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Business group expands its reach

Trib Town - PDC grant gives coalition of small companies more resources to promote, lobby

A nonprofit coalition of more than 30 local neighborhood business district organizations is increasing its efforts to promote and lobby on behalf of the city's small businesses.

'It's kind of exciting and kind of scary,' said Jean Baker, a Southeast Portland webmaster and technical writer who serves as president of the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations Inc.

After receiving a $250,000 grant from the Portland Development Commission to expand its operations, the alliance recently hired its first full-time executive director. John Turino is a board member and former insurance agency executive.

'I hope to be instrumental in making the APNBA an even more relevant and supportive organization than it has been in the past,' Turino said. 'It has done great work with grants and small-business advocacy in spite of the fact that its officers and directors are all volunteers with full-time jobs, many of them running their own businesses.'

Coalition secretary Joice Taylor said Turino is well-positioned to increase the effectiveness of the APNBA.

'John knows the city, he's a high-energy person and he has the best interests of small-business owners at heart,' said Taylor, who owns Global Management Strategies in Northeast Portland.

The alliance is moving into new quarters at 107 S.E. Washington St., Suite 244. An open house is planned from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. March 28.

In addition, grant funds were used to hire two new office staffers, administrative coordinator Galadriel Breezy and part-time bookkeeper Alema McCrea.

The coalition was first formed more than 20 years ago to support the clusters of businesses located outside of downtown.

Today it assists neighborhood business associations throughout the city, including Nob Hill in Northwest and those named after Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and 82nd Avenue.

The alliance also has representatives on a number of city boards and commissions that deal with small-business issues.

'All of our member associations are unique and have their own identities, and our goal is to help all of them thrive,' Baker said.

The APNBA operates a Web site that includes a calendar of neighborhood festivals and upcoming events of interest to small businesses, including seminars on city issues and marketing. It can be found at www.apnba.com.

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