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A new brand for Prineville?

City council votes to give Chamber of Commerce $2,500 for branding project
The City of Roses. The Emerald City. The Big Apple. What do these phrases bring to mind?
   A strong city brand should be something memorable. Something unique that sets it apart from the rest.
   The subject of branding Prineville was discussed at the Dec. 11 city council meeting by Diane Bohle, executive director of the Prineville Chamber of Commerce. The council voted to grant the chamber $2,500 to proceed with a new branding project that will further solidify Prineville's identity.
   Bohle mentioned that around four or five years ago, some forward-thinking members of the chamber felt that Prineville needed an image change.
   "So that we could say we're not that small town 40 miles from Bend. We're Prineville," she said. "We wanted to take hold of our identity and express it."
   The chamber worked with Ken Atwell, a professor at Central Oregon Community College, who had branded the Seattle Fish Market.
   After deliberation by a 50-member panel, the current slogan, "Prineville: The Best of Town and Country," was decided upon.
   The slogan was meant to express two things: Prineville's rural, as well as its town heritage.
   "It says it quickly, and sums things up. It gives people a mental image of who we are," Bohle said.
   Now, the chamber is looking to improve upon Prineville's brand and is waiting on a decision from the county, which will deliberate on the issue Jan. 2.
   Bohle stressed the importance of a brand that highlights a city's individuality, while making it attractive to potential visitors.
   "We can't forget that cities are competing for lifestyles, we're competing for work force and we're competing for tourism dollars - what's going to make Prineville and Crook County stand out?" she asked.
   City branding is akin to advertising and marketing in that it takes a large amount of creativity and research, but differs from the two because public feedback is necessary, if not vital to the process .
   Councilor Gordon Gillespie favors the project and mentioned that he is interested in how they plan to blend the county and city.
   "People come in and they want something with Prineville on it, and they have no idea what county they're in," he said.
   The Chamber ultimately wants to adopt something that blurs the line between the communities of Crook County, something that residents of Paulina and Powell Butte can also consider their own.
   "We're very proud of Crook County and the courthouse. We feel like Crook County citizens," Gillespie said. "Selling it to locals, on the one hand, is important, and something outsiders will grasp, is a challenge."