The Pendleton Downtown Association is now asking for permanent funding, I suspect eyeballing that unexpected windfall pot tax revenue. We already spend a considerable amount funding the Chamber of Commerce, nearly $300,000 annually. According to the PDA, the Chamber is just not getting the job done, a pretty serious assertion. Despite the claims of the PDA administrator, it’s the associate director of the Pendleton Development Commission, a part-time city employee, that has been calling the shots downtown these days with high praise from the mayor, city council, and of course the city manager, awarding him an increase in both his salary and budget. There is now a major concern that funding his many projects will continue to limit our ability to maintain those approved by previous administrations.
Take a close look at the Riverfront Plaza Park, for instance. Nearly half the trees have died and the banners on two of three light poles are missing, with the lone survivor hanging upside down. Many of the wall lights have been burned out for some time. Park maintenance is labor-intensive, much like that in the intersection in front of the Dairy Queen, a hands and knees weeding job. The River Walkway asphalt is cracking and crumbling, and though funding was appropriated two years ago, the repairs, directed at the highest level of city government, were never done.
Hopefully the pot tax revenue will be used to fix public streets and buildings rather than fund private businesses. It sounds like the “movers and shakers” are going to get their committee to study the issue, and remind city officials of their responsibility to fund that moving and shaking.