Business association provides treats to summer readers at Midland Library, and deals with business issues

What does the Midway Business Association have to do with “Reptile-Man”, ice cream treats, and a lawyer? Take a look at this 3-in-1 story (with great photos) and find out …

At the Midland Library, the Oregon Reptile Man – Richard Ritchey – shows his alligator, which he says can tell if kids have been good – or bad. This young man one was deemed by the ‘gator to be “good”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The small-but-growing Midway Business Association, a group of business people in southern outer East Portland, does more than just promote their own enterprises – they also promote goodwill in the community.

For example, to support the summer reading program at Midland Library, they hosted an ice cream social, following an appearance by Oregon’s Reptile Man at the library.

You’ll learn more about the Midway Business Association later in this story. But first, Oregon’s Reptile Man …

Richard Ritchey’s Puff Adder takes a strike at him during the show.

Ritchey’s reptiles captivate kids
The reptiles Richard Ritchey brings to Midland Library are more than toads and tadpoles. They include rattlesnakes, a King Cobra, and a pet alligator that “pets” good little boys.

More than just showing off his pets, Ritchey tells the captivated kids about the reptiles, where they live, and how they behave in the wild.

“This snake gives birth to live babies – each is capable of killing prey on its first day in the world,” says Ritchey. “He’s very calm today.”

The snake coils and lunges for Ritchey. “That was a false strike. He had no intention of striking me – he just wanted to scare me. He did; he’s going back in his condo.”

We could clearly hear the rattle of his Western Diamondback before we could see the snake.

“Hear the rattle?” Ritchey asks before he carefully brings his Western Diamondback rattlesnake out of its box. “It senses heat. Over 1,000 people are bitten by rattlesnakes each year. Only two out of ten were ‘accidental’ bites; the other eight people bitten were trying to kill or capture the snake. If you see a snake, don’t run. Just turn around and walk away.”

Ritchey invites his young audience members to come pet his python. Surprisingly, many take him up on his offer.

Midway Business Association sponsors ice Cream Social

Talay and Lavonne Larson are two of a hundred kids (and adults) served ice cream by Midway Business Association’s Donna Dionne and other association members.

After Reptile Man’s program, Midway Business Association’s President, Donna Dionne, and treasurer, Tammy Williams, handed out ice cream cups in Midland Library’s lobby.

“More than operating businesses in the community,” says Dionne, “we want to actively help support our area. That’s why we volunteer to help with the library’s summer program and other area events.”

Free legal advice dispensed at Midway Business Association

Lawyer Scott Nielson helps business people get a better understanding of laws passed in Salem, and how it affects their businesses.

But, when not handing out ice cream at the library, the Midway Business Association gives a “voice” to people running businesses in the southern portion of outer East Portland.

What do they do at their monthly meetings?

For example, at the last meeting before summer vacation, members got their usual update of happenings at regional meetings and events. And, they heard from a guest speaker who spoke about how legislation and litigation affect business people in the area.

The guest speaker, Scott Nielson J.D., Attorney at Law, started by commending the organization for how effectively they’ve communicated their needs to city and county representatives.

Turning to the past state legislative session, Nielson covered the expansion of the Oregon Bottle Bill; and how legislators hotly debated the meaning of “bottled water”.

He told how those who purchase scrap metals must now start keeping accurate records of those from whom they buy; he went on to explain the implications of price increase limitations put on businesses, if a natural disaster causes an “abnormal disruption of the market” as certified by the Governor; and he related the new penalties in store for business owners who – even inadvertently, because of a computer security breach – disclose customer information.

Turning to personnel matters, Nielson covered new regulations that allow mothers to breastfeed on the job. He went on to tell how “family leave” now even extends to the care of grandparents, parents, and grandchildren – not simply direct family members. He also pointed out new regulations that require accommodation of workers’ religious garb and celebrations.

Nielson also answered questions on issues ranging from elder law to contracts.

Accounting to be demystified at next meeting
On Tuesday, September 11, come and meet with the members of the Midway Business Association.

Kevin Minkoff, CPA, will share the latest IRS rules, and give practical tips on how to tune up your bookkeeping procedures. Kevin – “not your ordinary bean-counter” – always gives an upbeat, lively, and informative presentation.

Visitors ARE welcome, and the presentation is free (but you must pay for your own lunch). Their 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

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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