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New direction for tourism promotion

It’s too early to tell whether Anvil Northwest, the Roseburg marketing firm recently hired to promote tourism in the region, will be successful in its new role.

But one thing is clear: Anvil won’t be accused of being dull or antiquated, based on its presentation to the Roseburg Economic Development Commission on Tuesday.

Anvil General Manager/Creative Director Cam Campman unveiled a new logo for the area, featuring Roseburg broken into two lines to form a block, as well as a digital-heavy marketing strategy featuring eye-catching photos, videos, event calendars, interactive maps and other promotional tools.

“We’re going to be starting literally from zero with the whole site,” Campman said. “It’s going to bring us from the stone age to modernity.”

The presentation included a litany of marketing buzzwords and phrases:

Sub-icons, flagship logos, core assets and accompanying assets, primary and secondary color palettes, splash pages, regionally apt colors, shoulder seasons, monochromatic and DMO (Destination Marketing Organization).

Anvil social media coordinator Kristi Rifenbark said the group will focus on using Facebook and Instagram to promote the region while the web site is being built. Those efforts will focus on events and curated information from wineries and other area attractions, and over time roll in photos and other material, she said.

There will be some print products, like brochures, maps and the like, and Umpqua Valley Magazine — with fewer ads — will become a visitors guide, Campman said.

He also said the tourism campaign will focus on a handful of core areas, including: bygone days, when Douglas County was considered the timber capital of the world; Roseburg as that cool undiscovered destination; wineries and the growing brewpub scene; the year-round beauty of the area.

“We truly have those Norman Rockwell four seasons,” Campman said.

Anvil took over the job of tourism promotion this summer.

For the past 20 years, that job had been handled by the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce. However, growing tensions between city and chamber officials — based in large part on what city officials considered a lack of vibrancy and sophistication in the Chamber’s promotion efforts, including its oversight of the Visitor Center — prompted the city to cancel the contract.

The new contract was put out to bid and Anvil was selected among four groups — including the Chamber. Anvil was awarded a three-year contract worth nearly $1.5 million.

There have been lingering tensions between city and Chamber officials, especially over the Visitor Center.

In a letter Roseburg City Manager Nikki Messenger sent last month to Chamber President and CEO Debbie Fromdahl, Messenger outlined a number of “concerns” the city has with the way the Visitor Center was being managed. Those included the lack of space being given to Anvil; the Chamber’s insistence that Anvil stay quiet in the center and not put on events like wine tastings; and the general feeling of ill will towards Anvil.

Messenger wrote that she was concerned she would be forced “to referee” between The Chamber and Anvil. The result is that Anvil will not be using the Visitor Center as a base for its promotion campaigns, and the Chamber will continue to occupy that space but without an agreed-upon role for Visitor Center activities.

Roseburg City Councilor Tom Ryan, who also is the Chair of the Economic Development Commission, touched on that unusual dynamic at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting.

“I just want to say it’s a shame we haven’t worked anything out with the Chamber because that building was designed to be a Visitor Center,” Ryan said.

Following the presentation, however, Ryan and others on the EDC said they were happy to have Anvil on board.

“I’m very impressed,” Ryan said. “I certainly don’t have buyer’s remorse.”

School districts start process to apply for Student Success Act funding

School districts around the state are hosting community input sessions and working to complete continuous improvement plans to receive a portion of funding from the Student Success Act.

Schools in Roseburg and Douglas County are no different.

In May, Gov. Kate Brown signed the Student Success Act, which will provide more money for public schools in the coming year. The additional revenue will come from a commercial activity tax of 0.57% on gross receipts for most businesses that make more than $1 million in a fiscal year, beginning in 2020.

“We can finally invest in an education system that will ensure every single student in our state is on a path to realizing their dreams for the future,” Brown said in July. “What we have come together to do over the past few months will be felt by students, teachers and schools for years to come.”

The measure will be fully funded for the 2021-2023 biennium, but schools will see an increase in funding this biennium. ODE estimates the new tax will bring in $900 million for the 2019-2021 biennium.

According to the Oregon Department of Education, key investments for the current biennium include fully funding the State School Fund, which includes funding for career technical education.

Roseburg Public School expects to get between $3 and $4 million. The Oregon Department of Education is still filling positions to help streamline the process, and school districts will have to wait to see how much money will be distributed to each district.

ODE put out a timeline, which has been adjusted a few times, for school districts to follow.

Districts will hold community listening sessions until the end of the month, complete a Continuous Improvement Plan by Dec. 6 and develop an application for a Student Investment Account in the first two months of 2020. In March and April, districts will start to submit applications for the Student Investment Account and continue with more community engagement at the end of the school year.

School districts are asked to seek input from the community about reducing academic disparities, meeting students’ mental and behavioral health needs, access to academic courses, time allowed for teachers to collaborate and keep students on track to graduate and establishing and strengthening partnerships.

Roseburg Public Schools held two community listening sessions where about a dozen people gave their input on how to spend the money.

Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon said the district is in the process of rewriting its strategic plan and community input will help move the district forward.

“Education is inexplicably linked to the health of our community,” Cordon said.

Community members brought up changing the start times of schools, adding more career technical education in the middle schools to get kids excited about education and working with partners in the community, among other things.

When it came to deciding where to spend the money the majority of people in attendance found health and safety needed to be the priority of the district.

Roseburg community members will also get a chance to complete an online survey, which is available online.

Principals in the district are also presenting information to staff, and staff members have been asked to fill out a survey. Principals will also be interviewing students and parents to get more information.

“We want to get some genuine information,” RPS Director of Teaching and Learning Michelle Knee said. “You can get information from a survey, but it’s always nice to have conversations with people and get more information.”

Other school districts around the county will be holding community meetings as well.

Sutherlin School District will hold two meetings as well. The first one is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sutherlin High School and the second for 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at East Elementary School. Glide School District held its first meeting Monday in the high school cafeteria, while a second meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Diamond Lake Resort. North Douglas School District will hold meetings at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday at North Douglas High School.

When fully implemented, the measure is expected to generate an addition $1 billion statewide for education each school year. From the statewide fund, $200 million goes directly to the State School Fund for additional support for districts.

The remaining funding will be split in three ways.

At least 20% will go into the Early Learning Account, which may include parenting and early head start.

Student Investment Account will receive at least 50% in funding, which focuses on behavioral health needs, and increase academic achievement and reduce academic disparities for students who have historically experienced disparities in schools, such as students of color, students with disabilities, emerging bilingual students and student navigating poverty, homeless and foster care.

The remaining 30% is for statewide education initiatives, which includes funding the High School Success Act, also known as Measure 98, as well as an expansion of child nutrition programs, school safety, as well as other initiatives to improve opportunities for historically underserves student groups.

According to the Oregon Department of Education, the Student Investment Account would have approximately $475 million in grant money for all school districts and eligible charter schools available for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Oregon Department of Education is still working to identify targets to measure growth and success.

Last day at Cougar Canyon

MYRTLE CREEK — Besides its sheer beauty, an appealing feature of the Cougar Canyon Golf Course outside of Myrtle Creek is just how quiet it is. One brochure for the course refers to it as A Peaceful Escape.

But with the closure of the course Thursday, the scores of golfers who frequent Cougar Canyon now fear it will be too quiet.

“Everybody I talked to is just sick about it,“ said Windell Clark, who took the opportunity Wednesday to get in one last round.” It’s going to hurt us golfers, but it’s also going to hurt Myrtle Creek.”

Business was steady at the course Wednesday as Clark and others paid it a visit. An email sent out to regulars who play the course alerted them to the closure, but most said they already knew.

At first glance, it looked like business as usual at the course. The bulletin boards were full of postings for jobs, upcoming events and baked goods available in town.

But signs posted on the doors notified patrons that the course would be closed starting Thursday. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” the signs read.

Clyde Johnson, who manages the pro shop and has been working at Cougar Canyon since 2011, said he was preparing to lock the front gates Thursday.

On Wednesday, he had golf shoes listed at 50% off and was liquidating other items in the pro shop.

“No one is happy,” he said, adding that one of his tasks was tying up loose ends in billing. “I’m trying to figure out who owes us money and who we owe money to.”

The city owns Cougar Canyon, but it is managed by Myrtle Creek Links, LLC, whose registered agent is Karl Hallstrom. Hallstrom also owns Zip-O-Log Mills, Inc., in Eugene. He could not be reached for comment.

Cougar Canyon actually serves dual purposes — it offers recreation for golfers and provides plenty of land for Myrtle Creek’s treated wastewater, known as effluent.

In August, Myrtle Creek Links appeared before the city council asking for about $30,000 for improvements to the irrigation system. The council declined.

City Administrator Sean Negherbon said the city didn’t have funds budgeted for that kind of expense. Negherbon also said city officials have not heard anything officially about the closure.

“They still haven’t given us any written notice of closing or of their plans,” Negherbon said Wednesday. “We have made an offer to them that if they wish to close and sell their equipment we would buy it from them. But we have not heard anything from them.”

For golfers like Clark, who has been playing Cougar Canyon for nearly 20 years, the closure means a major disruption in his routine. He plays the course three times a week with the same group of buddies he has known for decades.

The group will now have to take golf toad trips to courses in Grants Pass, Cottage Grove and elsewhere, Clark said.

“My doctor said it’s good for me, so I gotta do it,” he said. “I’m not so good anymore, but it’s fun.”

Fellow golfer Otis Clayton said he and a couple of buddies play at least once a week. He is retired, like many regulars from the area, and playing the local course is an enjoyable way to spend time together.

“Mill workers, truckers, this is their thing. They just want to play,” Clayton said. “It’s just a heartbreaker that this is going to happen. We’re all retired. What are we supposed to do?”

Toni Smith is one of 15 employees at Cougar Canyon. She said she came to hit some balls at the course in June and walked away with a job in the clubhouse. She especially enjoys the vibe — “Everyone here is so friendly, there is no stress” — and the beauty of the course, which she calls a sanctuary.

Smith isn’t sure what she or her co-workers will do now.

“It’s been so up in the air. Now it’s finally hitting us,” she said.

Smith wiped down the glass tabletops in the clubhouse Wednesday. Underneath were dozens of letters of appreciation for various fundraisers and other charitable activities Cougar Canyon had been a part of.

There were letters from Casa De Belen in Roseburg, Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon, Douglas County Cancer Services, Coos County 4-H, South Umpqua High School, and more. Smith also recalled a wedding that took place at the course on a Sunday a few weeks ago. Everyone was so happy, she said.

For Johnson, the pro shop manager, helping out with fundraisers and other such events is just part of the job.”I’m a preachers’ kid. I was raised to help other people when you can,” he said. “That’s what we do here.”