Vacant store on 82nd becomes new ‘Multicultural Space’

Take a look at the plans APANO and the Jade District have for this building, at SE Division Street and 82nd Avenue of Roses …

This former furniture store is now the APANO/Jade Multicultural Space.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For some time, the former furniture store building at the corner of SE Division Street and 82nd Avenue of Roses has sat vacant.

However, two groups – Asian Pacific Network of Oregon (APANO) and Jade District Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (Jade) announced big plans for the well-traveled intersection, south of the Portland Community College Southeast Campus.

Volunteers and staff cleaned out the building, and had it ready for their Voices of Change fundraising event, held the evening of May 7.

Guests are welcomed by staff and volunteers coming to see the APANO/Jade Multicultural Space.

APANO Director of Development and Communications Duncan Hwang and Community Engagement Manager Luann Algoso say they’re enthusiastic about the possibilities presented by the building.

“We’re calling it the APANO/Jade Multicultural Space,” said APANO Community Engagement Manager Luann Algoso at their event.

“Tonight, we’re welcoming our community members, and asking them to help by sharing their vision of what this space could look like,” Algoso told East Portland News. “And, we’ll be partnering with many organizations to use the space for events.

“But, the big news is that the Jade International Night Market will be held here, later this summer, in August,” announced Algoso.

Hazelwood Neighborhood Association Chair Arlene Kimura spends a moment with Anita Yap of A. Yap & Associates – she is also a member of the Jade District Steering Committee.

Metro’s Jonathan Williams tries his hand at ping-pong in the Youth Community Center.

For about the next two years, they intend to use the space, as-is, with a little more cleaning and updating, said APANO Director of Development and Communications Duncan Hwang who is also Program Director for the Jade District.

“The west side of the building will be for our Youth Community Center. For the long term we are looking for a permanent home in this could be one of those sites,” Hwang said.

“Long-term, we’re developing a Request for Qualifications process looking for a partner to develop the site,” Hwang continued. “This could be redeveloping the corner with four or five stories of affordable housing units, and retail on the ground floor.”

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury says she’s come to support the organizations in their efforts.

One of the attendees was Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “We support community-based organizations like these. We’re looking for programs that help young people get active in their community, especially with the multicultural aspects community of outer East Portland.

“I’m coming here this evening, showing our support of organizations that work for the betterment of all people in Multnomah County,” Kafoury said.

Guests serve themselves from this splendid buffet put on by caterer Thai Fresh, located just two blocks east on SE Division Street.

Soon, the spacious building began to fill with about 280 people coming to attend the Voices of Change event. They dined from a Thai food buffet before going into the east former showroom for entertainment, awards presentations, and a keynote address by National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development Executive Director Lisa Hasegawa.

“This is the heart and center of the Jade District,” Hwang commented. “We’re looking to improve our community, and this is a good start.”

Unit Souzou drummers start off the APANO Voices of Change program.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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