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SWBA's Passport promotion 'goes digital'

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The SWBA Passport Day double-decker bus rolls through Westmoreland, on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue.Shoppers being chauffeured around the business district in pedicabs, and sidewalk sale bargain hunters hopping rides on a double-decker bus, were sure signs that the Sellwood-Westmoreland Business Association (SWBA) was holding its annual summertime “Passport” promotion day on August 31.

Many businesses reported good sales and numerous visitors, SWBA President Tom Brown told THE BEE. “Every business in the area is considered a member, and most of them participated.”

Instead of providing shoppers with the usual paper “passport” book to have stamped as they visited merchants, the organization tried a new approach. Shoppers were encouraged to use their “smart phones” or tablets to take their own picture, with the official poster in a shop window in the background.

“We had 470 entries, and gave out about $3,000 in prizes, including two iPads,” Brown smiled. “We did learn that people seem to like the ‘paper option’ better; so next time, we’ll probably go back to using a physical printed ‘passport’.”

Residents and shoppers enjoyed seeing the bright red double-decker bus pass by; and many took a ride around the area. “The double-decker bus will be back in the Sellwood and Westmoreland business districts for ‘Decemberville’ on Saturday, December 7,” Brown promised.