Past/Forward: A Decade of Growth

Thank You Heather Hoell for 10 Years of Service to Neighborhood Businesses

In December we said goodbye and good luck to Heather Hoell, who faithfully served as Venture Portland’s Executive Director for 10 years. Heather’s contributions to Venture Portland were invaluable and her leadership resulted in unprecedented growth for the organization. A few of her incredible accomplishments include:

  • Rebranded APNBA as Venture Portland with a new logo, programs, website, social media presence and manifesto
  • Increased business district membership 154% across districts city wide by helping districts become more diverse, equitable and welcoming
  • Increased business district revenue 642%, generating nearly $1.4 million in private business district investment in 2018, by helping districts leverage Venture Portland funding and support
  • Increased business district staffing 175% since 2013 by helping districts (21 for the first time!) hire ongoing professional District Organizers
  • Invested $820,000 in business districts for 294 projects leveraging $3 million, an almost 4-to-1 match
  • Changed the conversation about the value of shopping locally by securing nearly 1,000 positive media stories about neighborhood businesses and business districts
  • Elevated the political power of Venture Portland and neighborhood business districts through strategic advocacy and effective partnerships
  • Addressed historic and systemic disparities in East and North Portland through the Catalytic Investment Initiative and participation as a Portland Means Progress Early Adopter

We are forever grateful for her service and wish her the best in her future endeavors!

Say Hi to Our New Interim Executive Director Brad James

Brad has more than a decade of experience guiding nonprofits through change management. Since 2014 he has worked in economic development managing commercial districts and downtowns. His experience includes the national award-winning Downtown Oregon City Association, McMinnville Downtown Association, and several years with Venture Portland – helping lead the Catalytic Investment Initiative. In December Brad was hired as Venture Portland’s Interim Executive Director and is looking forward to guiding the organization into a strong future in 2020.



Time to Renew Your Membership!

2019 was an exciting year for Venture Portland and its members. We celebrated 33 years of support for Portland’s neighborhood business districts by continuing to put business districts first. Moving forward, business districts are more important than ever. As Portland grows and adapts to a changing economy, faces monumental issues of livability, and strives to address significant disparities in economic access, preserving the unique places and business districts that make Portland thrive is crucial. Venture Portland is the voice of business districts and your membership is critical as we help our city move forward. We are excited to increase our impact and ensure the prosperity of neighborhood business districts over the next decade together. Join or renew your district’s Venture Portland membership and continue to take advantage of valuable grants, training and technical assistance to help your members succeed in 2020! Join or renew at or email for membership info.