By Dan Werle | CNA Media Team
Our 42nd Avenue is a local organization whose stated mission is to “cultivate economic opportunity to achieve a prosperous, diverse 42nd Avenue community.”
It’s been fulfilling that role since it gained nonprofit status eight years ago as one of seven Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative districts in Portland, and one of two in Cully. In 2016, The Portland Mercury featured it in a story headlined “NE 42nd Is Portland’s New Restaurant Row.”
The district is bordered by Lombard and Shaver streets, and 33rd and 55th avenues.
In January, Our 42nd Avenue’s longtime executive director, Michael DeMarco, stepped down from his position to create Genuity Economic Development, a consulting firm housed on 42nd Avenue.
Although Michael retains an advisory role with Our 42nd Avenue, Eduardo “Edy” Martinez officially took over as the group’s district manager Jan. 7.
Edy grew up in northern California with six sisters and a brother. He enjoyed volunteering and working at the local summer camp. He earned a degree in recreation and administration from California State University, Chico before moving to Portland.
He has spent 16 years working to improve communities, most recently as a Schools Uniting Neighborhoods school manager, where he assisted organizing nutrition, medical, dental and educational programs for nearby students and their families.
Edy speaks with a calm, measured, confidence, and he exudes leadership and optimism. He is enthusiastic about Our 42nd Avenue’s priorities.
“We are focused on creating generational wealth, looking at barriers differently and figuring out how to knock them down.” Additionally, he is excited about the opportunities he has for learning about and serving the community.
Edy’s arrival is not the only significant change the new year ushered in for Our 42nd Avenue. The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) is now Our 42nd Avenue’s umbrella organization.
The two groups had been discussing a merger for several months prior to the decision. Both share similar visions, and perform similar work. The size, strength and organizational structure of NAYA provided Our 42nd Avenue an opportunity to sharpen its focus, and more efficiently use its available resources.
With Michael’s departure, and Edy’s arrival, both organizations believed it was an optimal time to make the change.
Edy looks forward to building relationships within the 42nd Avenue community and continuing the steady progress Our 42nd Avenue has made.
He’s officed at 4213 N.E. 42nd Ave., and you can reach him via email at Edy@42ave.org. It’s best to advise him before dropping in. “If I’m doing my job right, I won’t be in the office very much.”
Dan Werle lives in Concordia with his wife, Anna, and their dogs.