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!