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Learn at Lunch

The Government Affairs Council holds monthly forums on topics pertinent to the business community and government relations.  Luncheons are on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.  View our Events Calendar for upcoming luncheon details.

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2023 Learn at Lunch Events in the Gresham Area

November 14th, 2023

Renovation of the Pony Soldier

In this months forum, we learn about the renovation of the former Pony Soldier Inn, which is being converted into affordable housing for college students. Giving us the update are Ryan Sturley, Director of Real Estate & Development, College Housing Northwest; Pam Blumenthal, Director of Affordable Rents for College Students (ARCS), College Housing Northwest; and Bhaktirose Dawdy, Director of Student Basic Needs Initiatives, Mt. Hood Community College.

October 17th, 2023

Life in Rockwood

How does Rockwood's economic status as an area of persistent poverty, impact the economy of East County?
Join Brad and Lynn Ketch from the Rockwood Community Development Center as they discuss how investing in Rockwood can change our regional economy.

The income disparities are stark. Median household income in Rockwood is less than half of what it is in Portland. In just the past eight years, this gap has more than doubled. Home to over 40,000 people, Rockwood is part of East Multnomah County which is known for a considerable gap between the rich and poor.

In fact, if Multnomah County were divided into two states, the west side of the county would be one of the wealthiest states in the United States, and the east side would be one of the poorest.  - source: Rockwood CDC

September 19th, 2023

Gresham Economic Trends and Indicators


In this months forum we will cover employment recovery from the pandemic recession, the current and future state of the labor market, and an overview of specific characteristics of the Gresham economy. Our guest speaker is Jake Procino. Jake is a Workforce Economist for the Oregon Employment Department, specializing in the labor market for Multnomah County. He provides data analysis and economic advice to local businesses, business associations and government agencies to facilitate intelligent decision making. Before working for the Employment Department, Jake worked as a journalist and bartender. Originally from Los Angeles, Jake has a degree in Economics and Politics from Willamette University.


August 15th, 2023

What Impacts Did the Legislative Session Have on Your Business and Employees?


In this months forum we get an update from the latest Oregon legislative session and how it affects east Multnomah County businesses. Providing the updates are Representative Ricki Ruiz (D), District 50, Gresham, and Senator Chris Gorsek, District 25, Gresham.


May 18th, 2023

Your Community's College is Making an Impact!


This months forum focuses on Mt. Hood Community College and the impact it is having on East County. Speakers include Lisa Skari, President of the college, and Andrew Speer, Board Chair of the college. President Skari and Board Chair Speer provide updates on Strategic Planning and feedback received from studies on how the college can better meet the broader needs of the community.


July 18th, 2023

Artificial Intelligence. Will Small Business Benefit from AI? What it Does and How to Get Started


In this months forum we learn about the emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and how it could affect businesses. Speakers include: Patrick Burton, Owner of Space Dog Media and Benvision; and Patrick Sheehan, Residential and Commercial Broker with Better Homes & Garden Real Estate.


April 20th, 2023

Gresham Safety Levy Ballot Measure: 26-239


Without the levy, Gresham faces a $8 million budget shortfall and citywide layoffs. Fire and police emergency response times are already longer, delays more frequent, and first responders max out if simultaneous emergencies happen. Mental health calls take twice as long to respond to and twice as many officers.


February 21st, 2023

Gresham-Barlow and Centennial School District Updates with the Superintendents


James Owens, Superintendent, Centennial School District

James Hiu, Superintendent, Gresham-Barlow School District

Hear about the challenges and successes of our local schools from the Super intendents that lead them.

January 17th, 2023

Tolling & Congestion Pricing. When? Where? How Much?


Mandy Putney


Director, Strategic Initiatives, Urban Mobility Office, Oregon Department of Transportation

In this months forum, we get an update on where the state is at regarding transportation tolling. When is it going to start? Where are the tolls going to be collected? How much is it going to cost commuters? Here to answer these and many other questions is Mandy Putney, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Urban Mobility Office, Oregon Department of Transportation.

If you have a topic or speaker you would like to see included in the monthly Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce Business and Leaders Forum, please share.  We are always looking for new and insightful speakers and topics to share with the Gresham Area.  Contact us today!