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A Portland City Commissioner visits the Holiday activities on Foster Road; speaks with THE BEE

DAVID F. ASHTON - At the Foster Road WinterFest, after enjoying the Holiday lighting ceremony at Carts on Foster, City Commissioner Nick Fish told THE BEE hell defend against efforts to homogenize our diverse Rose City, and its local neighborhood business associations. Kicking off the Holiday Season, the Foster Area Business Association (FABA) held a day-long festivity at several locations along S.E. Foster Road on Sunday, December 2.

With crafts, food specials, and other attractions, the day ended with the switching on of Holiday lights at "Carts on Foster" at dusk.

"We call our overall strategy to help promote businesses here 'Foster Forward', and part of it is our Holiday celebration, 'Foster WinterFest'. It ran all day today, with events on the hour," explained FABA President Allen Rowand of Gray Dog Digital.

The all-volunteer Foster Road boosters group is dedicated to community involvement, Rowand, told THE BEE.

"Our organization helps the community as well as our businesses to get involved with our neighborhoods – Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, and Creston-Kenilworth – by supporting programs like 'National Night Out' and 'Movies in the Park' for example," Rowand said.

After first doing some Christmas shopping at Foster Road stores, visiting Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish ended his day stopping by Carts of Foster, to lead the countdown to turning on the 20,000 lights put up there for the Holidays.

Recently, it has seemed that some Portland City Council members have been bent on obliterating neighborhood associations, which has caused many small business owners to wonder if neighborhood business districts might be next – but Commissioner Fish said he'll continue to champion these organizations.

"I am working with 'Venture Portland', particularly with [Executive Director] Heather Hoell and her team, to make sure that Portland's Neighborhood Business Districts are protected during the transition [in the City Council]", Fish said. "In fact, we're not even sure that Venture Portland shouldn't be taken out of the Office of Community & Civic Life altogether, and be given an individual status.

"As long as I'm the liaison to our 50 neighborhood business districts, I'll do the best I can to protect and nurture them; we have 50 unique business districts that do unique and important things in our city," remarked Fish.

"We look at our small businesses as one of the pillars of success of our community; we're not going to compromise that, as long as I am on the Portland City Council!"

As late afternoon faded into dusk, some forty people gathered to count down to the annual lighting of the festive lights at Carts On Foster – itself, a group of very small businesses that anchor the northwest end of the Foster Road district.

Find out more about the Foster Area Business Association online – www.fosterarea.com

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