Looking forward to the weekend? We hope your plans include Know Your City’s Jade District tour! This Saturday, August 23rd, we kick-off the first of our two walking tour of SE 82nd Ave –home to East Portland’s Asian immigrant communities – when we’ll visit restaurants, business, community leaders and more. We’ll meet downtown at Union Station, talk about Portland’s historic Chinatown and head out to SE 82nd/Division by MAX with Todd Struble, Jade District Manager at Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). There only 40 spots on this tour and it will likely sell out so we recommend getting your tickets ahead of time.
Todd answered some questions for us via email, so we could give you some background on APANO, the Jade District and the stops on the tour.
Q: Hi Todd! Tell us a little bit about what you do at APANO.
A: I have worked for APANO for 3 months now, taking over from the previous Jade District Manager, Stanley Moy, whose family has owned a business, King’s Bakery, in the district for decades. I manage the Jade District Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI), an area that the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission has identified as an area ripe for economic development, but also at risk for gentrification and displacement of the communities that currently reside in the area. Day to day, my duties include being out in the community and getting feedback from the local residents and business owners. I also help implement improvements in the District, including helping businesses with technical assistance by connecting them with partners that provide advice and resources free of charge to businesses. I report to the Jade District Steering Committee, a group of local volunteer leaders in the community, before implementing neighborhood projects, such as the Jade District Night Market.
Q: How long have you been in Portland?
A: I’ve lived in Portland for the last 8 years, except for a short stint in Seattle, where we didn’t last a year before we missed Portland and moved back! I have lived in Southwest Portland when I went to law school, and then Sellwood. Now I live in Woodstock, within biking distance to the Jade District and greatly enjoy riding through Southeast Portland to get to and from the Jade District.
Q: What are some of the changes you’ve seen in the neighborhood?
A: We have noticed the development of the District with the Asian Pacific Islander communities relocating from Old Town Chinatown as a result of gentrification and getting priced out of the neighborhood, as well as other communities of color moving farther east. Recently, PCC’s development has brought a renewed interest in the area and brought opportunity for continuing education and access to opportunities in East Portland. We’ve also seen the development of bicycle lanes and additional crossings on SE Division, making the area safer for bicycles and pedestrians, though there is definitely room for additional investments in transportation features.
Q: What are some of the highlights we’ll see on the Jade District tour?
A: Guests will visit local businesses and meet with some of the community leaders that serve on the Jade District Steering Committee and are key players in influencing the direction of the Jade District, including Rosaline Hui, the owner of Portland Chinese Times, who has been instrumental in gathering vendors and performers for the Night Market; and Vong, the owner of Thai Fresh, an authentic Thai restaurant. We will also meet with the Dean of PCC Southeast, Craig Kolins, and several other local community leaders. Tour participants will be surprised to learn that over 40 languages are represented in the Jade District, and that it’s the most diverse census tract in Multnomah County. In addition to the API communities, the Jade District is home to a strong Hispanic communities, Slavic communities and Somali communities.
Thanks, Todd! We’re all looking forward to the tour. There are still limited tickets left, but you’ll want to get yours now as there may or may not be day of tickets available!