by: PHOTO COURTESY: DAVID HULEGAARD - David Hulegaard and Jennie Fasciona, local residents who just launched a website, celebrate the reopening of the Oregon City Arch Bridge in October.David Hulegaard and his fiancee, Jennie Fasciona, recently launched a community outreach initiative in their Oregon City hometown to focus support on local businesses:

Experience Oregon City’s mission is to shine a spotlight on everything that makes the city great, from fine dining to historical tours.

Dozens of firms and nonprofits have signed up for free service intended to be an additional arm of marketing support, not to replace any already in place. Nearly 1,000 people have already signed up for updates via Facebook.

“We envision it being a one-stop resource for both current city residents and neighboring towns alike,” Hulegaard said.

Experience Oregon City emerged a few of months ago when he and Fasciona, who are in their 30s, met a “sweet older couple.” The elder Oregon City residents of more than 40 years had never been to the Rose Farm Museum and didn’t even know it was open to the public.

“Once there, they took the tour and talked at length about how much they enjoyed the experience,” Hulegaard said. “That’s when we knew that there was an opportunity to educate and increase the awareness of what this town has to offer, even internally.”

Financing this whole project with their own money, they’re adding new businesses weekly and will participate in several fundraising and sponsorship opportunities throughout the year. It’s a “passion project” for them “because we love Oregon City so much, and we want to give back to the community,” Hulegaard said.

Local business owners and volunteer groups they heard from described having difficulties getting the word out. Some were frustrated by not having the time or money to invest in marketing.

“We hated seeing these great businesses and groups struggling, so we wanted to develop a plan that could pitch in and help out,” Hulegaard said. “We don’t have a lot of money, but with our 17 years of retail marketing experience, we felt as though we still had something to offer in support.”

“Small Business Saturdays” spotlight a business in town and include a special offer. Working with local artists, musicians, photographers and authors for opportunities to shine a spotlight on their work, the “Photo Friday” feature has become one of their most popular engagements, consistently reaching the eyeballs of several hundred people weekly.

“As our efforts have become more recognized around town, we have been stopped on several occasions to talk about upcoming events and activities that advocates would like some extra exposure for,” Hulegaard said. “We are extremely pleased with how quickly our vision has become a reality, and even surpassed our loftiest of expectations. We are very excited for the future of Experience Oregon City as it continues to grow and find its roots within the community.”

They’re getting married locally on Oct. 19 and are trying to conduct the event only with Oregon City suppliers and vendors.

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