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Citizens Bank is underwriting a portion of costs to get Downtown Oregon City Association advertising.

PHOTO COURTESY: DOCA - Main Street typically closes to traffic each year (not in 2020) for an antique fair in Oregon City that draws thousands of people seeking collectables.Citizens Bank is underwriting a portion of businesses' cost to join the Downtown Oregon City Association's friends program through at least the end of the year.

DOCA's friends program, which provides participating businesses with DOCA website advertising and discounts on various other services, normally costs $250 for 12 months of registration. DOCA Executive Director Liz Hannum thanked Citizens Bank for providing $50 toward each annual "friend of downtown," which DOCA is matching to make the total annual cost $150.

"Not only does that help us with our funding and ability to keep doing big projects, but it also supports our small businesses during a year that many have had to forgo supporting causes they feel good about," Hannum said.

Citizens Bank, which has a branch in Oregon City located near downtown, has been looking for ways to help businesses bounce back from the recession. Oregon City took home the 2018 Great American Main Street Award from a national conference, but several businesses have closed since the arrival of the pandemic to Clackamas County in March 2020.

Citizens Bank Vice President David Green credited one of his branch officers, Ray Stobie, who is on the board of DOCA, with being instrumental in the initiative to underwrite the friends program. The plight of downtown businesses and DOCA resonated with Green, who has a large amount of discretionary funds that shareholders have entrusted to him to place back in the community.

"You don't win a national award without doing something right, and you don't get that success without individual businesses -- but the success of those individual businesses has gotten a lot tougher over the past year," Green said.

Oregon City is home to 90% first-time owner or family-operated businesses. DOCA recruits new potential businesses and provides support to existing businesses. Visitors and residents to Oregon City have access to seven local breweries and cideries, an award-winning bakery and a fifth-generation family-owned fish shop.


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