‘Rosewood Initiative’ celebrates Community Center’s first year

Find out what these volunteers have accomplished so far, and why they’re grateful for their ‘home’ …

Supporters of The Rosewood Initiative meet, celebrating their first year in their spacious new Rosewood Community Center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Original organizers, supporters, and friends of the Rosewood Initiative gathered on the evening of October 29 to celebrate the first year of operating out of their new Community Center – in the former location of Cue’s Billiards Club in the Village Square Shopping Center in the Centennial neighborhood.

“The Rosewood Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Rosewood area a desirable place in which to live, work, and play,” said one of its former Co-Chairs, and current Board Member Shea Marshman at the open house.

Rosewood Initiative Board Member Shea Marshman, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Acting Captain Robert King, and Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Hayden chat at the open house.

“I was part of the original conversation started five years ago,” Marshman told East Portland News.

According to the Rosewood Initiative Mission Statement, the concept is to help empower community members to drive meaningful and positive change, in partnership with agencies across outer East Portland, Gresham, and Multnomah County jurisdictions, focusing on the blocks north and south of SE Stark Street, from SE 148th Avenue eastward into Gresham.

Jennifer Tovar and Adrien Pacheco help arrange snacks for attendees at the open house.

“It’s been worth investing time and energy in this project, Marshman said, “Because this community is a place for which I care deeply. I was a parole officer several years ago, and this was my first case area.

“There are people here who Portland and Gresham would just as soon ‘forget’ and not have a voice,” Marshman added. “I want them to have a voice because they can, and actually are, doing amazing things. It’s fascinating to see and to work with people, who are passionate about in the community.”

PPB Central Precinct Sergeant Jim Quackenbush entertains at the keyboard.

Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel visits with Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jason Gates, and long-time community activist Mike Vander Veen.

Starting several years ago, Marshman recalled, the first location for a community center was a tiny spot around the corner. “It was challenging: We didn’t have any electricity, because we could not afford it! Then, we didn’t have locks on the doors, because we couldn’t afford them.

“Over time, we’ve built it piece by piece,” continued Marshman. “We’ve invited more community members in. We have more and more community events being held here. Now, as a result of the renting of this space, community members are able to use the space for free.”

Attendees mixed and mingled, snacked and toasted, all accompanied by live piano music.

Starting off the formal program is Rosewood Initiative Executive Director Jenny Glass.

Rosewood Initiative Executive Director Jenny Glass welcomed the gathered group to the open house.

“We’re so happy to be celebrating our first anniversary of being in this building,” Glass smiled. “It’s good to gather together with the members of our community who supported us for so long, as well as with those in the community who recently joined our effort.”

Politicians and dignitaries present had the opportunity to speak.

Yoana Molina Marcial, of De Yoana Weddings Events and Decorations LLC., tells how the Portland State University Business Outreach Program’s Business Advisor Liz Feldman helped her become successful.

Yoana Molina Marcial, of De Yoana Weddings Events and Decorations LLC., told how her business was directly aided by the Portland State University Business Outreach Program which offers services within the community center.

But, all of those speaking acknowledged that there is still much to accomplish – namely, reducing crime in the area, and encouraging more local business. However, with the many organizations and agencies represented at the open house, it appears they are on their way.

Find out more, and stay in touch with their activities by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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