Mayor praises and encourages businesspeople at annual gathering

See what Mayor Sam Adams, and Commissioner Amanda Fritz, had to say, when they visited the annual luncheon of the Midway Business Association. And, find out to whom they gave special honors at this meeting …

Lyle Boisen, with Advertise in the Bag, checks into the annual Midway Business Association luncheon with the association’s secretary, David Edwards of David Edwards Insurance.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Every year, the Midway Business Association (MBA) hosts a luncheon to which business owners and managers are invited to mix and mingle over pop and pizza.

Members, guests, and visitors, were joined by City officials at the June 14 event attended by more than 45 people at outer SE Portland’s Pizza Baron Restaurant.

Longstanding MBA member Dr. David Day, Day Chiropractic, is delighted with the pizza he’s being served by Portland Mayor Sam Adams – as Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz awaits her slices.

Folks at the MBA luncheon have the opportunity to greet friends, and meet new people as they sit at long tables, and nosh on pizza.

After a brief greeting by MBA president Bill Dayton, host of the event at Pizza Baron, Portland Mayor Sam Adams made brief remarks.

“We’re in our worst recession in 70 years,” Mayor Adams began. “And, we know that small businesses need the public/private partnership like never before. That’s why this [Portland] City Counsel has, in the past year, increased the general fund one-time resources for programs like helping small businesses with loans.”

Mayor Sam Adams tells how City programs can help small businesses grow, even in a “down” economy.

Adams pointed to support from the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations (APNBA), which provided grant funds to support the event, and which can help business associations grow and become better organized.

“This is leading up to fulfilling the potential of the Main Street Program we started two years ago. We have about $300 million in loans out from the Portland Development Commission – most of those out to small and fairly small businesses, because we know that access to credit is tough.”

There are still many unmet needs in both the business and neighborhood communities, Adams acknowledged. “In this part of town, we need to increase the ‘basics’ like sidewalks, and safe intersections. We recently got about $18 million to improve sidewalks; half of that is going to the areas east of 82nd Avenue. We’re doing what we can, even in these tough times, to support you. Not only do we do it because we like you, and you deserve it – but because outer East Portland is the ‘backbone’, and hip bone, and spine – of our City’s economy.”

Because the majority of Portland firms are classified as “micro-businesses”, companies here are impacted more by recessions, Adams says.

Turning to small businesses, Adams pointed out that 80% of Portlanders work at firms that have 10 or fewer employees. “The federal government defines a ‘small business’ as 50 or less employees. We have the highest percentage of people, in the United States, working in what they call ‘micro-businesses’ of 10 or less employees. That’s great for us, because that is a source of creative innovation – like the delicious chicken garlic pizza served by Pizza Baron here today – perhaps some of the best pizza in Portland.”

However, the high number of micro-businesses in Portland also makes the City more vulnerable to national recessions, the mayor conceded. “So, we recently, a month ago, passed the city’s first neighborhood economic development strategy, with increased targeted support to build complete neighborhoods in every part of town – and that starts with helping small businesses.”

Adams concluded, “It is an honor to serve you as Mayor.  It’s great to be the mayor of a City where this kind of partnership happens. And, I look forward to seeing you next year with better economic news.”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz says she’s wearing a Marshall High School T-shirt to mark the school’s closing.

Dayton then introduced Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who began, “I am so honored to be here. We are elected City-wide [as Commissioners]. So, every one of the five people, your City Commissioners and your Mayor, care about what happens here in outer East Portland.”

Pointing out that she was wearing a Marshall High School shirt under her jacket, Fritz that her son had been a teacher at the school for two years.

“Today is his last day there today; I’m wearing this shirt because of that. It”s been really interesting and informative. I wish we started the Office of Equity, which we’re currently forming at the City, earlier. If it had been in place, and ‘equity’ would have been part of the discussions, Marshall High would not have been closing, I believe.”

Fritz says, because of the citizens of outer East Portland, she feels part of the neighborhood.

“I’m glad to be here and be part of this community,” Fritz continued. “My parents live at Cherrywood Village, so I am here often.  And I’m in charge of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), so all neighborhoods are my neighborhood – but this neighborhood is special. Thank you for inviting me, and for what you do for this community.”

Bill Dayton presents a plaque to Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Bill Walker, commemorating his impending retirement from the Bureau after serving the area for nearly 30 years.

Then, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Bill Walker was surprised to be called up front by Bill Dayton, who honored him with a plaque thanking him for his service to the community.

Observing that he’ll be leaving the force in mid July, Walker told the group, “It’s been a very quick two years, back in the precinct as Commander – I came back to outer east Portland as a Captain and am leaving as the Commander. Early in my career, I was a patrol officer in this area – Lents and inner SE Portland. So, it’s been huge opportunity for me and I’ll really miss working with all of you, and the men and women in the bureau.”

Asked if he were going to “disappear” upon retirement, Walker replied, “I am looking forward to volunteering my time after I retire.”

Hands shot up around the room of from neighborhood and civic organizations hoping to recruit Walker. “Not that I am, at this moment, seeking for volunteer positions,” he said with a good-natured smile.

MBA’s secretary, David Edwards, reminds businesspeople visiting the event to consider joining the organization.

Bill Dayton, MBA’s president, presents information about the organization’s September 18 Cruise-in event.

Dayton then spoke about the September 18 Midway End of Summer Cruise-in that the organization is hosting. “In addition to a wide variety of classic and custom vehicles, there’ll be live ’50s-style music and community booths. Mark your calendar, and we’ll see you then.”

Finally, Dayton thanked all the participants for coming, including Portland Planning Bureau East Portland District Liaison Chris Scarzello, Crime Prevention Coordinator Rosanne Lee, and Bureau of Planning, Sustainability coordinator Yvonne Garcia and Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team Sgt. Wendi Steinbronn.

As folks continued networking, Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack walked in, directly from a meeting that ran overtime, regarding funding the Sellwood Bridge rebuilding project. “Even though I’m late, I came to let you all know I care about the Midway area,” she said.

Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Safety Chair (and Portland Spirit of Portland Awardee) Tom Barnes talks with Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, and Terrie Casey of TK Embroidery Designs.

Meet with the Midway Business Association on July 12
The MBA continues their monthly meetings in July. Come learn all about this business group dedicated to helping neighbors and businesses improve the southern end of Outer East Portland.

Remember, visitors are welcome and the presentation is free (but you pay for your own lunch). Their meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Avenue, just south of Division Street. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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