2006 ‚Äì East PDX News

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Read this article and learn how one business association is participating in Mayor Tom Potter’s visionPDX program; and why you should, also ‚Ķ

Jean Baker and David Ashton “pick the brains” of business people as part of the mayor’s visionPDX process, discovering the values and desires of business people in the Gateway Area

Story by Watford Reed; photos by Frank Ryan
Answers poured out, when members of the Gateway Area Business Association were asked to tell what they think of Portland, and what they’d like to see changed.

David F. Ashton, a local newsman and communications consultant, was the facilitator of this “visionPDX” session, co-hosted by Jean Baker, vice president of the Alliance of Neighborhood Business Associations and president of Division-Clinton Business Association. Because of Baker’s diligent efforts, Ashton said, businesspeople had the opportunity to participate in this city-wide program.

Ashton asked participants to keep their “druthers” short, and registered about 40 of them as he, and Jean Baker, solicited views from businesspeople in this outer East Portland community.

At the meeting, Ashton began by asking those attending what they valued most about Portland–and why. The answers ranged from the climate and the people, to diversity of geography, individuals and businesses. “People are warm and friendly,” one member said.

Others said Portland is a “clean-looking city”; it has a “small town feeling” and good schools; “if a neighborhood goes down, people work to build it up again”.

When one member said he likes the parks and green spaces in Portland, Ashton asked how many others felt that way. About three-fourths of the crowd raised hands in agreement.

Immediate changes requested
His next question sought their wishes for changes in Portland.

Cleaner rivers were mentioned first, along with lower prices for gasoline. More support for schools and more light rail and other modes of transportation followed, then training for city and county officials ‚Äì “they don’t seem to have much business experience.”

One man urged “no more taxes or fees” without approval in an election; another called for more jail space to hold lawbreakers.

Ashton then asked what Portland should “be like, if all our hopes and dreams come true, in 20 years”.

Less traffic congestion, and lower pollution of streams, were among the answers. Others said that when “government asks for a new program, revenue sources are specifically identified.” Others demanded zero-based budgets; “no fat children”, lower crime, shutting down drug trafficking, and less prostitution.

Several members agreed that sounder economic development programs should be in place.

Action steps
The climax of the session came when Ashton elicited the most important steps that needed to be taken to reach the lofty dreams put forth for the city.

Less crowding of housing, and more space between houses, were the first items mentioned. A “fairer tax system” and “election of business operators to public office instead of politicos” were urged. So was accountability for city officials.

In closing, members were invited to tell others they knew, that they can also participate in “visionPDX” by going online to www.apnba.com, and following the link to the on-line questionnaire.

On their way out, members of the business association made it clear that they were pleased their answers to these vital questions would be included in the mayor’s vision plan.

¬© 2006 ‚Äì East PDX News

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UPDATE: Learn about the “Stark Street Stroll” on August 8 — See why volunteers installed new benches and planters to invite the harried to relax and enjoy the merchants and restaurants in Montavilla ‚Ķ

One of the teams installing benches and barrel planters in the revitalizing downtown Montavilla area are Maria Sworske, Sandra McDaniel, Jennifer Tamayo, Sarah Selden.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When Montavilla was incorporated 100 years ago, it was a bastion of civilization as one headed out ot town east of Mt. Tabor. Stark Street was one of the heavily-traveled roads which connected the city with the countryside.

But, in the past few decades, drivers went whizzing west on Stark on their way to downtown ignored the businesses that made up a once-thriving community.

One by one, the stores began to close. The movie theater shut down, and became a printing plant for a weekly shopper.

Revitalizing Montavilla
Last year, several merchants got together and formed the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. Their goal is to buff up this century-old neighborhood business district.

They’re not working alone; they’ve recruited the neighborhood association to help.

On July 8, we caught up with Jennifer Tamayo, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. “Today we partnering with the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. We’re installing four benches and eight whiskey barrel planters. We’re provide the man-power; they purchased all of the materials.”

Eight volunteers worked on the improvement project that morning.

“The idea is to create a better community on SE Stark St. When it looks better, and more inviting, we feel it will make people ‚Äì both shoppers and potential merchants ‚Äì stop and really consider all the potential of our area,” Tamayo said.

So, next time you’re about to head from the Mall 205 area up over the hill–drive a bit more slowly, and take a look. You’ll see these volunteers are making a visible difference.

UPDATE: “Stark Street Stroll”
The neighborhood will be alive with fun, sidewalk sales and activities on Saturday, August 5. Be sure to stop by and be part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Montavilla.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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UPDATE: Learn about the “Stark Street Stroll” on August 8 — See why volunteers installed new benches and planters to invite the harried to relax and enjoy the merchants and restaurants in Montavilla ‚Ķ

One of the teams installing benches and barrel planters in the revitalizing downtown Montavilla area are Maria Sworske, Sandra McDaniel, Jennifer Tamayo, Sarah Selden.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When Montavilla was incorporated 100 years ago, it was a bastion of civilization as one headed out ot town east of Mt. Tabor. Stark Street was one of the heavily-traveled roads which connected the city with the countryside.

But, in the past few decades, drivers went whizzing west on Stark on their way to downtown ignored the businesses that made up a once-thriving community.

One by one, the stores began to close. The movie theater shut down, and became a printing plant for a weekly shopper.

Revitalizing Montavilla
Last year, several merchants got together and formed the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. Their goal is to buff up this century-old neighborhood business district.

They’re not working alone; they’ve recruited the neighborhood association to help.

On July 8, we caught up with Jennifer Tamayo, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. “Today we partnering with the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. We’re installing four benches and eight whiskey barrel planters. We’re provide the man-power; they purchased all of the materials.”

Eight volunteers worked on the improvement project that morning.

“The idea is to create a better community on SE Stark St. When it looks better, and more inviting, we feel it will make people ‚Äì both shoppers and potential merchants ‚Äì stop and really consider all the potential of our area,” Tamayo said.

So, next time you’re about to head from the Mall 205 area up over the hill–drive a bit more slowly, and take a look. You’ll see these volunteers are making a visible difference.

UPDATE: “Stark Street Stroll”
The neighborhood will be alive with fun, sidewalk sales and activities on Saturday, August 5. Be sure to stop by and be part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Montavilla.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

Please share with a friend

See photos of East Portland Chamber of Commerce members having fun, while they support a fellow Chamber member at their “BBQ-4-Bob” ‚Ķ

Holly Moss, Richard Kiely and Julia Farman ‚Äì the organizers of the BBQ-4-Bob event ‚Äì pause, after receiving a warm round of applause for their efforts. See the “Photo Album” below ‚Ķ

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Through hard work, Bob Hodges and Margaret Erikson took a building that was once a bank branch, then a failed teen club, and turned it into a first-class destination for both barbecue and blues music.

The great tastes and sounds we’re writing about are in Parkrose, at Beale Street NW, 10721 NE Sandy Blvd. (just east of Parkrose Hardware).

Even more, Bob and Margaret opened their hearts, and restaurant by organizing one of the most-successful-ever hurricane Katrina relief efforts, benefiting NW Medical teams.

When Bob became ill, and was in the hospital for weeks undergoing major surgery, his friends from the East Portland Chamber of Commerce threw a BBQ & Blues for Bob event on June 29.

Richard “When it comes to printing, if its somewhere in the ballpark, it’s not a home run” Kiely, of Home Run Graphics–the event’s chief organizer–said, “I felt the urge to help Bob and Margaret. So, with help from our Chamber friends, we put on the party.”

In all, the event raised $3,425 ‚Äì and boosted Bob’s spirits.

Photo Album
Take a look at the fun this Chamber group had while supporting their friend!

It wasn’t all “giving”. Guests at Beal St. NW also “got” their fill of the finest barbecue in the Pacific Northwest ‚Äì from ribs, to sausage, to chicken and brisket ‚Äì they dined on meat so good it didn’t need sauce (but the sauce was great!). The “fixins” included their famous corn bread muffins, corn-on-the-cob, salads, and more.

A separate raffle held at the event was for a Fender Stratocaster Guitar, supplied and donated by the event’s main sponsor, Home Run Graphics. The lucky winner, Holly Moss (of The Bookkeeping Company), donated the fine musical instrument to Richard Kiely. Holly has a beautiful singing voice; guess she didn’t want learn to play an “ax”!  Richard was thrilled.

Prize packages galore! Participants were treated to nine big bundles of joy, each of which included restaurant coupons, candies, and an unusual battery-operated device.

Sandra (of The Bookkeeping Company) won the dream vacation lodging package supplied by Frank Ryan from NW Senior News.

In all, more than 120 people came to the party/fund-raiser and enjoyed food, fun and music.

Richard presents Margaret and Bob with a check for the proceeds of the event at a recient East Portland Chamber of Commerce “Good Morning East Portland” event.

Learn more
You can find out more about the this group by checking out their web site at www.eastportlandchamber.com.

¬©  2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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