BEAVERTON, Ore. (Sept. 24, 2021) – Leaders and the Board of Directors of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce unanimously chose Alicia Bermes, M.A. as the Chamber’s new President/CEO. Bermes, a longtime executive with Chamber expertise, is taking over from interim President/CEO Stephen Smelley and stepped in last week.
“After an outpouring of interest, an extensive national search and many interviews with some very talented people, we are excited to welcome Alicia,” said the Chamber’s 2021 Board Chair, Keith Wright, who owns Century 21/Wright & Associates Realty.
Bermes takes the helm from serving as executive director at the Chamber of Commerce in Niles (Illinois), a growing suburb of Chicago. Prior to her work at Niles, Bermes headed up the Frankfort (Illinois) chamber. “At both Chambers, Alicia brought tremendous membership growth and a focus on strategic planning along with execution to deliver member value for her local business communities,” noted Wright.
“She is an enthusiastic and engaged supporter of Chamber members and wherever she goes, picks her businesses to trade with through local Chamber member lists.”
“This is an extraordinary opportunity here with the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, its staff and leadership,” said Bermes. “Our business community here and around the country has been challenged over the past 18 months, but I believe whenever there is change there is opportunity. We see this as an important time for implementing a strategic change to better serve our members and to grow the local voice of commerce for our regional businesses, organizations and leaders here in the western Washington County community.”
Throughout the past one and a half years, hundreds of businesses were surveyed which showed immediate and serious impacts to firms in and around Beaverton, including current and future revenue impact, staff/coverage concerns, and disquiet to overall operations.
During this time, Chamber leadership and staff have integrated closely with the City of Beaverton economic development team fortify the Chamber’s Impact Beaverton program and launch the local Business Recovery Center.
“We’ve also worked closely with other Chambers in Washington County to help each other and to collaborate so south and west metro area firms and organizations could get the support they needed to stay strong during the pandemic,” added Wright.
Bermes comes to a financially sound and stable organization, with strength in its financial base and loyalty in its membership rolls. Recent membership growth and financials show the Chamber is operating with strong revenue and positive returns.
Local businesses can discover resources and programs for support and success at the Chamber’s Website, https://beaverton.org/. Business can also access the area’s Business Recovery Center at the Chamber at (503) 644-0123 or by emailing the Chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce
The BACC’s 6,363 members and 392 partners represent more 132,000 employees. The chamber is a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers and a champion of our community. BACC strategically leads business development and retention, advocates sound public policy and provides innovative member services to sustain and enhance our vibrant and diverse community. http://www.Beaverton.org.
Firefighters and Paramedics Begin Wearing More Sustainable Personal Protective Equipment
As part of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s continued efforts to protect first responders and patients from exposure and spread of COVID-19, our crews will begin using more sustainable personal protective equipment (PPE) on the majority of our medical calls, which will help reduce the consumption of PPE supplies that have been challenging to replenish.
When responding to most medical calls, community members may see our firefighter medics and paramedics wearing PPE that includes a ventilator mask, safety goggles, a face shield, gloves, and a Tyvek suit (see attached photo).
We understand that firefighters arriving in this protective equipment may come as a surprise to some, and we appreciate the community’s understanding as we make this transition with sustainability in mind. If you see one of our responders wearing this PPE, rest assure that the person under the gear is still the same caring and professional firefighter medic or paramedic who wants to help you or your loved one get the necessary medical attention they require.
The decision to shift to this PPE comes in response to the uncertainty of medical supply chains and the need to preserve the PPE we wear for the unknown amount of time that this pandemic will continue.
Request for PPE Donations
Due to continued national medical supply shortages, TVF&R is encouraging residents and local businesses to consider donating new, unused PPE.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our communities, our firefighter medics and paramedics need to wear specific gear on medical calls to help prevent exposure and spread of the highly contagious virus. Replenishing this gear has proven to be challenging, while vendors work as quickly as possible to fill orders but are unable to keep up with the unprecedented high demand.
We are asking the public to please consider donating new, unused PPE that you do not currently need. Items we are looking for include:
If you have any of these items that you are able to donate, please email email@example.com and include a description of what items you have and the quantity. Our Supply staff will then work with you to either schedule a pickup or arrange a delivery.
All donations are tax deductible; receipts can be provided upon request.
In order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, please continue to follow the direction of health officials and Governor Kate Brown’s executive order. Detailed COVID-19 information can be found at the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 website.
Dear Chamber partners and members – We are facing fluid and extraordinary times in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately in the best interest of you, your business, and our community, we are suspending all networking, meeting and programming events in person for the foreseeable future until further notice. This is not just about COVID-19, but doing our part to ensure there is capacity at our medical facilities to be able to assist with ALL illnesses. This is not about us as individuals but about protecting people with vulnerable immune/compromised systems and our friends and family over 60.
Our office will remain fully staffed and open as normal. We will continue to serve you. I am confident we will find innovative ways to encourage connections and business building in new and technological ways. We will continue to meet one on one and even get out more to you at your office during this time.
We are working on some virtual meeting options as well.
I am always available to you and would appreciate any and all input as we navigate these challenging times. Please call, email and stay in close touch. Let’s be proactive now and call things off for the short term so that this crisis is mitigated sooner rather than later and we can get back to business as usual. We greatly appreciate your patience and consideration.
Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation have been wonderful in helping us come to a mutual decision to reschedule their Coffee Connection – we thank you!
This is a true test of all of our leadership to ensure the Beaverton business community can navigate through this dramatic and challenging time. This too shall pass and we will be better individuals and businesses because of it.
Thank you –
Lorraine Clarno, President/CEO
January 28, 2020
Good evening Mayor, City Councilors – thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak this evening.
My name is Lorraine Clarno, I serve as the President/CEO of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce.
I am here this evening representing our Business Advocacy Council and Board of Directors.
We have been following the Charter Review process embarked on earlier this past fall and have done our best to stay up to speed the past few months on your discussions and ultimately, the recommended Charter changes being presented today in this second public hearing.
Beaverton has changed a great deal since the adopted Charter in 1980 and even since the Urban Renewal Charter Amendment in November of 2008. Beaverton as a community, prides itself on being pro-active and current. Successful business operates in a constant world of change and must be evolving and innovating regularly to remain relevant, efficient and ready for the future. To that end we thank you for doing your research and applaud your study to determine what form of government will be best for Beaverton going forward.
I have talked with many of our members and partners personally over the past weeks and we recently called for a special meeting of our Business Advocacy Council on this topic resulting in some great discussions. At this time we have more questions than answers and are not here tonight to advocate for or against the recommended City Manager/Strong Council form of government. In fact, without naming names here this evening, I was shocked at the number of very engaged business owners and operators that had no knowledge of this work being done.
Beaverton spent 5+ years collecting input and having dialogue with more than 10,000 citizens to develop the Community Visioning plan which has served us so well. When working on the Charter Amendment in 2007 to allow for Urban Renewal I can personally recall a tremendous amount of community outreach and informational sessions many of us participated in to ensure its successful passage. What’s before you this evening is a complete Charter/Constitutional overhaul and this is the second public hearing.
Being fully transparent with you this evening, many of those we’ve spoken with agree that it is time to consider a professional city manager model for Beaverton. What started as a language clean up and look at moving to a PT ceremonial mayor/city manager model has resulted in what is a complex hybrid model of Fulltime Mayor/Strong Council. The timing and rush concerns them. There are significant budgetary implications in the Charter draft if passed and yet no discussion around what that is or could be.
If your intention this evening is to move this forward for the May ballot, we would ask you to reconsider and look at the November 2020 election ballot. It would give more time for us to understand why this is good for business – our primary focus. It would give more time to get voters up to speed and understand any needs for change. And, finally, November would allow for more inclusive conversations and you would have a much more diverse electorate deciding on what is best for Beaverton’s future.
We are here tonight as a partner, to ask for more time to engage the community, get questions answered, and ultimately see a successful campaign that passes the first time to lay the foundation for Beaverton’s future.
What are the benefits to the citizens of Beaverton in making this change?
Will this streamline or make it more difficult for businesses to build businesses and create livable wage jobs for the citizens of Beaverton?
How will this change impact the collaboration required of our Beaverton City Leadership with the various special districts, Washington County, Metro, etc.?
If approved, how would the transition truly work given that we have candidates filed to run for positions that may actually change before they are even elected or take their seat.
What are the costs of this change to the taxpayers? The current version of the City Charter being proposed includes the addition of a new City Councilor, a new City Manager, undefined numbers of support staff as needed for the mayor and the Council while not addressing the compensation expenses directly of all of the moving parts other than to give the Council full authority to set the pay levels of all of the above.