What was supposed to be a business-as-usual Parkrose Business Association community meeting has turned into a potential lawsuit.
On March 21, the Parkrose Business Association (PBA) held a Parkrose Advocacy Town Hall Meeting at Hookset Automotive, where it invited Venture Portland (VP) to speak about gaining increased law enforcement and livability resources in the area. VP is a nonprofit operation that aims to connect Portland’s neighborhood business districts “through grants, trainings and technical assistance,” according to VP’s website. VP is made up of a diverse group of volunteers from different areas, much like the many business districts it aims to help. There is much crossover between VP and the PBA, with various staff who are part of both groups.
“They’re writing grants for us for the sole purpose of holding these events, which basically requires us to supply the volunteers,” says Kelly Brown, the owner of Brown’’s Point S Tire & Auto in Parkrose. “Nobody is paid on our staff. It’s a way for them [VP] to keep track of things and guide us in certain ways.”
At the March 21 meeting, VP Executive Director Heather Hoell was providing attendees with a presentation when events went sour. “It turned into this angry mob where the people in the audience were inappropriately screaming and threatening Venture Portland staff,” says Mingus Mapps of Historic Parkrose, who was present at the meeting. “People didn’t understand the institutions being represented and were being scary.”
Another source, who wishes to remain anonymous, adds that most of the intimidation sprang from one individual: JC Jenkins, the owner of Hookset Automotive and Tires. According to the anonymous source, Jenkins was enflamed by the lack of police presence regarding the rampant homelessness that has surrounded his business. As previously reported (“Business relocates to Parkrose near Slough Town,” MCM April 2017), Jenkins and his wife, Angie, had dealt with violent outbursts from some houseless members of the Slough Town community, including an incident with a pipe. Angie Jenkins is the current president of the PBA.
Jenkins would not answer questions regarding the specific goings-on at the meeting, but she does state in an email to the Mid-county Memo, “PBA members have expressed a desire to have advocacy and crime issues addressed in our district. PBA gladly supports our members and working towards a thriving business community.”
Things took a turn for the worse, and when the presentation ended, Hoell asked to be accompanied to her car for her safety.
Hoell was contacted repeatedly, but she decided not to comment on the March 21 meeting. And she’s not the only one. Another PBA member who was present for the town hall, Rob Mode (who owns the Grocery Outlet in Parkrose), also refused comment.
PBA future hangs in the balance
However, a follow-up email was sent by VP President Matthew B. Micectic to Angie Jenkins, as well as Alison Stoll, a long-time PBA board member and executive director of Central Northeast Neighbors. The communication condemned the events. He notified Jenkins that her husband would no longer be allowed at VP activities and that Hookset Automotive & Tires will no longer be able to hold VP events. He then singled out Stoll, who is also a VP delegate and PBA supervisor of VP’s Catalytic Investment Initiative in Parkrose. The email claims Stoll has a “legal responsibility to ensure the work environment is free of harassment and/or improper conduct from PBA board members and other district leaders.”
Micectic warned the women that “any future bullying of Venture Portland’s Organizer, Executive Director or other staff or volunteers by PBA via email, statements at events or meetings or other attempts to force program implementation failure will result in the immediate termination of Parkrose’s participation in the Catalytic Investment Initiative and the reassignment of your Organizer to another business district.”
The consequences of a lack of VP funding toward the Parkrose Business Association could be tangible for all within the community. “They need to work together if the PBA is going to exist,” adds Mapps. “Otherwise, I think it would be difficult to hold neighborhood events like Trunk or Treat.”
For now, there are rumblings of both sides lawyering up.