Introducing District Manager Deborah Rochford

Deborah Rochford joined Venture Portland in 2019 working with the Kenton, Belmont, NE Broadway, and now the Williams Business Districts.  When asked what are the highlights of her time in the Districts, Deborah responds “I love to work with boards of volunteers, business owners, and the City to help the economic advancement of communities.”

Working in the Williams District, Deborah says “Right now Williams is a mix of new high-rise buildings and ‘old’ Portland. It looks almost more like Vancouver, BC to me than Portland. You’ll see lots of metal and glass buildings. When I started working with them, I could tell they really needed connection and networking among the business owners but also, we need to find ways to connect with and support the surrounding community. Our goal is to also add color, art, music, and vibrancy back to the district.”

Deborah’s main focus this year for the Williams District is connecting the business association with the community.  Building relationships are critical in order to support the businesses and non-profits in the district along with the surrounding neighborhood. Unfortunately the connection to the community has been damaged over the years and through political policy. That is why Deborah is working on building a bridge between the residential and commercial aspects. The Williams District is the heart and soul of the Albina area and the business association wants to honor that history-the dome in Dawson Park, the non-profits still working to support the Black community, the music that drifted from the clubs and dance parties.  Deborah would love to get the district back to being a hub for live music like it was historically.

Meditating both morning and night, Deborah’s philosophy on life is, but not limited to, “Be kind, Be the change you wish to see, I am better than no one and no one is better than me, and Protect the earth.” Having been in Portland for 20 years, Deborah loves the typical Portland things of hiking, walking, reading, and crafting/making, but goes back to her culture and roots with Mexican food as her go-to cuisine!