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Merchants band together for Saturdays in the City

Summer event uses art, entertainment to boost downtown
by: sUBMitted photo, Ruth Beck, known as the queen crafter and boss lady at Owl and Acorn Soaps, will display her wares outside of Wynona Studios during Saturdays in the City.

Oregon City isn't letting road construction and a bridge closure hurt its downtown businesses.

A group of business owners has come up with an event to, as J.J. Foster puts it, 'entice people to come to downtown Oregon City.'

When Foster and her mother, Linda Bell, co-owners of Wynona Studios, a fiber arts studio on Main Street, and Sandra Gilman, owner of You Can Keep Your Hat On, a hat shop, found out that the Three Rivers Artist Guild was not holding First Fridays this year, they put their heads together and came up with Saturdays in the City.

The event, from 4 to 7 p.m. on the second Saturday of June, July and August, will highlight the many dining, shopping and service opportunities offered along historic Main Street.

'This is a unique event, put together by a group of merchants. There will be free entertainment, art and sales - this is a good way to see Oregon City,' Gilman said.

'We thought that if all the businesses did something at the same time on the same day, we could promote that to our customers and give people a reason to visit downtown,' Foster said.

'We have no budget for this,' she noted, and there was no promotion money available from any state or county organization.

All the business owners involved put $5 to $10 in a fund to give to Executive Copy and Printing to create fliers and the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce also is helping to publicize the event, Foster said.

Gilman is hoping that plenty of people come out on June 9 to support first Saturdays in the City.

'Businesses have been suffering this year, but we have good customers who need to come down and show us how much they care about us,' Gilman said.

Fast Facts

Saturdays in the City, in downtown Oregon City

June 9, July 14 and Aug. 11, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Participating businesses include:

You Can Leave Your Hat On, featuring artists Beverly Woodard and Chris Nuffer, and vocalist/guitar player Richard Arthur; Christmas at the Zoo, offering a free ornament with purchase; Strykers Main Street Arcade; Seven Seas Canvas; Willamette Valley Books and Bullion, featuring musical group Opie; Tobacconists; Quality Farm Toys Hobbies; Mi Famiglia Wood Oven Pizzeria, holding happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.; Santi Insurance; Wynona Studios, featuring artists Tara Choate, Owl and Acorn, Lubun Bay and Cheeky Ewe; Angel Ink, offering a discount on regular tattoos, free stickers and otter pops; Tavern 505; Wrightberry's, offering a free mini-cupcake with purchase of a regular cupcake; Busch's Furniture; Executive Copy and Print; Bridgeview, offering make-your-own six pack of root beer for $5; El Compadre, featuring live music; The Verdict; and Cypress Oregon City, featuring a special happy hour and musical entertainment during dinner.

The Tonesetters, a strolling quartet, will entertain along Main Street.