There has been a business association on Division since the early 1930s. For years, the Division Merchants Association periodically became inactive until a crisis called it back into action.
In the 1970s, the City of Portland planned to tear down the housing and businesses along Clinton and neighboring streets to put in an eight-lane freeway south to Gresham, which would turn Division into a frontage road. The City purchased and emptied properties, businesses left, and the area deteriorated. The residents and businesses rose in active rebellion, and eventually the City cancelled the project, using the funds to build a light rail system on the west side of the Willamette River.
In the early 1980s, the City rezoned a number of business properties on Division from commercial to residential, complicating the process of rebuilding commerce and in 1986, Nick Sauvie, a Vista volunteer assigned to SE Uplift, reorganized the Division Street Merchants Association.
In January of 1997, the Division Street Merchants changed its name to Division/Clinton Business Association to officially acknowledge the business community on SE Clinton Street as an active part of the association.