The North Portland Business Association began in 1986, as the Lombard North Business Association, founded by Mr. Lester Viles. He applied for and received a grant, from the Office of Neighborhood Associations, to explore business concerns on North Lombard Street in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Viles spent many hours walking North Lombard Street visiting with each business, compiling a list of names, addresses and the concerns of the owners. At that time, the leading concern was the lack of a coordinated approach, to deal with various kinds of retail business crime. Bringing the businesses together on this issue resulted in the publication of a telephone tree that was successfully used to alert members about any crime along North Lombard.
After the first year, the informal group of business owners decided to form an association. The organization was formed with its officers and board serving as a 100% voluntary undertaking, and remains so today, twenty-five years later. The first meetings were held at the North House Restaurant, which was owned by member Tim Jorgensen. The use of the restaurant for general meetings because of its central location, created a camaraderie among the membership and began the continuing tradition of general meeting breakfasts.
Through the years the association has constantly been changing to meet the needs of its business members. Sometimes these needs were networking and social hours, at other times the needs have been taking independent action, or collaboration with other interests, to achieve changes in regulations or the business environment. The NPBA has earned the recognition and respect from the many city, county and state agencies it has worked with.
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