Hood River County Chamber, Hood River Downtown Business Association agree to merge

14 May

A bit of history occurred today. After more than a year of talks, after 19 years of estrangement, the Hood River Downtown Business Association and Hood River County Chamber of Commerce have reached agreement to merge.

The deal, brokered by Six Rivers Community Mediation in two sessions over the last two weeks, will help both organizations create efficiencies in management and marketing efforts, while sustaining business services that the HRDBA had come to appreciate, and expanding business services to Chamber members.

Boards of both organizations today reviewed a draft memorandum of understanding that came out of the mediation sessions. And each board voted to approve it, with no dissenting votes. A transition committee now will work out details. Among tasks ahead, the two groups will need to blend separate memberships. The Chamber will extend a half-year memberships option to HRDBA members whose memberships expire on June 30. They then would have the option in early 2010 of renewing as Chamber members for a full year.

One benefit of the merger for businesses that previously have held memberships in both groups is that they will now have only one annual membership fee and renewal decision.

“In tough economic times, the chance to get expanded marketing support while reducing membership fees will surely appeal to our member businesses,” said Greg Colt, board president for the HRDBA.

Hood River’s Downtown will gain a voice with a seat on the Visitors Council, and will oversee city-focused programs and events through a separate Hood River Downtown Business Council  — operating on a par with the Visitors Council, Ambassadors and other Chamber committees.

Both bodies have asked yours truly to resume half-time business services and membership development duties relinquished in mid-April because of the funding crunch hitting both groups.

Working through the merger is going to take a lot of work and continued good faith on all parts, but from this perspective, it’s a better thing for all concerned. Congratulations — and thanks — to all involved in making it happen.

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2 Responses to “Hood River County Chamber, Hood River Downtown Business Association agree to merge”

  1. Bill Kline May 14, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    please liberate the streets for Friday:)
    I know it really brings out the the preteens and teens, but they need social outlets, too. Note how happy they are

    and how we felt at that age

    • stuwatson May 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

      The HRDBA is looking at possible street closures during peak months this year. Police chief Bruce Ludwig made a very cogent point about the need, at very least, for some traffic control at 2nd and Oak, to help drivers through the non-stop parade of pedestrians crossing both streets. Stay tuned.

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