It's a fair bet that Portland business associations would have a harder time achieving their function, and the area's overall service organization for these associations would not look as it does now, and even that neighborhood parades would be less exciting, were it not for Nancy Chapin - whose 'Support Group', based on Flavel Drive in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, has been of material benefit to all of these.
Chapin was the featured speaker at the Southeast Portland Rotary Club meeting of February 4th, discussing what it takes to keep Portland's 32 to 35 active business associations healthy and productive. And the first and most important requirement is participation - the support of the businesses in the association. Chapin lauded the recent addition of the Sellwood merchants to the active Westmoreland Business Alliance - making it now the 'Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance'. Sellwood has had difficulty in keeping its own separate association active in recent years.
Chapin has been the resource person for some years for the Alliance of Portland Area Business Associations, or APNBA, a nonprofit organization which supports business association projects, arranges conferences, and most recently has been the conduit for small city grants to neighborhood associations. For example, one such grant this past Christmas season paid for lights, street flags, and promotion for the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), of which Chapin is a past President and remains a Board member.
Nancy participates in multiple local business associations as needed, and is currently the President of the new Foster Road Business Association, which has begun offering community events, and is seeking to have the city reduce the speed limit on Foster to 25 MPH to encourage more residents to cross the street to patronize neighborhood merchants. She has also assisted the new '82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association' in the establishment of a new parade - the next one of which will be on April 19th. (See separate item in 'Events and Activities' for details.)
At present, Chapin is recruiting community volunteers to serve on a team of 'PEParazzi' - locals who act as cheerleaders at neighborhood parades. She notes that all too often spectators, enjoying local parades, just sit quietly and watch - which can be discouraging to the parade participants and to the overall mood of such festivities.
Pacific Power is sponsoring a series of 'Parade Cheerleader Workshops' to bring life and fun to neighborhood parades. If you'd like to consider participating, call Chapin at 503/774-2832.
The forum which Nancy addressed, the Southeast Portland Rotary Club, meets on Monday noons at Country Bill's Restaurant, S.E. 45th and Woodstock Boulevard, and usually has a featured speaker of community interest. Visitors are welcome to attend.