We came together in December on the heels of the 2nd Annual Foster Area Winter Tree Lighting. We had 300 attendees, 50% more than the 200 we hosted last year. We had 8 times as many lights, twice as many gift bags, were mentioned twice by the Foster-Powell blog and had a story the East PDX News.
The board and all the volunteers were thanked, and everyone agreed that it was easier and even more fun the second time around. In 2017, the board wants to have even more lights, more activities for families, and bigger displays with stanchions to make them easier for the children to see but harder for them to touch. Vice President Steve’s (Carts on Foster) illuminated food cart elf display got punched in the face a lot.
Neighbors appreciated the secular and family friendly aspects of the Tree Lighting. Twiggy’s iconic traveling outfit (jaunty hat and scarf) was once again a big hit. The addition of reading glasses was noted by a few people. The association also launched a welcome campaign on Facebook, which used the member head shots from our website to promote our values. We produced three different images in order to include all the members we have head shots for. The banner says “Foster Area Businesses welcome all races and countries of origin, all gender identities and family structures, all sexual orientations, all religions and philosophies.” The campaign was very popular, with more than 215 likes and more than 20 shares.
President Matthew of Red Castle Games reminded everyone that the next Foster Area Business Association Annual Meeting will be at 7pm at Tango Berretin with a board meeting beforehand at 6pm where we will finalize the board slate before elections. The board also discussed our much-needed bylaws update. We’ll discuss the bylaws two more times before we vote on them. Per our current (and future) bylaws, all members will be notified 30 days before our next discussion so that they can weight in if they would like.
Justin from Starday Tavern suggested that we start a quarterly community brunch on Sundays that can connect people in a fun, casual and low-pressure environment. Staff person Marina suggested the brunches be unstructured so business owners and community members can come to them and meet us without feeling any pressure to participate.
The FABA Branding Committee (Steve from Steve Turmell Visual Communications and Cathy from Concise Communication, LLC) announced that the branding grant they applied for and were awarded has come in so we can start work on building a visual brand for Foster as a district and FABA as the support system for that district.Steve will be working on a new design and meeting with the re-branding committee. The board will see finals as we get closer to the end of the project.
Cathy also reported on the Freelancers’ Happy Hour. The Tax Talk that was proposed in the last board meeting will be in February. Since 1099s are due Feb. 1 this year, it was determined that February was the ideal month to talk taxes. Our members Carpenters Tax Service will be joining financial planner Jon Bebe for the talk.
Neighborhood Rep Allen from Gray Dog Digital reported that the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association owns the announcement board in Laurelwood Park and we are in talks to collaborate on restore the board for our community benefit. He also reported that FoPo was voted Neighborhood Association of the year for 2016 at the Spirit of Portland Awards. Allen said that the award is well deserved, and that he is especially happy that the business association and the neighborhood association both value diversity. Allen said “as the neighborhood continues to change, we have to become more inclusive in order to make sure everyone is represented.”
President Matthew announced that 2016 had the largest black Friday sales in the history of Red Castle Games. Staff person Marina Martinez-Bateman and web developer Ben Martinez-Bateman announced the upcoming launch of the Martinez-Bateman Development Initiative, a nonprofit agency where professional people can donate their time in order to make websites and other digital assets for organizations that are having a real impact on the community. Justin from Starday Tavern said that he was really looking forward to working on community brunch, and that he’s excited for Off the Griddle, a vegan restaurant that will open in the former Double Treble space. He said his patrons are also excited “people want to be able to walk and get food closer to their house.” Stacy from The Bee said that the Portland Tribune will be publishing a last minute gift guide for anybody who is still looking for inspiration.