Montavilla business group holds ‘live’ annual meeting

Discover how volunteers with the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association are planning to revitalize their district in 2022 …

Checking in the attendees of this year’s Montavilla East Tabor Business Association Annual Meeting are Megan Gazzo, founder of Gazzy By Gazzo; Ross Garlow, METBA District Organizer; and Past President Tina Granzo, founder of City Beautiful Design.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Members and guests of the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) gathered, in person, on Monday evening, October 25, for the first time since start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic stopped public gatherings.

Unlike their last meeting, held last January at Stark Street Pizza [CLICK HERE to read our coverage of that get-together], this one was held under a large, open-sided tent in the Montavilla Street Plaza.

At tables, and clustered around heaters, folks attending take advantage of the opportunity to network at this meeting.

Ready to serve guests are Manuel Mederle and Trevor Gorham of Vino Veritas.

Before the meeting began, attendees were invited to enjoy food and libations purchased from local METBA members Ya Hala, Bipartisan Café, Miyamoto, Vino Veritas, Montavilla Brew Works, and, Threshold Brewing and Bottling.

“Tonight we hope you have the opportunity to meet your fellow business owners in Montavilla, and learn what our organization is up to,” said METBA Acting President Neil Mattson, owner of Montavilla Guitar Studio, as he opened the meeting.

“METBA is an all-volunteer organization that serves four distinct quadrants of the business district: Historic Downtown; Stark East; 82nd Avenue; and East Glisan.

Welcoming everyone to the Annual Meeting is METBA Acting President Neil Mattson.

“Historically, we’ve put on community-centered events such as the Montavilla Street Fair, the Spring Block Party, Harvest Fest, the Frosty Fest,” he continued. “But, like others similar to us around the country and around the world, and here in our own neighborhood, we worked to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic by continuing on.”

Although the METBA Board of Directors diminished in numbers a bit this year, because business owners needed to focus on staying open, Mattson told the 38 attendees that the organization did complete a “Strategic Plan” by the end of 2020 that helped guide the association through this year.

Their plan included:

  1. Establishing organizational, financial, and operational sustainability;
  2. Becoming a diverse and more inclusive organization to service the entire district;
  3. Establishing communication and providing tangible benefits and resources to help their Neighborhood Business District membership; and,
  4. Improving the overall livability, prosperity, and health and safety of our business district and a greater community.

“It’s pretty lofty stuff, but also focused, clear, and to the point,” observed Mattson.

Attendees hear about METBA’s planning and accomplishments.

Some of their major accomplishments in 2021 included:

  • Refining their Strategic Plan;
  • Participating in Portland Equity Initiative program training;
  • Engaging in Venture Portland trainings, grants, and support;
  • Hiring a district organizer staffer – funded, in part, by a Venture Portland grant;
  • Working with PBOT to install the Montavilla Public Street Plaza on 79th Avenue; and,
  • Selecting and installing a new constituent relationship management system.


With that, Mattson asked 2020 METBA President Pete Dills, of Therapeutic Associates East Portland Physical Therapy, to join him. “I’m very grateful to you, Pete, for all the work that you did for being the President who held the organization together in your 2020; as are all of us here are grateful, for your helping METBA through these really dark months.”

At far left, suggesting how those present at the meeting could help, by sharing ideas in groups, is 2020 METBA President Pete Dills.

“Thanks Neil,” Dills responded. “Thanks to everyone for being here tonight; in person, once again! – It’s so cool. This is why I joined the METBA: To really connect with neighborhood community members and small business owners.”

After Dills asked past and present METBA Board Members to stand and be recognized, he said those present were to break into small groups so members to share what they’d like to see the organization become.

METBA members discuss their ideas for moving the organization forward.

Will the Montavilla Street Fair return in late July, 2022? After the meeting, Mattson told East Portland News that the METBA Board of Directors would likely decide that in January. “It takes a long lead time to put on an event of this size.”

Learn more about the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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