PENDLETON - The Pendleton Downtown Merchants Association needs more members and the Urban Renewal District needs more ideas.

Those were the principal themes of representatives of the two groups who spoke Wednesday to 57 members and guests of the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce at the Pendleton Convention Center.

Erika Patton, president of the 46-member merchants association, stressed that the organization is not just for downtown businesses or chamber members. It is open to all community businesses and works to enhance business and retailing throughout the community, she said.

"We need new blood and more members," Patton said, noting that the organization has changed its focus for 2005. Instead of trying to have a promotion every month, it is trying to concentrate on fewer high-quality events during the year.

Events planned this year include a spring cleanup in late April or early May, Crazy Days in mid-May in conjunction with Pendleton Underground Comes to Life and the Bombs Away Ball on May 13-14 and Christmas in July, she said.

Marjorie Iburg, chairman of the Pendleton Development Commission, gave her Urban Renewal 101 talk, explaining how the tax-increment financing collected by the renewal district during the next 20 years should help enhance and improve the downtown area.

The ultimate decisions as to which projects to spend money on will be made by the Pendleton City Council, acting as the Urban Renewal Board, "based on the input of citizens," she said. The next development commission meeting will be May 10, Iburg said.

"We want these meetings to have as many people as possible," she said.

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