(Photo courtesy of Downtown Bend Business Association)
Last night (Wednesday, April 18), the City Council voted unanimously to approve funding for the Economic Improvement District (EID) in Downtown Bend. The EID funds the efforts of the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA). The DBBA was formed in 1982 and serves over 325 businesses and 85 property owners in Downtown Bend. A board of directors comprised of business and property owners oversees staff and makes policy decisions that determine the direction of the Economic Improvement District (EID) and the DBBA.
Council heard comments from Mindy Aisling, the Executive Director of the DBBA, two people who spoke in opposition to the proposed funding, and eight community members who spoke passionately of their support of the funding and the DBBA.
Ray Solley, Executive Director of The Tower Theatre, shared with Council members that The Tower Theatre is in the top third of all NW theatres in the number of patrons and events they hold. He explained that this success was, in part, due to the
vitality of Downtown Bend and the direct efforts of the DBBA. Kevin Franklin, owner of Franklin Security, spoke to Council about the work his company has been doing with Bend PD and the DBBA is increase the safety of late night Downtown
“We’re going to make a change,” said Franklin, “It’s not if, it’s we will, and without Mindy (Executive Director of the DBBA) and the support of Bend PD, it won’t happen.”
The stories continued, Nicole from Urban Beauty Bar in Downtown Bend spoke of how the DBBA helped her get connected and share her voice in larger Downtown Issues. Lucy with Bend Tel shared a story about how the DBBA helped her find
property in Downtown Bend, and Todd Looby, Executive Director of Bend Film, shared how the DBBA helped Bend Film connect to local businesses in Downtown Bend.
Council also heard from Caroline McDonald from Compass Commercial who share that the building owners she managed supported the DBBA, but thought that the increase from $0.18 cents per square foot to $0.25 cents per square foot was too
steep for building owners to absorb. Joel Gisler, owner of two buildings in Downtown Bend, shared that he wished the increase would be spent on security in Downtown Bend.
Aisling responded to the concerns, explaining, “Our Board of Directors spent a tremendous about of time looking over the budget and the next three year forecast. They looked at cost increases over the 9 year period since the last funding increase, they weighed the requests of the building and business owners, and they decided that $0.25 was the right increase. They also choose to make fundraising a primary goal for the DBBA to further increase necessary funds to continue to grow the economic vitality of Downtown Bend. Currently, the DBBA fundraising efforts are over 1/3 of the DBBA budget which is pretty good, but we feel that we can do even better.” Aisling was confusion about Gisler’s comments, stating “Of our increased funds, 93% is going to increased security in Downtown Bend.”
The DBBA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the vitality of Downtown Bend. They are responsible for daily cleaning, downtown marketing, flower baskets, banners, events, snow removal and advocacy for the downtown area.
The DBBA welcomes volunteers and donations from those who share their passion for Downtown Bend.