New banners to help market ‘Midway’ area

Where’s ‘Midway’ you ask? Promoters of the district hope this project will answer that question for the folks who just motor through …

Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement Board Chair David Edwards welcomes everyone to the Street Banner Dedication Ceremony.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Board members and volunteers from the Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement (DMA), a City of Portland sponsored Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI) area, have been working on an answer to the question, “Where’s Midway?”

For decades, SE Division Street, from a dozen blocks east of Interstate 205 out to almost the City line, has been unofficially called the “Midway area” – basically, a descriptive term – because it is about mid-way between downtown Portland and Gresham.

“We want people to be aware that the Midway area isn’t just ‘on the way from here to there’ – but is actually a great place to shop, do business, and recreate,” said DMA Board Chair David Edwards of David Edwards Insurance.

The DMA hopes the new Street Banners will help bring a “sense of place” to the community, David Edwards says.

A substantial group of businesspeople, neighbors, and governmental officials, gathered in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot on SE Division Street, just west of SE 122nd Avenue, on the morning of May 16 to celebrate part of their new marketing campaign.

“Today we are celebrating installation of our new street banners,” Edwards told East Portland News. “The purpose of these is to help ‘brand the district’ on SE Division Street, between SE 117th and 148th Avenues; and also along SE 122nd Avenue, from SE Market Street to Foster Road.”

The 2’ x 4’ banners were produced in variety of eye-catching background colors, and were installed on utility poles throughout the area.

“People driving or taking mass transit through the area may not see the banners at first,” Edwards conceded. “But, they will see them. And, with DMA ‘door stickers’ and other marketing efforts, people will understand that this is a business district – and will help this community get a ‘sense of place’.”

Portland Development Commission Executive Director Patrick Quinton leads applause for DMA leaders, along with Venture Portland Executive Director Heather Hoell and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish.

The Portland Development Commission had a role in this promotion, its Executive Director, Patrick Quinton, said.

“The Division Midway Alliance is one of our six NPIs,” Quinton remarked. “NPIs are a relatively a new model for how to promote small businesses in this part of the City. Each district gets to choose how to promote its district, and how to help the local businesses.

“DMA felt these ‘branding’ activities were an important first step,” Quinton added. “Our role is to be supportive with technical assistance and money. We let the community lead the way.”

After Edwards introduced himself, told about the project, and recognized officials in the gathering, he invited Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish up to speak.

“East Portland is on the rise”, says Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish.

“East Portland has been a forgotten part of Portland for too long,” Fish agreed. “But, East Portland is on the rise, thanks to several organizations. We cannot be successful without inspired leaders.

“We have never had a stronger line up in East Portland of leaders,” Fish proclaimed to those assembled. “This includes our State legislators and Multnomah County Commissioners.

“The rising of the banners symbolizes the rise of this area of outer East Portland,” Fish concluded.

Oregon State Representative Jeff Reardon, (D) District 48/Happy Valley, joins Multnomah County District 3 Commissioner Judy Shiprack, as well as Heather Hoell and Patrick Quinton, as DMA Chair David Edwards readies to snip the ceremonial ribbon – Commissioner Nick Fish, Midway Business Association President Dr. David Day DC, volunteer Anthony Moreschi, and DMA District Manager Lori Boisen look on.

Riding the boom lift of his truck, banner maker Steve Boek of Banners of Every Kind installs a new DMA banner.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, one of the first DMA banners was raised on a utility pole.

Learn more about the DMA – including their new “Midway International Night Market”, to be held on June 14 at Division Plaza (SE 122nd Avenue and SE Division Street) – by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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