The downtown tax district was approved last night.
I was mildly opposed to the first version of this, about a year ago. Mostly I didn't like the surveillance cameras, which they have very sensibly dropped.
It helps a great deal that Chuck Arnold, the executive director for the Bend Downtowners Association is a personable fellow, who has shown a low-key ability to build consensus and deal with problems.
It doesn't hurt that he comes by my store occasionally to chat. Simple thing, really, but it means a lot. One of the things I could never understand about the Mt. View Mall managers, was why they would hide in their office. Some of them I never met more than once. I always thought it would have been a huge public relations coup to simply take a walk-around through the mall, once a month, listen to the owners. Once a month, listen to us bitch, and move on.
Chuck's actions have pretty much confirmed that notion. I may not have any power in the Downtowners (I've only gone to one meeting in 24 years); but it probably doesn't hurt to keep me on his side anyway.
These positions tend to become self-sustaining after a while, whether the director is efficient and helpful or not. It could easily turn into a very political position where the money goes to help the most influential members of the downtown community. But I've decided it can't hurt, at roughly .01 a foot per month.
I also think it helps that Chuck actually ran a record store in L.A. for 5 years, so has a passing acquaintance with retail.
So, here's hoping that he brings an energetic and effective organization into reality.
4 days ago