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Aug-20-2007 12:35printcomments

New Group Go Downtown! Forms in Salem

The group says their mission is to establish Downtown Salem as the vibrant arts, entertainment, business and cultural destination through effective private-public collaboration.

New Go Downtown! logo
New Go Downtown! logo

(SALEM, Ore.) - Downtown Salem business leaders striving to form an economic improvement district to market the Central Business District have created by-laws and incorporated under the name Go Downtown Salem!

Local business owner Roger Yost says that in a series of meetings since receiving overwhelming approval by business and property owners in the city’s Downtown Parking District, the board of 13 has accomplished a number of things.

Those accomplishments according to Yost include forming committees to manage governance, marketing, infrastructure, finance, membership and communications. They also created a mission statement and identified the organization’s priorities.

The group received city council approval for $65,000 in funding from the Downtown Parking Tax, and elected a number of representatives including Property Owner Roger Yost as President, Le Shoe Boutique Owner John Whitney, who will serve as as Board Chairman, and Attorney Douglas Vande Griend who will serve as the Board Secretary.

Yost says they also retained Susan Bicknell, former manager of the Salem Meier & Frank Store, to be the group's Acting Executive Director.

The Go Downtown! mission statement Yost says, is to establish Downtown Salem as the vibrant arts, entertainment, business and cultural destination of the Mid-Willamette Valley through effective private-public collaboration for the benefit of businesses, investors, residents and visitors.

Organizers say Go Downtown! is dedicated to creating a robust retail environment, a unique brand image, a property and residential data base, promoting Downtown residential development, and being the primary advocate and voice for Downtown issues.

The board expects to achieve its goals through an equitable assessment of Downtown property owners in the EID; working with city government and allied organizations to create a safe and clean environment, an ongoing beautification program, and a calendar of events that attract people Downtown during working and non-working hours.

Board members include Alan Apodaca, Sue Cobb, John Gallagher, Paul Gehlar, Kathy Goss, Charles Johnson, Kevin Lafky, Mark Messmer, Tony Nielsen, Doug Vande Griend, Dana Vugteveen, John Whitney, and Roger Yost.

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dfpeer August 23, 2007 10:02 am (Pacific time)

A while back, one of our clueless council members said, "We all know that downtown is the engine that runs the community." Can you believe this? Anyone who can fog a mirror knows that the engine that runs Salem is a fat, captive government payroll. Without the headquarters of state government Salem could not justify its own off ramp from I-5. The enthusiasm for our "Historic Downtown Salem" is little more than an effort to maintain property values for a handful of commercial slumlords. The best solution would be to extend Waterfront Park to join up with Willson Park.

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