For Immediate Release, Aug 24th, 2020
Bend, Or - The Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA), a small nonprofit dedicated to increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend, announced today that it has created a Cultural Awareness and Social Diversity Coordinator position to serve as an ex-officio on their Board of Directors. This role will coordinate and guide efforts to define, assess, foster and cultivate diversity and inclusion in Downtown Bend.
To drive this effort, the DBBA has named Riccardo Waites as the organization’s first Cultural Awareness and Social Diversity Coordinator.
Waites is a naval submarine veteran, single father, small business owner, and Founder of Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly (COBLA).
Back in 2019, Bend City Councilors unanimously approved goals for the 2019 – 2021 biennium that included, for the first time, actions focused on “embedding a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the City of Bend.” At the time when this goal was established, the DBBA was in full support of these efforts and they also began working with city staff in their efforts to make Bend a Welcoming City.
Since this time, our world has shifted and changed in more ways than one and we are seeing now more than ever the need to bring experts on this diversity and inclusion into every level of leadership. In establishing this new position, the DBBA wants to communicate that Downtown Bend is for everyone, that Black Lives Matter, and that we welcome and honor people of all races, ethnicity, culture, country of origin, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender, language, socioeconomic status, emotional, developmental and physical ability.
In April, the DBBA partnered with OUT Central Oregon to encourage local businesses to display a "You are Welcome Here" sticker on their windows. Next month, you’ll see “Downtown is for Everyone” in white, yellow, brown, black and rainbow letters on Downtown Bend Directory Maps.
“It is important to our organization that people who live in our community, and those who visit us, know that it doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is, or who they love, Downtown is a place for everyone.” says Aisling, Executive Director of the DBBA.
Waites hopes to bring a sense of inclusion, safety, and more businesses of color to Downtown.
Downtown Bend was established in 1903, and for over a 100 years has served as the heart of the Bend community. Downtown serves as Bend’s living room, the entrepreneurial hub of the city, the City’s largest collective employer, and the #1 tourist destination in Central Oregon. Downtown offers unique boutiques, award-winning restaurants, state-of-the-art beauty and spa services, and high-quality entertainment venues.
Downtown welcomes everyone to enjoy all that their district has to offer.
The Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) and Business for Bend Film hosted a Downtown Business Merchant Meeting at the Tin Pan Theatre this morning, Thursday Feb 6th, 2020. Today’s guest was Melissa King and Aaron Switzer with Lay it Out Events (LIOE). About 35 business owners attended the meeting to learn about changes to Fallfest, Summerfest and the Bite of Bend.
The informal presentation by Aaron Switzer and Q & A session that followed was positive, constructive, and was met with extreme gratitude from local merchants.
The meeting ended with a resounding applause.
“Lay it Out Event’s staff is here and they accept hugs,” joked Mindy Aisling, Executive Directory of the DBBA, in response to the overwhelming acknowledgement of the positive changes that LIOE had presented.
These changes include:
Questions from the engaged audience included, but were not limited to:
Q: Will you be able change the placement of vendors so that a competing vendor isn't right in front of my store?
Q: Is there a way that we can still get our deliveries during these events?
Q: Can I have my own booth in front of my business?
A: Yes, and we'll give you a discounted rate
Q: Is there a cost for all of the new integration tools your suggesting (scavenger hunts, art of song, full downtown page in the event guide)?
After asking half a dozen questions, one business manager exclaimed, "I can't believe it, you've solved all of the problems we've been having during these festivals. This is amazing."
The final comment of the meeting was from a long-time business owner in Downtown Bend, “I’ve been here for 20 years, and these festivals have always been a burden for my business. I’ve never experienced collaboration like this, and I’m incredibly pleased with this development.”
The Downtown Bend Business Association is a small nonprofit committed to increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend. For a full scope of work, click here.
Join the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA), Lay it Out Events (LIOE), and Bend Film on Thursday, February 6th at 8:30am to discuss the 2020 event season in Downtown Bend.
Over 2018 and 2019, the DBBA has been advocating for business concerns around the multi-day street closures and event policies and procedures in Downtown Bend. Currently, LIOE is the only company holding multi-day festivals in the district. As such, they have listened to the concerns of the business community and responded with 14 purposed changes.
These changes are as follows:
1. LIOE to provide a downtown liaison position to address access issues, support joint marketing efforts and work with LIOE staff to provide for and accommodate a business’s ‘day-of’ needs.
2. LIOE to rotate the stage at Bite of Bend and move the main stage for Fall and Summerfest
3. LIOE to, as code allows, redo layouts to move vendors to the center of the street
4. LIOE to require all event and vendor staff to park off-site and outside of the EID
5. LIOE to provide deeper cleaning post-festival
6. LIOE to provide pre and post-festival meetings with the City and the DBBA
7. LIOE to launch a new app featuring downtown retailer discounts, free to DBBA members for the first year
8. LIOE to design scavenger hunts on this app to drive traffic
9. LIOE to offer stage time, free of charge, to the DBBA and community groups
10. LIOE to conduct surveys at select events and share data with retailers
11. LIOE to facilitate ‘Art of the Song’ workshops (scheduling festival performers to play at local businesses within the EID pre and post-festival.
12. LIOE to work with downtown businesses on sidewalk sale promotions
13. LIOE to provide an after-festival party promotion
14. LIOE to provide dedicated media for Downtown lit – full-page guide ads, separate social media, posters, and logistical support.
Join us for coffee and pastries, provided by Looney Bean Cafe, some fun Bend Film previews and hear all about how the 2020 event season in Downtown Bend is going to be the most successful one yet!
This meeting is open to the public. Please join us at the Tin Pan Theatre, 869 NW Tin Pan Alley in Downtown Bend. (Click here for a map to this location)
As you may be aware, April is national child abuse prevention month, and KIDS Center joins in this prevention movement by participating in the Blue Ribbon Campaign. Typically, at the end of March, KIDS Center staff and volunteers go throughout the tri-counties delivering pinned Blue Ribbon, Blue Ribbon Posters, and Blue Ribbon Newsletters to businesses and organizations that want to promote child abuse prevention. For more information about the Blue Ribbon Campaign, please visit our website at kidscenter.org.
This year the KIDS Center has partnered with the Downtown Bend Business Association to have a presence at April’s First Friday Art Walk. Several galleries will be inviting artists to create a piece of art for that night and KIDS Center and MountainStar will have a table set up in one of the galleries.
Our goal is that on April 3rd, First Friday, all businesses open their doors to show support for Child Abuse Prevention through the Blue Ribbon Campaign.
This can be done in many ways:
- Decorate storefront window in all blue
- Have employees wear blue
- Provide information about the Blue Ribbon throughout your business via rack cards at counter, posters in window, etc.
- Have a cup of pinned blue ribbons at the counter for customers to wear (employees can wear them as well)
- Any other creative venture you would like to do!
Any printed promotional piece will be provided by KIDS Center along with a cup of blue ribbons. Additionally, if your business is wanting more information about KIDS Center, they will come and provide a 20 – 30 minute presentation on our mission, services, and the importance of the Blue Ribbon Campaign in our community.
If you are interested, please let the KIDS Center know via email or phone.
Current participating business include:
Thank you for taking the time and the effort to keep our children safe and show a united and strong community that support kids!
Downtown Bend First Friday Art Walk has gone Green!
Let's face it - we all love our planet, so let's take care of it! By purchasing an Art Walk cup for $5, you can help Downtown Bend reduce the amount of single use cups that used and sent to the landfill every month. These cups are reusable every month!
The Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) extends a huge "THANK YOU" to Patagonia Bend for spearheading this project.
"It wonderful when we can all work together to create a better Bend!" says Mindy Aisling, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, "We love it when our businesses bring us great ideas like this one!"
Patagonia’s mission statement says it best, “we’re in business to save our home planet”. Through their efforts to reduce waste during the Bend Artwalk, they hope to encourage participants to take further action for our planet. As a community of forward thinkers and environmental activists, the DBBA, Patagonia and other participating businesses hope that this action can spread to other events in the community.
We are asking you, Bend, to help reduce waste in our community! Pick up your Art Walk cup at one of the following locations:
If you're a Downtown Bend business and you'd like to sell these amazing Art Walk cups, contact us.
The Doubletree Hotel sits on the edge of the Downtown Bend Economic Improvement District (EID), providing Bend visitors with excellent hospitality and a front door that leads right into the heart of Bend, our downtown.
This access is provided by a long staircase from the Doubletree property to Lava Rd. This year, the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) and the Doubletree Hotel brought the condition of this staircase to the attention of the City of Bend, who owns the property.
The City of Bend quickly responded and they were able to complete the project before winter set it. The Downtown Bend Business Association and the Doubletree Hotel would like to extend their appreciation to the City of Bend for helping visitors access the Downtown Bend boutiques, spas and restaurants owned by local Bend families!
BendTel is a locally owned and operated telecommunications company with a mission to provide Central Oregon customers with the highest quality communication services at affordable prices. They are a full service, facilities based, Competitive Local Exchange Company (CLEC), that has been focused on providing voice, long distance, data, Gigabit Internet and hosting services to businesses in the Central Oregon area since 2003.
BendTel is constantly working on expanding their Gigabit Fiber Internet footprint throughout downtown and adjacent areas. Their use of Gigabit Bandwidth Internet and the latest cutting-edge technology recently earned them an award at the 2019 Oregon Connections Telecommunications conference. They were awarded for their “Excellence in Telecommunications Projects and Regional/Local Strategies” for developing and implanting innovative projects that provide better access, reliability and affordability to telecommunication services.
BendTel is also the official sponsor of the annual Downtown Bend Celebration Night that happens every May and the WiFi sponsor of Bend Oktoberfest. Both of these events are fundraisers for the local nonprofit, The Downtown Bend Business Association. BendTel is a key asset to the health and vitality of Downtown Bend – and it’s not just about the direct services they provide. Because of BendTel’s support for Downtown Bend, we are able to have things like flower baskets and Holiday decorations!
Right now, BendTel is offering an exclusive deal for DBBA Members! This offer includes a Sangoma IP Phone –featuring Voicemail to Email & Find Me/Follow Me, gFiber Internet (50x10Mbps) with reliable service and guaranteed speeds on their multi-gigabit capable gFiber network and bHosted Managed Voice – backed by their local support team. Plus, when you sign up, you’ll get the first month for free!
Call BendTel today, and join the DBBA/BendTel Team! You’ll be glad that you did.
The Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) is a small nonprofit dedicated to increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend.
In addition to our other services, we are the 100% responsible for the cleanliness and beautification of the Downtown Bend economic improvement district (EID).
Our scope of work includes, but is not limited to:
We would like to extend a huge “Thank you!” to our staff, board, volunteers, donors and community partners for helping us keep Downtown Bend beautiful! By being committed to positive communication, community support, and a shared love for Downtown Bend, we can continue to keep our Downtown vibrant and thriving!
We are excited about several new Downtown Bend beautification projects we have coming up, stay posted to learn about all the great stuff that we have in store for Downtown Bend!
The Downtown Bend Parking Advisory Committee (DPAC) has announced a partnership with Deschutes County and the City of Bend to provide access to free public parking at the Deschutes County Administration building parking lots on weekends and during special events. The Deschutes County Administration building parking lots, located between Wall Street, Lafayette Ave and Olney Ave, contain as many parking stalls as the Downtown Bend parking garage on Lava Rd and Oregon Ave. DPAC anticipates that utilizing these parking lots at the Deschutes County Administration building, during the busy summer tourist and special event season, will allow more people to easily access Downtown Bend. The parking lots will be available from Friday evening after 6pm to Sunday night.
“Downtown Bend is one of the greatest assets of our City, and currently we are seeing parking reach capacity during our popular events and attractions”, says Aisling, Executive Director for the Downtown Bend Business Association, “This partnership will allow more people to experience our vibrant Downtown with ease.”
The Deschutes County parking lots are only 3 blocks from the core of Downtown Bend, with well-lit sidewalks on both sides of the road, making it easily walk-able to and from Downtown Bend. For those who would rather catch a ride or require mobility assistance, DPAC has partnered with Ride Bend, a free shuttle service that operates 12pm to 8pm daily July 1st through Labor Day. Ride Bend operates a ten-passenger shuttle van that riders can request on demand using the new Ride Bend app.
“Commute Options is excited to add a new park and walk option for folks to easily attend exciting happenings in Downtown Bend." said Kim Curley, with Commute Options and member of the DPAC, "Carpoolers can access free parking off the Bend Parkway and Wall Street and take an enjoyable walk to downtown. Ride Bend adds additional accessibility for families and individuals with disabilities.”
The DPAC was created based on the goals outlined in the Downtown Strategic Parking Management Plan adopted by Bend City Council on June 7th, 2017. The committee is responsible for outlining, advocating, and initiating decisions that will improve and maintain a vital transportation system for the City of Bend, and create a model that can be used city-wide for the betterment of the entire community.
Scott Douglass, CEO of Cascade Relays and member of the DPAC, said “Parking demands are at their highest during our busy tourist season and especially during special events. Through this partnership with Deschutes County, we are providing convenient free parking to the public within a few blocks of Downtown Bend.”
We are proud to report that there are several areas of alignment between the 2019-21 Downtown Bend Business Association's Goals and the 2019-21 Council Goals and Strategies. One of these aligned goals is to address livability crimes in the Downtown area. A key step in this effort is increased patrols in the Downtown Economic Improvement District (EID) with Bend Police School Resource Officers during the busy summer season. Earlier this week Bend Police Department officers, City of Bend staff, and the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) took a walk through the Downtown Bend EID. You can expect to see these increased patrols within the EID in the coming week.
A common question we hear from business and building owners in Downtown Bend is when to report a crime, especially if it’s already happened or no one was there to witness it. Bend PD tracks crime data and has a team of officers that focuses on trouble spots. Even after the fact, you can log crime issues via the Police Department’s non-emergency number at 541-693-6911 or online by clicking here. Of course, if a crime is still in progress or there’s an emergency, please call 911!
"The Downtown Bend Business Association's number one priority is to assure the people feel safe and welcomed in Downtown Bend." says Aisling, Executive Director of the DBBA, "This year we were proud to be instrumental in getting the Downtown Bend Police Substation established, and this summer, in addition to working with the City of Bend, Bend Police Department, and Security Pros, we are also piloting our new Downtown Ambassador program. We anticipate great results, and we are grateful to be able to provide our community and visitors with an outstanding experience in Downtown Bend."
Downtown Bend remains year after year the number one tourist destination in Bend, it is also currently the largest employer in Bend, as well as the City's civic center and cultural core. With thousands upon thousands of people utilizing Downtown on a daily basis, providing a safe and welcoming culture is key to the vitality of our city.