St. Johns Boosters

100 years of serving the St. Johns business district

St. Johns Boosters logo

The St. Johns Boosters have served the business community in St Johns since 1926. Though it is likely that the boosters existed as a less organized group before 1926, the records currently held by the organization show a continuous and unbroken legacy of community stewardship beginning in 1926 making the Boosters the second oldest business organization in Portland next to the Hollywood Boosters Business Association. In 2026 the St Johns Boosters Business Association will celebrate its 100th year serving our community.

In the last 100 years the business association been responsible for many of the physical improvements, especially in Downtown St Johns. It has also been the keystone organization that has held together the identity of community as a distinct borough of the City of Portland. Working with the community and city government, the Boosters altered traffic flow during the 1970’s positively changing character of the downtown and improving the safety and livability for residents. Many people believe that the gateways to our community and in particular St Johns Plaza are historic features of our downtown. In fact these improvements were the result of positive changes initiated and completed by the Boosters in the late 1970’s. Even our plaza’s old clock is in fact a product of this era of community improvement and not a relic of a more distant past as some imagine. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, St Johns saw a shift from a strong dependence on the industry located on the Peninsula to a more mixed and commercial economy. This era was also characterized by a generalized downturn in the neighborhoods economy. In the 2000’s the Boosters sought to address the neighborhood’s economic trouble’s and to lay down a plan for controlled growth in the future. Over the past few years, the organization has sharpened its focus and returned to the primary goal of serving as advocates for the needs of business owners and employees.

Today the Boosters are successfully meeting the challenges of a changing economy in Portland and continue to act as stewards for the St Johns Plaza, three Gateway Kiosk signs and Tree Lighting Program. As members of Venture Portland, The St Johns Boosters Business Association joins the many other business associations and districts, as designated the representative organization for local businesses. In the current era of growth, the Boosters continue to act as the stewards for the many important community resources, and to serve as advocate and proponent of business in downtown St Johns, Cathedral Park, and the surrounding area. The Boosters proudly celebrate the completion of the first century of our journey and look optimistically forward to the future of St Johns.

–Derek Shaw
The Olive & Vine
Past President, St. Johns Boosters

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