It was another busy week at the DBBA. We worked closely with the City of Bend to get new parking signs installed all around the district. This is just the first of many steps to make parking in Downtown Bend easier, more intuitive and user friendly. We also requested easy-to-read graphics from the City of Bend so that we had the tools we needed to communicate about parking in Downtown Bend. We received these assets and added them to our Google Drive of assets that we provide all businesses in the EID district. These assets include all Downtown Bend logos, Downtown photos, Art Walk logos, COVID19 resources, and more.
We finalized all of the ads for The Source Weekly's Downtown Holiday Shopping Guide this week, and we continued to use our social media channels to promote Downtown Bend and all of our local businesses.
This week we did a lot of background work and really began to dig into future planning and preparing for the next EID cycle. If you don't know, the EID stands for "Economic Improvement District" and it's one of the way's that the DBBA is funded. The DBBA also runs revenue generating program and engages in fundraising efforts in order to provide Downtown with more support and beautification. Staff worked this week on preparing program budgets for the next three years as well as planning a reimagined Oktoberfest for 2021.
We also began working on our Downtown Banner Program for 2021, reaching out to people and organizations that might want to reserve space in 2021 and getting them on the banner schedule. We manage about 100 banner poles in Downtown Bend. This includes all of the sales, maintenance, billing, installation, removal and scheduling for this program - which is pretty cumbersome. It's an incredibly robust program. We are happy to be able to provide this service to our community, plus serves as one of the revenue generating programs that help provide for Downtown's vitality.
We successfully rolled out our Digital Downtown Dollars/eGift Card program this week - and in just 4 days we already had 30 business signed up and had sold 10 certificates. We anticipate this program being a huge success and we are excited about going out and getting sponsorship for sales incentives to help us drive more traffic into Downtown Bend.
Of course, not a week goes by that we are no out on the street keeping Downtown Bend clean and presentable. We are proud to work every week towards our mission of increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend!
Last week DBBA staff and board observed the Thanksgiving Holiday, so there was no weekly update. We did, however, continue to serve our stakeholders throughout the Holiday, as we continued to make sure that Downtown Bend stayed clean, top-of-mind to guests, and moving forward to increase vitality in the district.
As you know, DBBA provides daily cleaning, graffiti removal and security checks throughout the EID, every day, 365 days per year. It's more than just cleaning, though, -- it's communication and collaboration.
For example, see the three images below. In the first image shows abandoned personal items - which we've seen an increase in recently as livability issues have risen in our community in response to the pandemic. As we see an increase in these types of things - we reach out to our partners at Bend Police Department to make sure that any items of value are returned to their owners, to let police know the areas of Downtown where we are see sleeping/living behaviors, and of course, we clean up an trash, human waste, and debris in the area.
In the second image shows an overflowing trash can. In this situation, in addition to cleaning up the area, we contact Bend Garbage not only to request an additional pick up if there are multiple cans overflowing, but to engage them in a conversation about the 'broken window theory' and how important it is to monitor changes in the community and respond to them quickly and efficiently to keep downtown thriving. Even though we don't hold the trash-pick-up contract with Bend Garbage (that is held by the City of Bend and Bend Garbage picks up all of the Downtown cans for free), we are the entity that manages the vendor relationship. (Vendor management is just another one of the services our association provides).
The final picture is of a street light that was broken during the overnight hours. In addition to cleaning up this mess, we contact Security Pros to see if their patrols or the garage cameras saw anyone throwing something off the garage, and we contact the City of Bend and put in a service request to have the light replaced.
We realize that it's not just the immediate remedy that matters - it's working together with community partners to eliminate unwanted behaviors and situations before they begin.
This week, we continued to install lights and decorations around Downtown Bend. With the lift we installed more twinkle lights in the tree canopies along the streets of Downtown Bend, and we finished up installing lit snowflakes, wreaths, skies and ribbons throughout the district.
Downtown Bend real estate pamphlet boxes have been an ongoing conversation in Downtown Bend. About 2 years ago, we met with the City of Bend with a request to create an ordinance allowing us to manage these boxes within the Downtown Bend Economic Improvement District (EID). At that time we were told that the COB wasn't interested in assisting us to take these steps, and the City requested that we improve our management of the boxes for the duration of one year and then come back to them with our request. So, given those instructions, we documented the location and owner of each box and for the past 1.5 years, we've been in communication with each box owner about maintain their unit. Our plan is to go back to the City during the next EID term to once again request assistance in creating a system that will allow us to monitor the look, feel, quantity and care of any pamphlet and advertising boxes within our district. The images below show just one of the issues that arises from having these units in Downtown Bend. In these photos, as you can see, the units have been emptied and the pamphlets littered throughout Downtown Bend.
DBBA staff continued to focus on marketing to promote our Downtown during on of the most challenging years that we have seen. Working on daily posts & stories, reaching out to merchants to learn of their sales, coupons and special offers, promoting those items, creating new features on our downtownbend.org website, working with Bend Radio Group on trade options, working with The Source to provide a holiday shopping guide, working with Bend Marketplace and Visit Bend to promote Downtown - and so much more. We continue to stay committed to doing everything within our power to keep our businesses open and profitable.
Finally, we continued to advocate at a local, state and federal level in regards to OLCC laws, proposed taxes, stimulus packages and more. We are here to take the power of our collective voices and put it to work to help our business community succeed.
If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please reach out to us.
It was another wonderful week supporting small businesses in Downtown Bend! Our mission is the increase the vitality of Downtown Bend, and DBBA staff and board once again worked tirelessly at this mission.
We also had a ton of fun putting together the community tree lighting for Bend. This event is always one of the highlights of the year for DBBA staff.
"I can't help it," says Mindy Aisling, DBBA Executive Director, "I tear up at every community tree lighting. There is just something so magical and small-town about Santa counting down to the lighting of the community tree with the citizens our our community."
This year, because of COVID19, the community tree lighting (like everything else) had to be re-imagined. In years past, the community tree lighting has been a big party, where local Bend families come out to visit with Santa, drink local beer, sing songs, and light the community tree together. For 2020, the Community tree lighting is going virtual. DBBA staff worked with Mayor Russell, Bob Shaw and Santa to pre-record the tree lighting and have it played on KTVZ on Friday, 11/27, so that the community could count down to the lighting of the tree from the comfort and safety of their homes. For more information, click here.
This week we also continued to work on the Shop Small Passport Event to drive traffic to local businesses. This year we are once again registered as a Neighborhood Champion with American Express, which allows us to receive free swag that we can give out to participants. We worked to get all these goodies out, we continued to promote on our social media, and we made sure that our stores at the supplies they needed.
As we mentioned in a previous weekly update, we are passing on savings so that businesses can market themselves at a discounted rate in the Downtown Bend Holiday Guide that will publish in The Source on 12/10. We are also creating a full centerpiece spread with photos of our local merchants and families and the messaging will say "Shopping local supports local Bend families" - or something similar. We are working hard to spread the message that shopping local matters!
Meeting with the wonderful women who are running the new North West Crossing (NWX) Business Association was a delight. We discussed a plethora of ways to collaborate for the good of our community. With a powerful belief that collaboration works better than competition we set forward on a path to include not only our two districts, but other shopping districts, such as The Box Factory and Old Mill to unite for a common good. By working together, we can make sure that planned events don't overlap, that promotions and event compliment each other, and that we are able to offer each other wisdom, experience and support.
This week was also the DBBA Board of Directors meeting. The DBBA Board of Directors meets every month on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, and is open to the public. To follow along with our agenda and minutes, click here. If you'd like to attend the next board meeting, click here to be added to the calendar invite. This month we had a guest speaker from Yiftee, a digital gift card program, and the board and staff decided to move forward to test the public and business participation of an online option for our currently paper-only Downtown Dollar program. We are excited to roll this out, and (if all goes as planned) we'll have some exciting updates for you in regards to this program and future sponsorship!
Oregon Mainstreet is a organization that we are grateful to be a part of every single day. Collaborating with other downtown districts, and sharing mutual benefits is a powerful component to increasing the vitality of our downtown district. This week, Oregon Mainstreet offer a series of webinars on funding. This kind of valuable education is just one of the benefits we receive from Oregon Mainstreet. The DBBA board and staff are taking a long, deep look at funding for the organization in preparation for the EID renewal in Spring 2021. If you have any questions about DBBA funding, please feel free to reach out to us.
We've been meeting with the newly elected councilors for Bend City Council, and we are looking forward to working with them to build a strong downtown for years to come. This past week we met with Melanie Kebler to talk about funding, beautification, water conservation, parking, open streets, future Holiday programs to increase tourism, & more.
In 2018, the DBBA Executive Director met with all of the business and building owners who were willing to sit down and talk about what they wanted for Downtown Bend and how they felt that the DBBA could support that vision. One thing that we heard was that our stakeholders wanted more advocacy and resources. We have worked diligently at supplying these things both pre and post COVID19. This week we once again communicated with our stakeholders on how to participate in advocacy for their industry and how to receive support for themselves and their staff.
Last but not least, we continued to decorate Downtown Bend for the holidays. As mentioned in a previous post, this year we upgraded all of our wreaths to include solar-paneled warm white twinkle lights, and we're loving the way they look!
The Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA) is a small nonprofit
dedicated to increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend.
As temperatures began to dip (and we even saw a bit of snow!), the DBBA continued to work hard to keep downtown running ship-shape! This week we'd like to talk a little bit about our daily work, that often doesn't get noticed. We like to feature special projects that we are working on in these updates, but much of the work that we do is done daily.
For example, we provide excellent everyday customer service - this means that we answer questions and provide guidance - responding to phone calls, emails, website forms and (in non-COVID times) office drop-by's to help drive traffic into Downtown Bend. This includes answering questions about directions, parking, specific businesses, products, restaurants, and all sorts of other things. In some ways, we operate as Downtown's visitor's center.
We also provide marketing for Downtown Bend every single day. This means posts on our social media, engagement and comment management on social media & content creation for all of our platforms. We also do 100% of our website management in-house, and we are working every day to improve our website and better reflect our businesses and downtown community.
On-the-street cleaning, litter-removal, sidewalk sweeping, graffiti and sticker removal, and business safety checks are all services that we perform every single day, 365 days per year.
And that's not all - we also run the Downtown Dollars program every day - issuing, mailing and delivering Downtown Dollar gift certificates to keep money flowing into our Downtown.
With a staff of only 2.5 people, we accomplish a tremendous amount of work. All of these daily services are provided plus special projects, events, decorations, advocacy and more! The Downtown Bend Business Association is committed to increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend!
Much of our time and energy this week was spent launching our Small Business Passport Event and collecting and creating prize baskets for the winners. This event takes an abundance of labor to put together and make possible, but we are happy to report that it has officially been launched and we are excited to see people in downtown getting their passports stamped.
We can't wait to raffle off our six prize baskets with amazing products and gift cards from our local merchants. The raffle will take place on Small Business Saturday, November 28th, 2020.
We would like to thank all of our participating merchants who made this event possible.
Unfortunately we had to cancel our Wreath Spruce-up Ball due to the increasing numbers of COVID19. This event would have allowed a group of volunteers to come together and beautify the wreaths that hang in Downtown Bend.
As many of us have had to do in a multititle of ways since COVID19, this was a quick plot shift and the DBBA had to shift gears quickly to find a way to get a plethora of wreaths cleaned, fluffed, and redecorated so that they could be installed in Downtown Bend.
DBBA Staff and Board rallied together to make this happen. This included board and staff taking wreaths home to complete the job. We'd like to give a big shout-out to aos Skincare and Spa and The Wine Shoppe in Downtown Bend - two businesses and board members who really came to the rescue - taking wreaths home to decorate and then bringing them back to be installed in Downtown Bend. Thank you!
This week, we were also happy to provide all of our merchants the opportunity to advertise at a discounted rate in the The Downtown Bend Holiday Gift Guide in The Source. Every year we provide this service, and it always creates a great booklet that features the best of Downtown Bend.
Working with local advertisers to get great rates for our businesses is one of the services we love to offer. DBBA staff also often puts on their 'sales' hats to sell advertising (whether it's in a publication, on a kiosk, for an event, or for our banner program). We are committed to not only finding & providing the best rates to promote our Downtown businesses, but also in increasing DBBA streams of revenue to supplement our EID funding.
We also prepared for winter snow removal in Downtown Bend by getting our snow blowers into the shop to have their regular maintenance completed, making sure that all of our snow shovels, & supplies were ready to go and stocking up on necessities like ice melt!
In the photo on the left you can see DBBA staff removing snow by the fountain on the corner of Lava and Minnesota in Downtown Bend. The DBBA has two snow blowers, and ATV with a snow plow and a plethora of snow shovels to make sure that downtown sidewalks stay clear no matter how much snow falls.
The DBBA's mission is to increase the vitality of Downtown Bend!
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It was a great week at the DBBA with some interesting plot twists and fun challenges. We love serving our Downtown!
We hosted a merchant meeting with the Bend Police Department that was really informative and helped merchants and Bend PD collaborate to keep Downtown Bend running smoothly. We'd like to extend a big THANK YOU to Bend Police Chief, Mike Krantz, for his passion for Downtown Bend, and his desire for working hand-in-hand with the DBBA and Downtown merchants. We love community team work! If you have questions about the meeting or would like to view the video, please contact us.
The DBBA Board of Directors appointed Waites to the board in September (you can read more about that here). Together they have been working on creating internships for people of color in Downtown Bend, improving the inclusivity of Downtown marketing and social media, taking the first steps to create a 'safe space' program, and much more. You can see their inclusion plan and goals below.
This year has been really challenging when it comes to planning the Holiday Experience in Downtown Bend. I think we can all admit that COVID19 is a real bummer. The Christmas Parade, free visits with Santa, Ladies Night, the Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl - all of these have been canceled due to the government restrictions. Other events have been re-imagined to allow for safety measures to still be met during the event and/or the events of gone virtual. This week we had some major 'plot twists' that came up with community partners, locations and hosts that had us rushing to change our plans. We are happy to announce, however, that we were able to shift gears quickly and we are on track with the Shop Small Passport Event, Community Tree Lighting, and our Community Video Project.
The DBBA is the sole organization responsible for decorating Downtown Bend for the holiday season. This is an unusual situation. You don't usually find a business association shouldering the full funding and implementation of holiday decorating in a town. We are hoping to hang lit snowflakes on every historic lamppost and wrap every tree with holiday lights, but as of today, the City of Bend has not yet repaired the outlets on some of the historic poles and in all of the tree wells for us to be able to get the electricity required to provide more festive winter lighting in Downtown Bend throughout the Winter months. We are hoping to work together to get these outlets fixed so that we can provide our Community with an excellent 2020 Holiday experience in Downtown Bend. We are also looking for snowflake sponsors - click here if you're interested in contributing. (Thanks!)
On the street this week we continue to install twinkle light canopies in all of the the trees of Downtown Bend. This is one of our communities favorite features - and we are happy to provide it. We also want to give another shout out to Elite Electrical for loaning us their lift. As a small nonprofit the work that we do would be impossible without donations and community partnerships like this. Thank you, Elite Electrical! In the photos below, DBBA staff use the lift to install twinkle lights throughout the Downtown Bend Economic Improvement District (EID).
Shop Small Saturday kicks off this weekend! Normally, Shop Small Saturday takes place on a single day as a big shopping event in Downtown Bend. Due to the current global pandemic, this year we'll be giving participants three full weeks to fill their passports. This will help everyone spread out and stay safe, and allow us to follow all state guidelines.
PLUS - This year you can participate in the Shop Small Passport Event online! For more info, click here.
We'd like to extend our congratulations and gratitude to new elected leaders and our past elected leaders. Welcome to City Council, Anthony, Melanie, Rita and Megan - we look forward to working with you! Welcome Jason Kropf, we look forward to working with you! And a big shout out and deep gratitude to Chris Piper, Bill Mosely and Cheri Helt who worked closely with our association to bring positive changes to local businesses. We are incredibly grateful for all of our local leaders!
Finally, a big THANK YOU to our community and our stakeholders for your ongoing support for the work we do to increase the vitality of Downtown Bend! We couldn't do it without your support!
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It was another great week of hard work and collaboration in Downtown Bend this week for the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA). Please read below to learn more about just a few of the things that we are up to in Downtown Bend!
The Downtown Bend Business Association hosted a Merchant Meeting for Downtown Bend business and building owners this week to discuss upcoming changes to Downtown parking. Mindy Aisling, Executive Director of the DBBA, has been serving on the Downtown Bend Parking Advisory Committee (DPAC) for over 2 years, working hard to achieve the Downtown Bend Strategic Parking Management Plan in a way that works for business owners, building owners, local Bentides and visiting tourists.
DPAC is proud to announce upcoming changes to Downtown Parking including, but not limited to, a new merchant validation program for parking, new parking signage, improvements to the parking garage and more. To learn about the entire scope of changes, you can watch this meeting by clicking HERE.
The DBBA is currently the sole organization responsible for decorating Downtown Bend for the holiday season. This includes being responsible for all of the fundraising, labor, hard costs, installation costs, insurance costs (etc.) that is necessary to create the holiday experience in Downtown Bend.
We have a dream to be THE destination for the holidays in all of Oregon. We have a vision of creating a holiday experience where people from all over our state make it a tradition to visit Downtown Bend during the holidays, ski Mt. Bachelor, shop our unique boutiques, and stay in our great hotels. We believe that in order to achieve this vision we will need to create partnerships with the City of Bend and other community organizations and we look forward to that future.
However, we are not there yet - and we have to do the best with the current budget that we have. For this year, that means that we have invested in installing all of the larger trees in Downtown Bend with twinkle lights, we are working to repair our damaged lit snowflakes, and we are hosting a Wreath Spruce-up Ball to revitalize our current wreaths for our Downtown Winter season. We'd love for you to join us - you can find more information, and register to volunteer HERE.
We are excited to announce that the Shop Small Passport Event that usually happens the Saturday after Thanksgiving will be going on for three weeks to allow for COVID19 safety guidelines to be met. This event takes a ton of DBBA labor to make possible. First, in takes a few days just to contact every business in the district and enroll them to participate, then there are days days and days of visiting businesses and collecting donations, after that we log each donation and its value, issue each business a tax deductible receipt and thank you letter, then we have a long day of organizing all of the donations and putting them into prize baskets, and we design the passport, have them printed & we deliver them to the pick-up locations, then we need to update our website with all of this info and market the event to our community. It's a pretty big undertaking for a DBBA staff of just 2.5 people (in addition to the daily work of the district) and we rely on volunteers to help make it possible.
Another item we worked on this week was the Downtown Parklet Program. We met with the City of Bend and each business that has a parklet on the street to discuss Winter Operations, and to assure that with these added features to Downtown Bend we are all ready to collaborate to keep downtown accessible during the winter months. We also met with an advisory group to discuss the option of a permanent parklet program post-Covid and what would need to happen to make that possible.
If you missed it, City Council met last week, and you can click here to watch the video of our city councilors discussing restrooms in Downtown Bend and the Brooks Promenade pilot project. The Downtown discussion starts at 1:05. These are important topics, and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or a member of the DBBA board. The DBBA staff worked hard to amplify these conversations over the last few years and we were very happy to see Councilors take a look at them. DBBA Board provided the below letter to Council and they would also like to acknowledge Councilor Piper and Ben Hemson for their great work. (Thank you!)
About 3 years ago the DBBA Board of Directors directed staff to research what would need to be done so that the organization could apply for grants to help beautify Downtown Bend. This resulted in some major changes to the DBBA, including but not limited to hiring a part time Chief Administration Director, changing the way we tracked our labor & accounting, and creating a 501c3 nonprofit, The Friends of Downtown Bend.
We are proud to report that we have applied for several grants this year, and that we've been awarded two of them. Writing grants, securing grants and reporting back to the granting agencies is a new endeavor for DBBA staff and we are currently on a bit of a learning curve, but happy to be able to secure these additional funds for Downtown Bend.
On the street work continued and DBBA staff was busy as usual with daily sweeping, trash removal, litter pick-up and in addition, this week we installed holiday lights, did extra cleaning on the trash can lids, we worked with the City of Bend to remove leaves from Downtown, we cut up and removed a fallen tree and we made further progress in our oil container clean-up efforts.
We have been managing the grease containers in the alleyways on several levels. I'll outline them from smallest to largest scope below.
First and foremost, when we see an issue like overflowing trash or overflowing grease containers - we make sure it gets taken care of right away. This could include cleaning it ourselves, alerting the City so that they can come and clean it up, calling SeQuential, or Bend Garbage, etc. We find the right person to get the job done, and we make sure that it gets done.
Then, we've been working with the City of Bend to add some "teeth" to our common and ongoing phone calls to SeQuential so that we (hopefully) will start seeing more results from this company. We provide the City with all of the photos and documentation he needed to hold SeQuential accountable.
Just this week we saw a huge success and forward movement in this conversation. Sequential has agreed to remove all containers from the City right-of-way by Nov 6th, 2020. They are transitioning their customers to smaller rolling containers that will be stored inside each restaurant.
Bigger picture on alleyways, we've been petitioning the City for over a year now to work with us to create new standards for Downtown alleyways. These standards would include requiring garbage enclosures, standardized and intuitive containers for trash and recycling, grease traps to be installed in restaurants, and pumped directly from those traps (so grease is never in the alley), etc. We will continue to advocate to the COB until we see these changes. We believe that revitalizing our alleyways is a key part to the future success of Downtown Bend.
The topic of trees in Downtown Bend is always an robust one. The responsibility for tree management in Downtown Bend falls on the shoulders of the Building owner adjacent to the tree and to the City of Bend. The DBBA is, technically, not responsible for any tree maintenance, repair or service in the Downtown district.
However, that being said, we are the only organization that provides a person-on-the-street, every day, 365 days a year to make sure that Downtown is looking it's best. As such we are often 'first on the scene' and when we are able to - we like to help out as much as possible.
This week, while we were doing our circuit of the Downtown EID, we noticed this large tree limb that had fallen down by McMenamins. We were able to grab our saw and ATV with a trailer to cut up the tree limb and remove it before the shopping day began in Downtown Bend.
When it comes to graffiti removal in Downtown Bend, this can involve several different solutions. Sometimes our staff cleans, removes and/or repaints a surface. Sometimes we need to contact Bend Garbage to replace a container in Downtown Bend. At times a specific company or building owner needs to be called if they have requested to clean their own utility boxes or buildings. No matter what the solution is, we make sure that it is solved quickly so that we can keep our downtown looking it's best.
If you see something in Downtown that needs attention, you can fill out a service request for the City of Bend here or for the DBBA here. Thank you for helping us keep downtown clean and beautiful.
Thank you for supporting the Downtown Bend Business Association's hard work to increase the vitality of Downtown Bend!
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