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City officials hope to assist businesses with ongoing impact of pandemic, while educating citizens on points of interest

Oregon City's tourism program this month launched a drawing for $40 gift certificates redeemable at local restaurants.

Over the next 10 months, residents will win a total of $20,000 in gift certificates from a rotating list of restaurants in the city's latest effort to provide economic stimulus on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oregon City Economic Development Manager James Graham said in addition to helping restaurants with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the city aims to give citizens a greater understanding of the community's history and points of interest, allowing them to be future tour guides.

"It is our hope that this program helps our residents become reacquainted with the historic sites of Oregon City, while also developing true champions for tourism," Graham said.

To be entered in the drawing for gift certificates, residents must answer an online quiz with three questions about historical trivia. Participants are able to watch video tours of Oregon City historical sites to help answer the questions.

OCOURTESY PHOTO - Oregon City's Municipal Elevator, a space-age structure rebuilt in 1955, is on the National Register of Historic Places.regon City's Municipal Elevator, Ermatinger House and McLoughlin House will be featured in the videos as a new point of interest is featured each month. This month's first video answers questions about how people migrated across North America via the Oregon Trail.

Before the discussion of migration, the video interviews Grand Ronde tribal members whose ancestors had lived for generations at Willamette Falls. Grand Ronde Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy is directly descended from the people she said regulated the use of the falls by other tribes.

"The keepers of the falls were my grandfathers," Kennedy said. "We knew there's a wealth of fish. This is a rich industry, so it was a place of commerce for us."

Leftover funding from the original $200,000 small business debt-relief grant program is being used with an additional $3,823.49 from the city's general fund for the Community Showcase program to help sustain restaurants in Oregon City.

Oregon City commissioners in April approved a $200,000 small business debt-relief grant program that provided up to $3,000 in grant funding to each eligible business from the city's general fund. Oregon City officials issued grants to 78 businesses but found that 35 of the total 113 applicants were ineligible for the program.


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