Eastside party celebrates Portland business districts

Business associations were well represented at the gathering. Take a look, and see each was happy about the support they’d received from their host …

Venture Portland’s Adrianne Sweetwater and Foster Area Business Association President, Matthew Micetic, check guests in at the “Celebrate Our City” party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Venture Portland (formerly known as APNBA), now funded by the Portland Development Commission, celebrated its third decade of building the capacity of neighborhood business associations and providing technical assistance to them, at a “Celebrate Our City” party at the Melody Ballroom in inner southeast Portland on the evening of February 4.

“This is our organization’s 30th anniversary party,” smiled Venture Portland Board President Brian Alfano, of Unitus Community Credit Union, as the shindig began.

Venture Portland Board President Brian Alfano says, “Small business is a big thing in Portland.”

“It started out as the APNBA, the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations,” Alfano said. “Since we rebranded the organization, we hope it resonates with more Portlanders, and rolls off the tongue more easily. We serve 50 unique neighborhood business districts across the city, in which there are 19,200 businesses that provide 267,000 jobs.”

After a toast by Venture Portland Board President Brian Alfano, Portland neighborhood business district leaders raise their glasses to the organization’s continued success.

“In Portland, ‘small business’ is really a big thing; it’s where ideas and innovations come from,” Alfano added.

Board members of both the Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement and Midway Business Association gather for a group photo.

Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement District Manager Lori Boisen and Board President Lorelei Young of Keepsake Family Tree Video agree that Venture Portland programs help bring together neighborhoods and business districts.

Venture Portland is very important to our organization,” remarked Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement District Manager Lori Boisen.

“Here’s why: They serve as a catalyst for, and a bridge among, all neighborhood business associations,” explained Boisen. “Their staff and services provide continuity of services, and also create the feeling that we’re working in this together.”

Venture Portland helps volunteers better run associations, asserts Midway Business Association President Dr. David Day, DC.

“Day-to-day, most of my attention is focused on my chiropractic practice,” said Midway Business Association President Dr. David Day.

“Because of this, Venture Portland provides a valuable resource to our association,” Day commented. “For example, from them, we’re learning how to rally other business owners in our area, to address issues of concern. And, they’re helping us discover ways by which we can grow our organization.”

Neighborhood Business District leaders from across the city gather to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Venture Portland.

Parkrose Business Association Treasurer William Keller CPA, President Angie Jenkins, Vice President Cathy Morris, Board Member Alison Stoll, and past President Wayne Stoll, gather for this joyful photo.

“One of the unique roles of Venture Portland has for the Parkrose Business Association is that it’s gotten us a lot more recognition from the city,” said PBA Board Member Alison Stoll and Director of Central Northeast Neighbors coalition.

“This is important, because there are a lot of issues faced by small business owners, including things such as taxes and permits,” Stoll said. “This organization has been able to help small business owners have ‘a voice’ in city government.”

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association President Richard Kiely engage in a spirited conversation at the celebration.

“With the new funding that was been brought to us by Venture Portland, we’ve been able to increase our marketing,” commented 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association President Richard Kiely of Home Run Graphics.

“This support also provides some additional staffing to help with our outreach events, such as our signature event, the 10th Annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, this year coming up on April 30,” Kiely grinned.

He said the resulting increased support is also helping them hold their first-ever “Food Industry Mixer”, bringing together owners and managers of restaurants, markets, pubs, and coffee shops, along the Avenue of Roses.

Representing the Gateway Area Business Association are Board Member Nidal Kahl, incoming President Paul Wild, and outgoing President David Panichello.

Gateway Area Business Association President Paul Wild, who works professionally with the Mt. Hood Community College Contract Training group, said he values the educational opportunities offered by Venture Portland.

“Their programs have been great,” Wild said. “They focus on a lot of practical applications that help us prepare our association for growth.

“And, there is a lot of sharing of ‘best practices’ across all of the different associations,” Wild added. “It’s based on the idea that each association does something particularly well, and we get to learn from one another.”

Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative AmeriCorps VISTA Economic Opportunity Coordinator Kate Coenen, Parkrose neighbor Chris Fryefield, and Director Dr. Mingus Mapps, enjoy the Venture Portland anniversary celebration.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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