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Southeast party celebrates Portland business districts

DAVID F. ASHTON - Woodstock Community Business Association President Ann Sanderson spends a moment with Venture Portland Executive Director Heather A. Hoell. Venture Portland (formerly known as APNBA), now funded by the Portland Development Commission, celebrated its third decade of supporting neighborhood business associations and providing them with technical assistance, at the “Celebrate Our City” celebration at the Melody Ballroom in Inner Southeast Portland on February 4.

“This is our 30th anniversary party,” announced Venture Portland Board President Brian Alfano, of Unitus Community Credit Union, as the festivities began.

“It started out as the APNBA, the ‘Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations’,” Alfano said. “Since we rebranded the organization, we hope it resonates with more Portlanders, and rolls off the tongue more easily. We serve 50 unique neighborhood business districts across the city, in which there are 19,200 businesses that provide 267,000 jobs.

“In Portland, ‘small business’ is really a big thing; that’s where ideas and innovations come from,” Alfano added.

The Foster Area Business Association was represented by its President, Matthew Mi?eti? of Red Castle Games – who was helping out at the registration desk.

“We appreciate the assistance we’ve received from Venture Portland, helping our business association become better focused, and grow in membership,” Mi?eti? said.

Representing the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA) was the organization’s President, Ann Sanderson of Odango! Hair Studio and FotoSnap.

“Venture Portland has given us resources and training that is amazing,” Sanderson told THE BEE.

“For example, we’ve learned from them how to write for grants and create involvement activities, such as our ‘Woodstock Gives Back’ signature event,” Sanderson said.

“Although it was our first time [for that], last September we raised over $16,000 in one day for charities,” Sanderson observed. “That was made possible by a grant from Venture Portland.”

There wasn’t a formal meeting during the “Celebrate Our City” party. However, many of the 200 who attended took the opportunity to network with other volunteers who lead their own neighborhood business districts.