Eastside Chamber celebrates 10th anniversary

Look, as the East Portland Chamber of Commerce members commemorate their first decade, and ponder the future of the organization …

Braving icy roads, many people make their way to a special breakfast meeting – at which the 10th anniversary of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce is celebrated.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
To many of the charter members of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce (EPCC), it seemed like “only yesterday” that the group gathered in a bank’s lobby in late 2003 to celebrate becoming an independent organization.

Many members and guests braved icy roads and sub-freezing temperatures on the morning of December 11 to attend a special EPCC breakfast meeting in the banquet room of Colwood National Golf Course.

Along with about fifty others at the breakfast meeting, attorney Jim Losk, of Maylie Grayson Attorneys At Law, looks as happy as he serves himself a hot breakfast at the event.

Co-MC of the event Holly Moss, of The Bookkeeping Company, starts off the program

… along with jovial co-MC Kevin “Not your ordinary bean-counter” Minkoff, CPA.

Guest speaker Oregon State District 23 Senator Michael Dembrow (D) introduced himself by saying he was new to the job of being a State Senator. “Yes, three weeks ago, I took that long lonely walk from the one side of the Capitol building to the other.”

In some detail, Dembrow described how he was appointed State Senator for District 23, replacing Jackie Dingfelder, and the area he serves in Southeast and  Northeast Portland and the City of Maywood Park.

Oregon State District 23 Senator Michael Dembrow (D) speaks at the EPCC Anniversary Breakfast.

“The challenge of moving from the House to the Senate, is that I’ll get to know a lot more people, and more parts of the outer East Portland,” Dembrow exclaimed. “My district is a very diverse district.

Also a Portland Community College instructor, he commented that he helps build the East Portland workforce, as well as offers “direct service to business, to give them the tools that they can have it to succeed.”

The novice senator lauded the EPCC for using “the expertise of the veteran members – the knowledge and expertise and caring to help welcome the new businesses and to let them know that the struggles of today will pay off for them and their families.”

Judith Huck, owner of Classique Floors, accepts the EPCC “Shining Star Award” from Holly Moss.

After being presented with the EPCC “Shining Star” Award, Classique Floors owner Judith Huck – an original member of their Board of Directors – recalled the organization’s history.

“Those who started this Chamber were a great group of people, who really wanted to help out East Portland and gain an identity,” Huck began. “It did not have an identity. For many small businesses, was ‘someplace’ between Gresham and Portland. Through the Chamber, we worked to create an identity.”

Telling the story of EPCC is original Board member Judith Huck.

Huck recalled how, in 2003, in East Portland Chamber of Commerce was a committee of the Gresham Chamber of Commerce.  With the Gresham Chamber support, some members of this committee started holding their own meetings separate from the Gresham Chamber.

“I remember moving from the committee situation to the standalone situation. There are a lot of discussions, a lot of back and forth, and a lot of responsibility to be taken on by those founding Board members.

“Breaking off from the large Chamber was a little scary,” Huck related. “However the group held fast to the idea of creating an organization for us; representing our unique interests, and that would offer them an opportunity to work on East Portland concerns.”

Attendees listen – and many newer members learn how, and why, this Chamber of Commerce was started.

Huck talked about long-standing events, such as the “Turkey Bowl”, golf tournaments, and talent shows. “It was all kinds of these events that have brought people together here. And we’re grateful that David Ashton has been there to record all.”

It takes work and commitment to operate a volunteer organization,” Huck stated. “I commend the current and future Boards for all that they do. Congratulations to the Chamber for still being here. Let’s have a great 2014!”

EPCC President Sarah Garrison of Garrison Marketing Solutions invited Committee Chairs to come up, one by one; and honored volunteers who helped out during the year.

Brent Mason of GoLocalNW, Inc. shows the award that documents that he’s the EPCC “Volunteer of the Year”.

Finally, after the drawing for raffle prizes, the group thinned out, heading out into the blustery winter weather.

And, from East Portland News, congratulations to the East Portland Chamber of Commerce for giving ten years of service as the “Voice of East Portland”.

Here’s the 2014 East Portland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors: Sarah Garrison, Garrison Marketing Solutionsn; Adam Lee, Adventist Medical Center; Sara Fisher, Human Solutions; Stephen Backstrom, US Bank; Brent Mason, Go Local NW; Christopher Schloe, Edible Arrangements; Deborah Higa, Community Works Project; Leslie Newberry, John L Scott; Crismon Lewis, Reliv; Holly Moss, The Bookkeeping Company; and (Not Pictured) Xochil Springer, UCP Employment Solutions.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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