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After move, WL chamber looks to future

Chamber hopes to revamp website, partner with city on community calendar

After what President Dan Gardner called a “multi-stage” moving process, the West Linn Chamber of Commerce is finally settling in at its new location on Willamette Drive in the Bolton area.

A series of miscommunications with the property owners at the old building left chamber members scrambling in late September, and for two weeks the chamber operated out of West Linn City Hall. GARDNER

“(City Manager) Chris Jordan let us use the conference room on a month-to-month basis,” Gardner said. “But that was not ideal.”

It wasn’t until mid-October that the chamber was able to move into the new building, and even then, it had to sublet the property until the lease officially began Nov. 1. Yet, in the end, Gardner feels it was well worth the trouble.

“We’re in the basement of the West Linn Properties building, and we have the whole ground floor,” Gardner said. “It’s about four times bigger than the space we had before.”

With a large conference room and office space, the chamber’s new home provides fertile ground for an ever-growing operation. Gardner, who took over as president last June, said the chamber is pursuing a number of new initiatives, including a partnership with the city to provide training opportunities at the new small business center, creating a centralized community calendar for West Linn and overhauling its website.

“We’re making no revenue off the website at this point,” Gardner said. “So we would re-invest any additional revenue from the website into developing the website (more). It would provide value for the community as well as our members.”

The chamber applied for a West Linn community grant to help fund the website overhaul, but those grants have yet to be announced by the city.

When it comes to community events, Gardner said the chamber has revamped its newsletter service and received a “great response.”

“It’s much more informative, promoting events that go beyond the chamber,” Gardner said. “We’re getting lots of response, and people who aren’t chamber members, for events like the McLean House gala, Lock Fest, anything really that’s going on.

“The city is only promoting their sanctioned events, and they would like us to take over non-city events as far as promoting them.”

Beyond that, Gardner said the chamber’s usual networking events are also growing in size and scope.

“The networking events are still key pieces,” he said. “Both a.m. and p.m. events are gaining momentum ... our focus was on better execution.

To learn more, visit westlinnchamber.com.

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