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City to cut monthly newsletter for digital version


Tigard officials say email and digital copies of Cityscape will be available starting in August

For more than 20 years, residents in Tigard have received a copy of Cityscape in their mailboxes once a month.

But that will change this summer after the city announced it was ending Cityscape in favor of a digital version of the newsletter.

If you live in Tigard, chances are you’ve picked up a copy of Cityscape at least once.

The monthly newsletter is mailed to 26,000 homes and businesses across the city every month. The four-page newsletter is the city’s official source of information. June’s issue featured stories about the Downtown Art Walk, an overview of work being done to revitalize the Tigard Triangle and events at local parks and the library.

Starting in August, the city will cease Cityscape’s print publication. Instead, the city said that it would email copies of the newsletter to families, as well as post it online.

“This is not a matter of cutting back on information,” Newton said, “just the delivery of it. We will be putting out the same type of information, just in a different format.”

According to a survey taken by the city in 2013, Cityscape is where most residents get their information about the city’s work — the second most popular was The Times, followed by The Oregonian.

The city will still print a few hundred copies for distribution at the Tigard Public Library, the Tigard Senior Center and the Summerfield Community Clubhouse, Newton said. Those communities have larger percentages of people without easy access to the Internet.

Newton said it costs about $80,000 each year to produce the newsletter. Most of that money is spent on printing and mailing.

The new digital version and limited print copies is much cheaper, Newton said, and is expected to cost the city about $2,000 annually.

The city has considered making the switch to digital for years, and in the 2013 survey, asked residents how they would feel getting an electronic copy of Cityscape, rather than a hard copy.

“Over 70 percent said to switch,” Newton said. “Once people realized the cost involved, they were for it. This was the first time we’d ever asked folks that question.”

Newton said it was the positive response from the survey that gave the city the motivation to move the program online.

“We are trying this because of the feedback that we got,” Newton said. “That is a significant amount of money we’ll be saving, and we want to acknowledge that people that go to the library or the senior center are still able to grab a copy.”

The money saved from Cityscape will be enough to fund a new position in the city, Newton said.

The city plans to hire a “communications strategist” this summer to help with citizen engagement, Newton said.

“They are going to be charged with doing outreach for citizens and finding new ways to connect with people and get information out,” Newton said, as well as overseeing the city’s Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Cityscape is the city’s most important way to communicate with residents, Newton said, so making sure that as many people as possible are able to find and access Cityscape is important.

“That’s why we want to monitor (the rollout) really closely,” Newton said. “I’m thankful we have tools in place to do that. We can see how many people signed up to receive it, and how many views we are getting every month. Obviously, if people have concerns about it, they can register them with me. We’ll be tracking this monthly.”

To view the current edition of Cityscape, and to sign up for email copies of future editions, visit www.Tigard-or.gov/cityscape.