Citizen of the Year

Honoring outstanding contributions in the Gateway community!

Citizen of the Year Award

Since 2001, the Citizen of the Year annual award has honored outstanding contributions in the Gateway community. The recipient demonstrates commitment to the community, advancing its commercial, economic, financial, industrial, safety and civic interests.


Plaque Listing all of GABA’s “Citizen of the Year” Recipients Photo by David F. Ashton (

They meet and cooperate with governmental agencies on matters of concern to business and support area Neighborhood Associations and groups. They are outstanding supporters of Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) and the community.

Previous Gateway Citizens of the Year are: Jane Baker, Mary Doherty and Carolyn Schell, Michael Wieseman, Cliff Jensen, Iris Newhouse, Jacob Mosbrucker, Fred Sanchez, Barbara Rommel, Jeff Merkley, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, Amanda Fritz, Michael Gallagher and Friends of Gateway Green.


GABA’s Time Honored Tradition Continues in 2015

Congratulations to Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray!

The Gateway Area Business Association has overwhelmingly nominated Dr. Karen Fischer Gray as Gateway’s 2015 Citizen of the Year.  The award will be presented at the First Responder’s Tribute / Business Fair event on Sept 10th, 2015.  The program begins at 5:30pm and the Citizen of the Year award ceremony will appear on the program at about 7pm!

Dr. Karen Fischer Gray has been serving the Portland community for some time, and has 32 years in education.  Karen has been a steadfast advocate and voice for East Portland students and their families.  Under Karen’s leadership, Parkrose School District helped students increase their test scores, built a LEED-certified beautiful new middle school, and adapted in order to better welcome Parkrose’s diverse families. Parkrose not only offers personal meetings, tailored to the specific cultural needs of students and their families, but the school district has also served as a center for vibrant cultural events in the community.  Dr Gray was also the winner of a 2014 Spirit of Portland Award.

Read more and contact Dr Gray at the Parkrose School District website.

Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray - Photo by David Ashton (

Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray
– Photo by David Ashton (

A long time supporter of the community and GABA, we smiled when we found a photo of Dr. Gray giving the Citizen of the Year award to Commissioner Amanda Fritz in 2011.

COY-Dr Karen Gray

Citizen of the Year Dr. Karen Fisher Gray Awarding Amanda Fritz in 2011



– David Douglas Superintendent Don Cotting

At Gateway Area Business Association’s September meeting, Superintendent Don Grotting was honored as 2014 Gateway Citizen of the Year.  He has served David Douglas School District since 2010.  Grotting believes that all students, regardless of ethnicity or poverty, can and will succeed. David Douglas is a diverse school district. More than 70 languages are spoken by students as their first language; a majority of students are either an ethnic minority or first spoke a language other than English; and more than 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.  For Grotting, these all represent opportunities, not obstacles. When Assistant Superintendent Dan Richardson and Don’s wife, Lisa were asked for gift suggestions, they said he’d appreciate contributions to the “DD Shoes for Students” drive.  Rather than an engraved clock, a restaurant gift card or something personal, they knew Don would want something useful for his kids. Such an attitude typifies the Superintendent’s caring character. The District office staff collects shoes for kids who might need an upgrade and GABA came onboard, collecting more than $2500 in donations of cash and gift cards.


2014 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR – David Douglas Superintendent Don Cotting


2013 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR – Friends of Gateway Green

Friends of Gateway Green

GABA (Gateway Area Business Association) has selected Friends of Gateway Green as the winner of the thirteenth annual Gateway Citizen of the Year Award!  The volunteer Board members at Friends of Gateway Green (Linda Robinson, Tom Archer, Ted Gilbert, Jim Labbe, Jeff Shindler and Will Heiberg) were chosen because they epitomize a great partnership between business interests and neighborhood activists. The Gateway Green project, a proposed park on the property between the I-205 and I-84 interstate highways near the base of Rocky Butte, started as a grassroots effort by a few citizens nearly eight years ago. As the project has developed, the Friends group has formed partnerships with more than 40 organizations — government, nonprofits and the private sector. Gateway Green is intended to provide much-needed open space and recreation in a part of Portland documented to be park deficient. Supporters also believe this park will aid in developing a strong sense of place and identity for East Portland and help spur economic development in the area.  Please follow along as this project has made huge strides recently!


Linda Robinson and Arlene Kimura receive the 2010 Citizen of the Year Award from GABA’s Fred Sanchez - Photo Credit David F. Ashton (

Linda Robinson and Arlene Kimura receive the 2010 Citizen of the Year Award from GABA’s Fred Sanchez
– Photo Credit David F. Ashton (




Former Gateway Citizens of the Year


Member of the Year 2017 Fred Sanchez

Tom Badrick officially bestows GABA “Person of the Year 2017” honors to Fred Sanchez.


2017 Fred Sanchez


2015 Dr. Karen Fischer Gray

2014 Don Cotting

2013 Friends of Gateway Green

2012  Michael Gallagher

2011  Amanda Fritz

2010  Hazelwood Neighborhood Association

2009  Jeff Merkley

2007  Fred Sanchez

2008  Barbara Rommel

2006  Jacob Mosbrucker

2005  Iris Newhouse

2004  Cliff Jensen

2003  Michael Wieseman

2002  Mary Doherty & Carolyn Schell

2001  Jane Baker