July 16, 2001 11:00 pm

The reorganized and revitalized La Grande Downtown Development Association has proven theres still life in downtown. This past weekends Crazy Days pulled people downtown for a variety of special sales and a community festival. It was nice to see that kind of energy devoted to downtown.

The downtown development group, spearheaded by Doug Campbell of McGlassons, deserves the credit for turning something as simple as a Crazy Days sale into a festival. People who went downtown Saturday had a chance to not only purchase special sale merchandise, but were treated to a variety of displays, a dunk tank and music.

The La Grande Downtown Development Association sank into virtual obscurity a couple of years ago after having been an active voice and force for downtown business people for a few years before that. Campbell spearheaded an effort to pull downtown businesses together and breathe new life into the association. The result is a more coordinated effort to do promotions and work together to get people downtown.

Downtowns in a lot of cities and towns have been struggling the past few years. The advent of mega-retailers and an unwillingness of some small retailers to battle back have led to many downtowns demise. But communities where business people work together to coordinate hours of operation, special promotions and provide the service and specialties you cant find at the mega-retailers are seeing new energy in their downtowns.

Theres no reason that La Grande cant do what the McMinnvilles and Hood Rivers have done. Granted, we dont have the tourist traffic those towns do, but if you build a strong downtown, people will come.

The first step is getting business people to see the benefits of promotions and be willing to take part. The revitalized La Grande Downtown Development Association is on the right track. We salute the groups energy and effort, and we hope it will continue.

La Grande needs a strong downtown.


What would make La Grandes downtown a more inviting shopping destination?

Readers are encouraged to jot down their thoughts on La Grandes downtown and send them to The Observer as letters to the editor.

Do we need more shops, and if so, what kinds would you like to see? More promotions? A theme? Remodeled buildings?

Send us a letter and well share it with other readers.