East Portland business groups ring in Holiday season

If you didn’t get to the celebrations of the Gateway Area Business Association or Midway Business Association, see how they welcomed the Holiday season …

Members of the Gateway Area Business Association Party meet for an evening Holiday party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Held four days apart, Holiday celebrations at both Gateway and Midway offered the members of both business associations a chance to meet and mingle, nosh, recall activities of the past year – and reveal their plans for 2016.

Gateway Area Business Association Party

Host Fred Sanchez of Realty Brokers interacts with guests at the GABA Holiday Party.

During the late afternoon and evening hours of December 4, members of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) meet at an office space hosted by Realty Brokers in 111th Square.

Guests were treated to finger sandwiches, a relish plate, and sweet treats, along with hot cider and wine.

Incoming GABA President Paul Wild from Mt. Hood Community College greets outgoing President David Panichello.

After serving as GABA President for two years, outgoing President David Panichello of Opti-Con Inc. reflected on his service. “Having been in business here in outer East Portland for 30 years, I can tell you that the area needs all the help it can get.

“I’ve used my voice, thinking that if I could make even one small bit of a positive difference in the community or in the business area, I’ve met my goal,” Panichello told East Portland News.

“I think I’ve been successful in a couple of areas – the most, serving on governmental committees, and then also doing my best to represent the people and businesses in our area – instead of just giving all of their programs a ‘rubber-stamp of approval’.”

Members of the Portland Police Bureau came by to wish everyone well, as the fête continued.

Adding to the ambiance with his keyboard song styling is GABA’s professional musician, Gordon Neal Herman.

Incoming GABA President Paul Wild, of Mt. Hood Community College’s Workforce Training group, talked about his aspirations for the club during 2016.

“First, we’re being supported by with a pilot project, in collaboration with Venture Portland,” Wild said. “They are providing us with an organizer, Adrian Sweetwater, to help GABA grow. She will help us increase the number of volunteer hours of members into our projects”.

GABA’s new organizer, by way of Venture Portland, is Adrian Sweetwater – here, getting to know Portland Police Officer Clark, Officer Stutevoss, and Sgt. Ryan Bren.

Coming in 2016 will be additional events, Wild said. “We’re looking at adding some breakfast and evening evenings to our schedule. Some of the events will be dedicated to social networking. I think the values GABA is encouraging include ‘buying local’; another is putting on presentations, and sharing expertise.”

Midway Business Association Gathering

Folks at the Midway Business Association Holiday Gathering watch a presentation about the organization’s activities.

On December 8, members and guests of the Midway Business Association (MBA) gathered at noon for a Holiday-themed monthly meeting at Pizza Baron.

When Bill Dayton and his crew brought out the huge “Pizza Baron Bonanza” and Chicken with White Garlic Sauce pizzas, the round of self-introductions halted as attendees helped themselves to sizzling slices of the pies.

Looking back on the year, MBA President Dr. David Day, DC said he’ll continue his role with the organization in the New Year.

Dr. David Day tells about plans the organization is making for 2016.

“During this year we had several speakers that were riveting,” Day reflected. “They told about the many changes coming to SE Division Street, and other major streets in the area. We learned from our speakers about business technology, heard from politicians and a judge, and also learned about fun subjects like Tai Chi and geology.”

MBA has several projects in motion for 2016, Day told East Portland News. “Several of these are projects involve increased outreach into the community. We are trying to get our neighbors involved in activities like the Division Midway Alliances Festival of Nations to create events that our diverse neighborhood can come to, and enjoy.”

Many guests go home with great door prizes – such as this Crockpot cooker.

Day declined to give specific details about other projects on which the MBA is working, saying they are in the nascent stages.

The time that he dedicates to the MBA is worth it, Day remarked, even though he operates a full-time chiropractic practice in the neighborhood.

“There a lot of changes happening in this area,” Day observed. “We want to make sure that we’re focused on growth, and stay focused on the needs of the people who are moving into the area.”

Members and guests of the MBA raise a “glass of cheer” to toast the Holiday season.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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