1) For the record can you give us a statement about why this is happening and the benefits? Is it a done deal?
2) Does the name change need approval from the National Chamber of Commerce?
3) Being the Hillsboro nut that I am I do not understand why we want to lose our brand and water it down … this seems like yet another historical revision of the hard-earned Hillsboro brand.
Please give me your perspective… I will be posting an article on Wednesday for the Hillsboro Herald.
Palm answered that I could refer to previous statements released. I do not see the answers to my questions in these previous releases. So I consider them unanswered.
The name change is the latest in a disturbing trend of organizations and others trying to use the Hillsboro Brand to further their own agendas. Yes, the budget of the Hillsboro chamber was/is limited by how many members they can generate. The renaming is going to allow this group to grow its membership by up to 6,000 businesses. The statement given to the News-Times indicates that the current members want more regional and state influence, or power as it were.
“The Washington County Chamber says it is seeking to use the new name to amplify members’ voices at the county and state levels, as well as bring in new members from unincorporated Washington County.”
This decision has enraged Chambers of Commerce in Beaverton, Forest Grove, Cornelius, North Plains, Tualatin, and others. Leading up to this unilateral name change there was a failed and rushed move to place DeAnna Palm in the Director’s role at both Beaverton and Hillsboro simultaneously. In what now appears to have been some sort of internal power struggle, the Beaverton Chamber pulled out amid accusations that a hostile work environment and lack of transparency ensued right after Palm arrived.
Here is the definition of a Chamber of Commerce is:
A chamber of commerce is a voluntary partnership of businesses and professionals working together to build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life in a community.
The former Hillsboro Chamber has this mission statement:
To promote business prosperity and a healthy, equitable, inclusive and diverse community by providing information, services and advocacy for our members.
No doubt the Hillsboro Chamber has been known for that. Maybe power and influence and having more of it have become more important than actually serving the people, community, and businesses of Hillsboro? It sure looks like it.
Hillsboro is a fantastic City- a powerful, fun, successful, vibrant City. Our brand is hard work. Honesty. Success. Creativity. It is a brand that begins with the Welcome to Hillsboro sign on the edge of town. It is added to as one sees our parks, and our schools and enhanced when passing by high-tech centers, hospitals, hotels, and the lush fields that surround us. Our historic homes and downtown speak to our days as the County seat and the birthplace of the Pacific NW becoming part of the United States. Yes, thanks to Colonel Joe Meek and others, we now fly the stars and stripes and not the Union Jack. Our brand is a very Hillsboro Brand, and many of you and I will stand and fight to preserve it.
Here is my message to the former Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce. Good Riddance. If all of you good people ( I mean that) do not like our name and affiliation with our City – pack up and move along. If you would rather represent the entire County, then go do that. Washington County as an entity has long tried to take credit for Hillsboro’s successes. In the 40 years I have been in business here, I have seen that again and again. All the while, it was the business people of Hillsboro that earned that brand, did the heavy lifting, and created the success. Yes, the county helped along the way, but it has also profited greatly from tax revenues, etc. I was a member of the Chamber, something that is expected when you are a local Realtor and business person. This name change is not only idiotic; it displays misplaced goals and objectives. If the decades of work promoting Hillsboro were not enough for the staff and supporters, they could have moved on to new positions at the County or State.
Hillsboro and our businesses need a Chamber to represent us. Watering down what we need and how we brand and promote ourselves will not help us. Representation of both the entire County and the City can not be accomplished by this foolish name change. I do not believe it can be accomplished under any circumstances. While a Washington County Chamber seems like a noble and viable thing, don’t try to convince us that it is somehow extra good for Hillsboro. It most certainly can not be.
Let me close with two thoughts. Chambers of Commerce are just one way for businesses to support each other. The Hillsboro Downtown Partnership has been a big help for the businesses in the historic area. It is in a position to grow and to obtain support from the City of Hillsboro. There has already been talk of HDP growing City wide, but this move will really make some waves, and I welcome that. That group is all about Hillsboro and only Hillsboro. That is what a Chamber of Commerce should do- carry the flag for the City they represent.
Lastly, there is a nifty 11 Step Guide of how to start a Chamber of Commerce. Maybe it is time for a new group or splinter group to form the Greater Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce or the Real Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce. Looks easy enough to do, that is for sure. So what the hell, who wants to take that up?
This is a foolish move- it really is. And to all of your other towns with local Chambers promoting your brands, I say God Speed. I apologize to you as well, on behalf of our City. This is not fair to you, and I encourage you to do what you must to protect your memberships and organizations. In the end, I believe that the VERY fine people who led the Hillsboro Chamber forward these past many years have simply made a mistake. Dropping the name of our fine City is a choice you made, and while I am only one person, I think many agree with my sentiments. This is a very un-Hillsboro thing you have done and only time will tell if you will have to answer for it.
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