Still time to help with the costs of those flowers
by: J. Brian Monihan, 
Carl Higgins prepares to hang a basket at the intersection of A Avenue and State Street Saturday. It takes a team of five to seven volunteers, each with a specific duty, to hang each of the flower baskets.

Did you notice?

A total of 266 flower baskets almost magically appeared Saturday morning in Lake Oswego - courtesy of 55 volunteers with the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce and the chamber foundation.

Basket-hanging volunteers began the day early Saturday, starting in two locations: Lake Grove and downtown. Their efforts resulted in baskets hanging all around the city.

That's the good news as Lake Oswegans and visitors again enjoy the beautiful baskets. The bad news, and chamber CEO Jerry Wheeler emphasizes that this is 'not a crisis situation,' is that more money is needed to pay for the baskets.

'We started the year with the lowest cash carryover ever,' Wheeler said. Donations are down and the chamber foundation is between $3,000 and $4,000 down in covering basket costs.

This year, Wheeler said, $69,426 is the projected cost for the purchase of the baskets from the Garden Corner in Tualatin and their maintenance through Oct. 1. That translates into about $1.86 a day per basket.

'The economy is a bit tighter this year,' Wheeler said, and 'donations are down.'

There is still time to help by sending checks (payable to the Lake Oswego Chamber Foundation) to the chamber office, P.O. Box 368, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. For more details, contact the chamber office at 503-636-3634.

In addition to the baskets, the chamber is unveiling a new logo and tag line to represent the organization. The new mark will replace the flower basket motif used for many years to represent the chamber and its popular hanging flower displays.

The new logo incorporates an etched-style print of the 1800s-era iron furnace that still exists in George Rogers Park. Local design firm Newslanding Design is responsible for the design. The new tagline, 'Forging Partnerships. Building Community' was created by local agency Fish Marketing in collaboration with copywriter Cindy Brown.

'Although we love our flower baskets and the attention they bring to our city, we felt our logo should have more of a business feel to it and represent other aspects of what we do,' said Wheeler.

'In 1867, the first blast furnace on the west coast was built on the banks of the Willamette River at what is now George Rogers Park. This iron furnace truly represents early commerce in the region and is an iconic reminder that our community is home to many strong businesses,' added Newslanding's creative director Don New.

The new logo and tagline are just part of an overall marketing strategy being developed by the chamber's marketing committee. Led by committee chair Brenda Suteu, the group is comprised of local marketing professionals who also plan to roll out a new Web site, collateral pieces, newsletter format and a series of business education seminars later this year.

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