GABA salutes ‘First Responders’; honors Superintendent Grotting

Take a look at all that went on, when the Gateway Area Business Association met in September …

The Fourth-place winner of the 2014 Portland Teen Idol competition, Jesse Rosario, sings the National Anthem to start the September Gateway Area Business Association meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At the monthly meeting of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) at noon at the East Portland Community Center on September 11, the membership learned more about the “Portland Plan” update, honored “Emergency First Responders”, and unveiled David Douglas School District Superintendent Don Grotting as their “Person of the Year”.

GABA President Fred Sanchez of Realty Brokers welcomes members and guests to their special September meeting.

Now a tradition for several years, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, a previous “Gateway Citizen of the Year”, as usual again loses an arm wrestling competition to one of the Gateway Keystone Kops.

When Portland Police Bureau Assistant Chief Michael Crebs, formerly an East Precinct Commander, “inspects” the Keystone Kops, hilarity ensues.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz spoke briefly, commenting that she was not in office on September 11, 2001 when the terrorist attacks took place. “I remember sending my children off to school feeling that they would be safe there.

“But, every year on the anniversary, I remember the sacrifices of the men and women in the different locations, who dealt with the tragedy caused on this day,” Fritz said.

“Let’s remember there are people, right here at community, who need our ongoing help at some time,” Fritz told the assembly. “That’s the spirit we need to keep, as we move forward from our remembrance of this day.”

With that, Commissioner Fritz and Fred Sanchez asked representatives from Portland’s First Responder agencies to step up to the podium.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Fred Sanchez presents Portland Police Bureau Assistant Chief Michael Crebs holding a “GABA First Responder Tribute” plaque, which he accepts for his Bureau.

On behalf of his Bureau, Portland Fire & Rescue Lieutenant Pete Valentine accepts a “GABA First Responder Tribute” plaque from Commissioner Fritz and Fred Sanchez.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brian White receives a “GABA First Responder Tribute” plaque from Commissioner Fritz and Fred Sanchez.

Then, the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability Senior Planner, Christina Scarzello, gave a brief presentation of the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update.

“Everyone should take, at least, a cursory look at the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update,” Scarzello advised. “It is especially important for people own businesses and business properties along the main corridors.”

Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability Senior Planner Christina Scarzello encourages GABA members to participate in the Portland Comprehensive Plan Update.

She talked about how neighbors and business people can easily give testimony about potential property zoning changes by using their line “Map App”. [CLICK HERE to bring up their official website and application.]

“And, take a look at the Gateway Plan District,” Scarzello added. “This would be a great opportunity for you to get involved. We will need feedback regarding this process.”

GABA Vice President David Panichello of OptiCon contributes to the David Douglas Shoe Drive.

Fred Sanchez then turned to the introduction of the recipient of the 2014 Gateway Citizen of the Year annual award.

“The person or organization presented with this award is recognized for dedication to the community – advancing its commercial, financial, safety, and civic interests. They meet and cooperate with governmental agencies with concern to business, and support neighborhood associations and groups. They are outstanding supporters of Gateway Area Business Association.

With that, Sanchez got a lot more specific, and asked David Douglas School District Superintendent Don Grotting to come forward to be honored as the “Gateway Citizen of the Year”.

When asked for gift suggestions – some kind of personal memento – Sanchez said he was told that Grotting would most appreciate contributions for the David Douglas “Shoes for Students Campaign”. “Rather than engraved clock or something personal, everyone said that Don Grotting would want something for his students. Such an attitude typifies the Superintendent’s caring character.”

So, as an organization, GABA came on board by collecting more than $2,000 in donations of cash and gift cards. “We want to send the Superintendent back to the School District with even more money for shoes – so let’s take up a collection,” Sanchez suggested.

Fred Sanchez presents “Gateway Citizen of the Year” Don Grotting and David Douglas School District School Board Chair Frieda Christopher with a really big check for their “Shoes for Students Campaign”.

GABA Vice President David Panichello was the first to donate, when the Keystone Kops passed the hat. In total, GABA donated $2,235, just from the members at the meeting.

Learn more about GABA by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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