Message from Your President
Thank you to everyone who attended our first virtual member meeting on November 2nd! It was wonderful to see all of you virtually. A big thank you to our Southern Oregon friends who pulled off an amazing virtual FAM tour - from the new Travel Oregon Welcome Center to the roof of the Ashland Springs Hotel!
I want to take a moment to thank Jennifer Mokert and Gabi Duarte whose hard work and planning made the meeting possible, along with the support of all the OTTA board and committee members. THANK YOU.
The OTTA board has been working hard to provide educational sessions and chances for members to connect monthly. We're looking at ways to provide even more value next year by absorbing all the costs for members to join our next virtual meetings and bringing in some exciting new speakers. If you have ideas of how OTTA can better support you, please don't hesitate to contact me directly or reach out to any of our board members.
Please join me in welcoming our new OTTA board members: Tori Middelstadt from the Willamette Valley Visitors Association and Melynda Cordes from The Hungry Hustle Walking Food Tour. If you are interested in joining the board, please reply to this email for more information.
Last but not least, don't forget to update your online profile at OregonTourandTravelAlliance.com. Tour Operators are seeking correct contact information for DMOs, hotels and attractions in Oregon - be sure your information is up to date!
Willamette Valley Vineyards
P.S. With news of the recent shutdowns of restaurants, gyms, wineries and more, I hope you'll join me in supporting your local businesses for the next 2+ weeks!
OTTA December Virtual Happy Hour
Thursday, December 17, 2020
4:00 - 5:00 pm
Please join us for our final OTTA Virtual Happy Hour. This is your chance to catch up with your fellow tourism professionals across the state in a casual and fun setting. Please bring your favorite holiday cocktail or mocktail! And just like any semi-casual gathering - you are welcome to drop in or leave as needed. We'll be giving away prizes at the end - everyone who registers and attends will automatically be entered to win!
See you then with a glass in hand!
Oregon Bamboo Cutting Boards for Sale
Support OTTA and celebrate your favorite regions of Oregon while slicing, dicing and chopping on this cute bamboo cutting board. Also great as a decorative piece or sending as a gift to loved ones. Each cutting board measures 14.5" L x 10.75" W x 0.62" H and includes the Oregon Tour and Travel Alliance logo on the back.
OTTA Secret Santa
OTTA would like to spread some extra cheer this year with a Secret Santa exchange. You'll be in charge of shipping your recipient a fun gift that represents your region of the state. Please stay within the $15 spending limit (excluding shipping) and complete the Wishlist to give your person some ideas of the kind of the things you like and don't like.
Become a Secret Santa today and help spread some cheer to members of our industry!
Member Profile: Tammy Thompson
Tammy Thompson worked for the Monarch for over 30 years, starting as a housekeeper at one of their sister properties. She moved and briefly worked the front desk (when there was still a physical room rack and a drawer of hard keys!) and as the sales admin before transferring over to the Catering Office at the Monarch. Tammy worked on the catering side for 19 years handling arrangements for the various conventions and events before moving over to the Sales Office. She also worked for Multnomah Greyhound Park and Portland Meadows Racing for over 20 years, (yes, at the same time) as a ticket/wager seller and money room clerk. 2020 was the first Kentucky Derby she hadn't worked in 22 years.
Tammy started getting involved with OTTA in 2012, shortly after moving into the Director of Sales role at the Monarch. We handled quite a few motorcoach tours and OTTA was a good way for us to stay engaged in that market. The Monarch had been a member of OTTA when she moved to sales but wasn't actively participating.
Tammy says that the two people who she connected with her the most to OTTA were Dennis Corwin and Scott Hartcorn. Tammy attended her first NTA show in Orlando in 2013 and didn't really know most of the Oregon group that well. Poor Dennis had a boot on his foot and couldn't move around too quickly and got stuck with her (LOL). Scott Hartcorn was a gem at that first NTA show, and even though we worked for competitor hotels, he took the time to talk with Tammy about her appointments and showed her the ropes. She really admired the "sell Oregon first" mentality and camaraderie that Lisa Itel fostered among our team. Seeing and experiencing that teamwork in person helped Tammy realize what a great asset OTTA could be.
The main benefit of OTTA is the networking. Our members learn more about one another, what we do, our strengths, our challenges, not only solidifies the sell Oregon first mantra but provides a referral network of partners we trust.
She is not sure that she has a standout favorite as seeing everyone for that day or two is what really makes Tammy the happiest. She loved being served whiskey by cowboys at the fairgrounds in Pendleton, laughing at Maggie's sheer joy of playing meat bingo in Astoria, and riding dune buggies in Coos Bay. How could one possibly pick?
Tammy reflects on this most unusual year. She has been saddened by the devastation that COVID, unemployment, racial unrest and political discord, have wreaked on the tourism industry. She was one of the many in hospitality that lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Fortunately, Tammy was able to find a new position within the industry that she loves! Her main hope is that everyone is able to take a breath during these times and reflect on their priorities, whether that be spending more time with family or volunteering for a favorite cause. Tammy knew she needed a reset and is not sure she would have done that without COVID turning us all upside down.
Update on Pendleton Mural
Travel Oregon and Old West interested in downtown mural project
By Antonio Sierra of the East Oregonian, September 28, 2020
PENDLETON - Old West Federal Credit Union is paving an empty space to put up a parking lot, but bank officials are hoping it will be more than that.
After a 2019 fire burned down a thrift store at 342 SW First St., Old West bought the newly vacated lot from Pendleton attorney Henry Lorenzen with the idea that the bank would expand its parking lot, which is at the corner of First Street and Dorion Avenue.
But, as Old West commercial lending officer Kevin Jordan told the Pendleton Development Commission at a Sept. 22 meeting, the project got more ambitious once Travel Oregon indicated interest in using a wall near the lot for its Oregon Mural Trail, a tourism campaign that has helped install murals in small towns across Oregon, including Ontario, The Dalles and Prineville.
Allison Keeney, Travel Oregon's manager of global communications, confirmed that the Oregon Mural Trail was in the process of coming to Pendleton.
"The murals are intended to generate a sense of community pride, enhance local economic impact, and contribute to local arts and culture initiatives," she wrote in an email. "It provides arts and culture experiences to enhance the visitor experience while also enriching Oregonians' quality of life."
Jordan told the commission that Travel Oregon wants the project to include a viewing area for the art. So Old West has expanded its idea to include the lot and nearby alley way as a part of the attraction. Jordan said Old West envisioned the area as a community space complete with gates and benches for visitors who might have just completed a walk through the Pendleton Underground Tours.
Jordan was introducing the concept with the hope that the development commission could offer some financial support in the future.
Charles Denight, the associate director of the commission, said the project doesn't fit neatly into any of the urban renewal district's existing programs, but he also added that how the commission spends urban renewal dollars is at their discretion, and they don't necessarily adhere to a program to spend money.
"They've done it in the past and I'm sure they'll do it again," he said.
Denight said what he liked about Old West's proposal is that the bank has already agreed to make a financial contribution to the project.
And although it may not be a perfect fit into one of the commission's assistance programs, Denight said a community space based around the Old West alleyway was one of the concepts presented in the city's original urban renewal plan.
Eye on the Northwest Wines KOIN TV
Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, Umatilla County Tourism, Watermill Winery, and Echo Ridge Cellars have paid to be on the Eye on Northwest Wines for November 2020. Natalie Marmion is the host of the episodes. This show premiered in 2019 and featured wineries along the Gorge and Willamette Valley. Because of COVID, we were not able to get a full package of wineries but so thankful that Watermill and Echo Ridge could participate. Also because of COVID, in person interviews had to be conducted on Zoom. Julie Schoenert, Avidity Wines, stated that: "Being in the KOIN wine show was a great investment for us. The production was amazing! The day after the show aired, we had at least seven groups come in who said they saw the show! Awesome!" Following are the air dates:
KOIN, 11/21, 7-7:30 p.m.
KOIN 11/22, 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
KRCW 11/22, 4-4:30 p.m.
KRCW 11/29, 4:30-5:00 p.m.
Eastern Oregon Visitor Association and contractor, Janet
Dodson, have produced farm loops and tours. Umatilla County Tourism created two 60 second videos on their two farm loops: Whisky & Rocks, and River to Hills Farm Trail. Below please find the Youtube links:
River to Hills Farm Trail
Whisky & Rocks Farm Loop
Mark Your Calendar!
February 25 - OTTA Virtual Winter Meeting, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
October 24 - OTTA Board Fall Meeting in Ashland, 12:00 - 3:00 pm
October 25 - OTTA Fall Meeting in Ashland, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Please contact Chris Chester at chrisLchester@hotmail.com if you want to add a calendar item for the Upcoming Newsletter.
Oregon Tour & Travel Alliance (O.T.T.A.) - 503.626.8197