‘Avenue of Roses’ celebrates its first holiday season

You’ll never guess who the surprise carol-leader was at the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Assn. Holiday get-together! And, you’ll see why many folks along the avenue say they have much to celebrate …

Entertaining guests at the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Assn. Holiday Party is Frank Ryan, NW Senior & Boomer News. Frank’s singing a holiday song he composed, “A Valley Christmas”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The table filled with deli roll-ups, fresh fruits, and baked treats, made the classroom at Portland Community College Southeast Center seem festive as members and guests of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Assn. met for a Holiday Party on December 18.

The association’s president, Ken Turner of Eastport Plaza, recounts the year’s successes along the avenue.

With plates filled and beverage cups brimming with coffee or fruit juice, folks sat down as association’s president, Ken Turner, spoke of the year’s highlights along the “Avenue of Roses.”

“Our first parade was a success,” began Turner. “There were doubters; and I was one of them, who doubted for a while as we went through the process of getting all the permits for the parade. But, on parade day, it didn’t rain, and we had a great turnout from participants and neighbors.”

Turner said some of the comments he heard from neighbors was revealing. “A man smiled and told me, ‘We’re watching history being made on 82nd Avenue’, This is something we can all be proud of.”

The upcoming 2008 edition of the parade already has secured one title sponsor, Eastport Plaza. “But, we need additional funds to cover the costs of putting on the parade. We’d welcome another title sponsor, and other support.”

It was also revealed that 2008’s parade will feature a major band, thanks to Richard and Gail Kiely of Homerun Graphics. Gail, we learned, is a founding member unauthorized rebel offshoot of the “One More Time Around Band” – the “Get a Life Marching Band”.

Nancy Chapin of The Support Group expressively reads the timeless holiday tale “The Night before Christmas”.

Nan Poppie, director of Portland Community College SE Center, tells the group about the school’s expansion plans.

SE Center celebrates fourth year
Nan Poppe, Ed.D., president of Portland Community College’s Southeast Center, at SE 82nd Avenue of Roses at SE Division, told the group, “This is a special time for us – it will be the four-year anniversary since we moved into our new educational center. I hope that you agree with us that this $25 million investment was worth it.”

Poppe informed the group that the campus serves 10,000 students per year, and launched into pitch for passing a proposed bond to benefit the Southeast Center.

“The bond would respond to two primary needs,” Poppe explained. “A library and science labs.”

She also said the campus needs a “flexible building to bring more technical programs out here. In fact, we’re looking to lease a facility to teach welding until we can build a building. There is a tremendous need for welders in Portland.”

Additionally, Poppe told the group the college hopes to gain funding to build a small auditorium. “We love being a community partner, and want to have community events. A 150-seat auditorium would facilitate working with community groups.”

East Portland Chamber of Commerce’s incoming president, Rich Sorem, of Stewart and Tunno Insurance, announces the 2008 Avenue parade plans.

Chamber floats parade plan
Rich Sorem, the 2008 president of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce told the group, “Look for us; we’ll have float in the Avenue of Roses Parade next year. I’m looking forward to that.”

Overall, Sorem stated, a goal for the chamber’s board and membership is to “reach out to all organizations and find common goals to build a consensus and have a large voice at city hall regarding issues we all find important.”

Both of them feigning surprise at the encounter, Ken Turner welcomes Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams to the holiday gathering.

Commissioner Sam greets gathering
Walking into the gathering, almost on cue, was Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams.

Portland is a city of small neighborhood businesses, Adams reminded the group. “84% of businesses that exist in our city employ 10 or fewer employees. We are a city of entrepreneurs.”

Adams pointed out how, by business groups working with City Hall, 2007 featured three milestones: A grant to support the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations, the city’s first ever; a reduction in business taxes for small businesses; and changing the city’s tax structure to encourage venture capital firms to move into the Portland area.

“No doubt about it,” Adams added, “we have a lot of work to do to continue to make Portland a place where entrepreneurs and small business folks can thrive. We’ve shown ourselves what is possible. As we look to a new year, we recommit ourselves to the mission of the success neighborhood businesses in the City of Portland.

Before leading the group in song Commissioner Sam Adams thanked members of the association for their efforts to enhance the image of 82nd Avenue.

“I’m thankful to have great business associations, such as yours, working at making this city a better place each and every day. On behalf of Mayor Tom Potter, and the City Council, thank you for the work you do, and your volunteerism. Next year will be even better.”

At the meeting’s conclusion, Nancy Chapin and Sam Adams led the group in singing the timeless holiday song, “White Christmas”. All this, and the commissioner sings well, too …

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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