McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce

Newsletter

The Current

Winter 2018


From the President


New Year, New Web Site design, New Structure, but not a New Chamber.

The McKenzie River Chamber has been in existence for a very long time. I was on the Board back in the late 80's and have continued to participate in the Chamber ever since. I have seen many very successful years and many down years.

Being part of a Chamber is all about member participation and having a strong board with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce Board is made up of volunteers, with the exception of our Executive Director. The Board puts in many, many hours behind the scenes. The Chamber can not continue to exist if only a handful of people are involved, we need a "village".

It is our intent this year to have monthly board meetings on the third Thursday of each month at 10:00 am, at a different venue each month with a informational guest speaker at 11:30 am after each board meeting. All board meetings are open to the general public. All meetings will allow 10 minutes at the beginning of the board meeting for community input and again at the end of the meeting after the guest speaker.

Our Quarterly Membership Meetings will be held in March, June, September and December, at different times and venues to be announced. Check out the Chamber website for monthly and quarterly venues. Our March meeting will include board elections. I encourage all community members to consider running for a board position. It is a great experience.

If you would like to be put on the election ballot please contact Nadine Scott, nadine@windermere.com, 541-915-0807.

If anyone in the community has a special guest speaker they would like to see attend one of our monthly meetings or quarterly meetings, please contact Ray Blair, our Executive Director, at rayblair1958@gmail.com.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our meetings this year. Come get informed, get community updates and have lunch at a different venue each month. Happy New Year!

Nadine Scott
President, McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce                                                   
Nadine@Windermere.com

Artist's Retreats: McKenzie River Inn

Bert de Klerk, owner of the McKenzie River Inn, took a look at the comings and goings on the McKenzie River and decided there had to be a fresh approach to do business.  While the River has its signature events, there had to be a way to bring in more tourism and to put the McKenzie on the map as a destination. And he hit on the idea of Artists in Residence.

“Artist in Residence", he says, "is an exciting program where typically a well-established artist will come to your lodge and offer their workshop. They have to contribute something in exchange for the residence. That may be remodeling, painting or a workshop. They get free rent in exchange for a job. The artist lives on your property. It can be for a week or two or longer. There are many successful Artist in Residence programs across the country. This is a great way we can help bring back economic development to Blue River and McKenzie Bridge.

We are open to getting other lodges and businesses involved with us and together we can help strengthen the community. Maybe this is a route to take by getting the community known as an artist community. We can get many retreats going here. Conferences, writers’ retreats, other artists’ retreats. We can add music as well. The outlook is tremendous.  I would like to think in terms of widening our scope.

We have reached out and attracted some of the top artists and crafts people in the country and booked them from April through November. We are holding workshops and classes by these artists for attendees at all levels to come and take our classes. They can bring their family and friends as we are providing other activities for them as well. We are attracting tourists from all over the U.S.”

In addition to the Artist Retreats, Bert has added Fly Fishing. “These retreats are for beginners through seasoned fly-fishermen/women. Attendees can combine their retreat with Artist in Residence, for a 3- day painting class with Annie Margarita. We also have couples retreats coming up.”

While Bert takes care of his fly-fishing half of the workshop, Annie’s course includes a custom designed reel case course where students learn to make patterns, cut and tool leather, staining and painting and hand-stitch their own reel case. In the afternoons, get on board a historic McKenzie Drift boat and go fly fishing!

Other retreats include a well-known leather bag designer, Molly Grant. Learn to design fantastic bags; a mule shoe making course with well-known designer Richard Stapleman; watercolor painting with award-winning artist, Diane Michelin; a beginner fly-fishing course taught by Bert; and a leather working course from recognized artist, Ed LaBarre.

In the handbag workshop, guests will learn about travel bags, tote bags and zippered pouches.  They will experience the basics of pattern making along with creative ways to make knots and straps.  Cell phone purses, iPad and computer covers are a few of the designs offered.  Learning the beginning steps of sewing with leather on a portable industrial sewing machine, students will make three bags: a small zippered bag, a Molly bag and a one-of-a-kind bag of their own design.

The Handbag Workshop is a 3-day, 4-night workshop.

At the Artists and Fly-Fishing Retreats, guests will be pampered with exquisite cuisine from a French chef, massages, enjoy the beauty of the McKenzie River with nature walks, bonfires by the river, evening demonstrations, relaxation, fun, and walk away with an enriching experience. "One that encourages them to come back year after year," says Bert. "And that's what we want, here in the McKenzie Valley."

The Year in Advance:

Apr 27-29       McKenzie Driftboat Experience with Bert de Klerk

May 7-11        Spring 5-Day Fly-Fishing Course with Bert de Klerk 

June 13-16     Leather Bag Design and Sewing with Molly Grant

Jun 18-22       Cordwainer Shoes Retreat with Molly Grant

June 25-29    The Art of Fly-Fishing –  Watercolor Painting and Fly-Fishing with Diane Michelin

July 9-13        Double Workshop – Custom Leather Reel Case Workshop  with Annie Margarita AND Fly-Fishing with Bert de Klerk

Jul 23-27        Fly-Fishing for Couples – Couple’s Retreat with Bert de Klerk and Annie Margarita

Aug 6-10        Oil Painting the McKenzie Valley Retreat with Annie Margarita

Aug 20-24      The Art of Fly-Fishing  Couples Workshop Retreat (with Annie Margarita (Oil Painting) or Bert de Klerk (Fly-Fishing)

Sept 10-14     Leatherwork Retreat with Ed Labarre

Oct 9-12         Mule Shoes Retreat – with Richard Stapleman

Oct 15-19       Leather Handbag Retreat – with Molly Grant

For more information:
innkeeper@mckenzieriverinn.com
Website:   www.mckenzieriverinn.com
Address:   
McKenzie River Inn – Retreat for the Arts
49164 McKenzie River Hwy
Vida, Oregon 97488



Business After Hours Mixer

We’ll be at Ike's on Monday, February 26, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. It’s the perfect opportunity to start the year off with new business partnerships and re-connecting with old friends.

It's free and we're going to feed you! We even have fun door prizes! We can promise laughter, good conversation and just an enjoyable time!

DID YOU KNOW? Mixers are great way to bring businesses together. It's open for members and non-members alike. The Chamber will be hosting several mixers throughout the year, and offers the opportunity for our members to host mixers as a chance to network in a social atmosphere, and allow the hosting business to showcase their location, products and services.

Monday, Feb. 26 6-8:00 pm
Ike's Lakeside Pizza
44851 McKenzie Hwy
Leaburg, OR
                                              Refreshments served!
Tourism Committee Brings in Recognition and Revenue Through Hard Work to McKenzie Valley





The Tourism Committee is a vital part of the Chamber of Commerce. Headed by Carol Tannenbaum, this active, prominent group has ushered in tourism to the McKenzie Valley over the years. In 2017, as part of a grant from Lane County Community and Economic Development, Rural Tourism Marketing Program, the Chamber was able to accomplish quite a few goals. Here are just a few:

  • Lane County Visitors Guide: 12 businesses participated in co-sponsorship of an advertisement in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast magazine featuring local natural attractions that drew visitors and included the region’s Signature Events. The ad increased the presence of the McKenzie River region and highlighted how important the McKenzie River is as a wonderful recreation destination.
  • Part-Time Chamber Assistant: A part time Chamber assistant was successfully hired February 2017 and continues into 2018.  An AmeriCorps RARE intern in the McKenzie Valley temporarily assisted the Chamber as we searched for a new part-time administrator. Time was spent in 2017 coordinating the activities of RTMP project teams and attracting new members. Most of the Chamber’s work has historically been accomplished through volunteers. With volunteers deadlines are very hard to keep.  With new assistance on board in early 2017, we have put a more professional face to our visitor public and helped successfully accomplish our tourism marketing goals. 
  •  A successful strategic planning session was held by the Board in November, 2017. This plan has gone into action for 2018.
  •  The Chamber Board facilitated a community Town Hall meeting to learn about management changes for the Leaburg Fish Hatchery (an important tourism venue for the region).
  •  Signature Events: We promoted six signature events.  
    • We developed a large poster that included pertinent information for all of the events.  The posters were displayed at our McKenzie River Visitor kiosks.
    • We contracted with TLC to display the poster at their two offices as well as at the two I-5 rest stops where travelers enter Lane County from the north and the south. These rest stops also provide space for each event to post rack cards.  These posters were displayed beginning in March and continuing through September, 2017. The TLC contract also included highlighting each event as they occurred on the TLC electronic calendar.
    • Smaller versions of the Events poster were displayed at many McKenzie area bulletin boards and business locations.  The four recurring events (Wooden Boat Show, McKenzie River Lavender Festival, Chainsaw Art Festival, and Walterville Fair & Waddle) generally experienced increased attendance in 2017; the Lavender Festival attendance was over 3,000.

  • MR Visitor Guide:  This project was proposed in 2014 with the hope of grant funding from another source that did not come through.  The project was thus put on hold to search for other funding sources. Additional funding of $4,000 was included in the 2015 McKenzie RTMP proposal to match the $4,000 unspent in 2014 to develop a general adventure guide for the McKenzie area. Progress was made in 2016 with a compact version of a guide published in collaboration with the River Reflections.  The product is still short of our larger objective and only a portion of the available funds were expended. Efforts will continue in 2018 as part of the on-line marketing initiative outlined below to create a visitor guide that complements our on-line presence and dovetails with the Chamber website.
  •  TLC Travel Visitors Guide:  Local businesses signed up to be a part of the advertisement in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast magazine.  It was considered a success because 12 businesses co-sponsored the advertisement. The ad featured local natural attractions that drew visitors in and also included the region’s Signature Events.  The ad increased the presence of the McKenzie River region with both editorial content and product for people to buy.  Participation generated great exposure for the area where the guide is distributed and participation helped to support TLC’s work. The area is also included on the locator map in TLC’s Eugene, Cascades, and Coast Magazine.  The ad highlighted that the McKenzie River is an important recreation destination.  This ad was considered a success since visitors relied on the map during their visit.  This activity was successfully completed in 2017.
  • Town Hall Meeting: The Chamber Board facilitated a community Town Hall meeting to learn about management changes for the Leaburg Fish Hatchery (an important tourism venue for the region).
  •  Part Time Chamber Assistant:  A part time Chamber assistant was successfully hired February 2017 and continues into 2018.  An AmeriCorps RARE intern in the McKenzie Valley temporarily assisted the Chamber as we searched for a new part-time administrator. Time was spent in 2017 coordinating the activities of RTMP project teams and attracting new members. Most of the Chamber’s work has historically been accomplished through volunteers. With volunteers deadlines are very hard to keep.  With new assistance on board in early 2017, we have put a more professional face to our visitor public and helped successfully accomplish our tourism marketing goals.  The Board also held a strategic planning session in early November.        
  • MR Visitor Guide:  This project was proposed in 2014 with the hope of grant funding from another source that did not come through.  The project was thus put on hold to search for other funding sources. Additional funding of $4,000 was included in the 2015 McKenzie RTMP proposal to match the $4,000 unspent in 2014 to develop a general adventure guide for the McKenzie area. Progress was made in 2016 with a compact version of a guide published in collaboration with the River Reflections.  The product is still short of our larger objective and only a portion of the available funds were expended. Efforts will continue in 2018 as part of the on-line marketing initiative outlined below to create a visitor guide that complements our on-line presence and dovetails with the Chamber website.
  • Local Ads & Promote Signature Events:  Increasing the number of Chamber members is important to maintain balance, stability, and long-term viability of the Chamber.  These ads helped increase the visibility of the Chamber and encouraged Chamber membership.   We promoted six signature events in several ways.  First we developed a large poster that included pertinent information for all of the events.  The posters were displayed at our McKenzie River Visitor kiosks.  Next, we contracted with TLC to display the poster at their two offices as well as at the two I-5 rest stops where travelers enter Lane County from the north and the south. These rest stops also provide space for each event to post rack cards. 

These posters were displayed beginning in March and continuing through September, 2017. The TLC contract also included highlighting each event as they occurred on the TLC electronic calendar.  Smaller versions of the Events poster were displayed at many McKenzie area bulletin boards and business locations.  Contracting with the WOW Hall, the poster was widely displayed in the southern Willamette Valley. All planned aspects of this activity were successfully completed in 2017. 

The four recurring events (Wooden Boat Show, McKenzie River Lavender Festival, Chainsaw Art Festival, and Walterville Fair & Waddle) generally experienced increased attendance in 2017; the Lavender Festival attendance was over 3,000.  The McKenzie Frenzy was cancelled due to heavy smoke in the area from nearby forest fires.  Attendance data suggest event visitors came from outside of the McKenzie area including Central Oregon, Salem and Portland, which resulted in overnight stays in our region.   The local lodges sent their guests to the events.  They received positive feedback on the guests’ experience.


Art Show at the Blue River Medical Clinic

The McKenzie River Clinic art gallery has a new curator, a bold new group show and some fun public events this month.

Debra Meadow, of Deerhorn, an artist herself, has taken over the job of curating solo and group shows in the Clinic’s waiting area. The kickoff show, running February 13 through March 28, brings together the work of at l1 local artists, each working with the theme “red.”
There are 11 artists showing:

Debra Meadow, Deerhorn
Maya Allcott, Dexter
Micki Voorhies, Blue River                                                        
Annie Margarita, Nimrod
Jane Hammond, Blue River
Kelly Britt Davis, McKenzie Bridge
Rogene Manas, Deerhorn/Eugene
Anita Tanner, Leaburg
Emily Vailes, Blue River
Sheri E. Smith, McKenzie Bridge

Clinic board president Val Rapp, said, “We’re excited to renew the focus on art in the Clinic. We look forward to raising visibility of both the Clinic and the creative work going on all around us. Debra has planned some fun group shows and is recruiting artists, new and established, who are doing unique work to share. Good health and good art are a match made in heaven!”

Currently, the Clinic is open all day Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Wednesday afternoons.

McKenzie River Clinic / Medical Foundation
PO Box 183
51730 Dexter St
Blue River, OR 97413
Ph: 541-822-3341

Dave D'avanzo, Esteemed Board Member Retires

Dave D'avanzo, a Chamber Board member for many years, has retired as of January 31st. Dave worked for four electric co-ops.  Dave started his co-op career in 1980. He was the Member Services Manager for the Lane Electric for the past 15 years. 

"We've gotten some fun things done, some changes done to our systems," Dave says of the past 15 years at Lane. "Our goal was that the communities we serviced understood we were their company. We wanted people to know it is a member-based, a person-based co-op and not just another business down the street."

Of his decision to retire, Dave says, "It's a new beginning. I'm not sure what lies ahead, kind of like my first day at Umatilla Electric on June 16, 1980. I wasn't sure what was in store for me then, but I was pretty sure it was going to be OK and it was, thanks to countless friends, partners and counterparts."

We'll definitely miss Dave from our Board," says Nadine Scott, President of the Chamber. "His contributions over the years have been incredible and his participation will be sorely missed. We wish him well in his new adventures."

Dave expressed similar feelings. According to Rural Life, "It's been a wonderful career,' he says. 'It's a people based business that has provided relationships with the members, with co-workers and with many others in the industry. The co-op is not privately owned, so we've gotten to be part of the community through interviews, attending different meetings, sitting on community boards and being involved in school events. It's a new beginning."

Meet Matthew Michel, Newest Board Member


With Dave D’Avanzo’s retirement in January from Lane Electric Co-op, the McKenzie Chamber will be seeing more of Matt Michel, the Co-op’s General Manager. “The Co-op is a silent business partner to every business in the upper McKenzie River area,” Matt said at the February McKenzie Chamber meeting. “You count on the Co-op to keep electricity affordable and restore power as safely and quickly as possible to keep your business open.

The upper McKenzie is the birthplace of the Co-op. Your success is the Co-op’s success.” Matt is a native of rural Central Ohio who came to Oregon in 1999 for law school at Lewis & Clark in Portland. Prior to joining the Co-op in 2014, he was the General Manager at Canby Utility, an electric and water provider to the City of Canby, Oregon.




Meetings! Don't Miss Out!



Join us for The Chamber's next meetings! Come as you are! Meet colleagues, promote your business, discuss current situations, get problems solved, hear new ideas, get the support of the Chamber!

Board Meetings:
Each third Thursday of each month at 10:00 am - You are welcome to attend and participate.
Next Meeting is the Annual Meeting
Speaker:
11:30 a.m. Come for the speaker!

Tourism Committee:
Meets 2nd Tuesday of each month - Next meeting March 13th at 9;00 a.m. at Wayfarer Resort.

Quarterly Meetings:
Our Quarterly Membership Meetings will be held in March, June, September and December.



Business After Hours Mixer!

Monday, Feb. 26 6-8:00 pm
Ike's Lakeside Pizza
44851 McKenzie Hwy
Leaburg, OR

Refreshments served!


March 26, 2018
Meet the Candidates for County Commissioner and Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting 5:00 - Board Room
    Vote for the Board!
Meet the Candidates 6:00 - In the Gym
   Hear the Candidates for County Commissioner
McKenzie School
Blue River, OR

Refreshments served!

Got news?

Newsletter Editor:
Chere Estrin
chere.estrin@theolp.org
541.854.0673

Executive Director:
Ray Blair
rayblair1958@gmail.com








 



  





McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 297
Walterville, OR 97489
541-896-3330

info@McKenzieChamber.com


This site was created and is maintained by
McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce
with financial support from Lane County

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