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News Releases
Chef Austin Jones of the Local Cow, a business that opened in 2012 with help from the City's Garage to Storefront program.
Chef Austin Jones of the Local Cow, a business that opened in 2012 with help from the City's Garage to Storefront program.
Garage to Storefront 2.0 brings back popular business incentives (Photo) - 07/23/15
GRESHAM, Ore. - The City's popular and successful Garage to Storefront program is back, and it's better than ever - this time offering both incentives for new and expanding commercial businesses and a new incentive aimed at helping property owners make storefront improvements and get lease-ready.

The Gresham City Council unanimously approved the new Garage to Storefront program on July 21 - dubbed Garage to Storefront 2.0. The new incentives, which run through June 30, 2016, are available immediately.

Garage to Storefront 2.0 waives City fees and charges for qualifying businesses in Gresham's key commercial districts - the historic Downtown, and the Civic and Central Rockwood neighborhoods.

For new or expanding businesses filling no more than 5,000 square feet of currently vacant commercial space, this means the City will waive business license fees, commercial tenant improvement permit fees, and system development charges.

For qualifying property owners in these same incentive zones, the City is offering $0 City-related permits to remodel existing vacant commercial space, or for fa├žade improvements for vacant or occupied commercial space.

The simple-but-powerful fee holiday was reinstated to continue filling empty or under-performing storefronts with new retail activity.

"Mayors from across the country ask me how they can replicate our tremendously successful program," Mayor Shane Bemis said. "I tell them to keep it simple, get out of their way and let businesses do what they do best: bring jobs, investment, and vibrancy to the community. Our updated program will help Gresham take the next step forward, and remain on the national forefront of small business leadership."

Details for Garage to Storefront 2.0 are available at Business, and on the City's Small Business Center mobile app, which is available for download from Google Play and the Apple Store. Some restrictions apply. Interested entrepreneurs and property owners can contact the City's Small Business Coordinator at 503-618-2872 or to confirm eligibility, or for other assistance.

The City's previous Garage to Storefront program, which ran from 2010 to 2012, helped more than 140 small businesses open or expand in Gresham. These small business owners saved more than $170,000 in City fees, hired or retained more than 300 employees, and occupied more than 225,000 square feet of commercial space. Chris Rhyne, co-owner of the Local Cow, opened a burger restaurant in 2012 on Main Avenue in downtown Gresham.

"The Garage to Storefront program was huge for our business," Rhyne said. "We saved thousands of dollars in fees and were able to pump that money back into our business."

"All you have to do is look at our downtown today to see Garage to Storefront's significant impact - we've got businesses that are thriving," Eric Schmidt, the City's Community Development Director, said. "The 2.0 version of the program builds on that positive activity by helping another round of enterprises start up, expand and get lease-ready."

All of the drawings have been produced by Gresham artist Guy Edwards, who based his sketches on ideas submitted by the community; represented here is the Teddy Bear Parade.
All of the drawings have been produced by Gresham artist Guy Edwards, who based his sketches on ideas submitted by the community; represented here is the Teddy Bear Parade.
Media Advisory: Capture a colorful world record in the making in downtown Gresham - Oregon's fourth-largest city gets ready to chalk up a big win with help from the public (Photo) - 07/16/15
GRESHAM, Ore. - Media representatives can capture artists this Friday, July 17, as they sketch the outlines of a giant coloring book in historic downtown Gresham in preparation for the City's weekend bid to break the Guinness World Record for the most chalk drawings ever put to pavement - 350 to be exact, all to be colored in by the community during the Gresham Arts Festival on Saturday, July 18. We're calling it the Chalk of Fame, and inviting everyone to be a #GreshamChalkStar.

Friday, July 17, Media Opportunity:
A team of artists will draw the outlines of 350 5 foot-by-5 foot Gresham-inspired designs on Friday morning along Third Street between Hood and Kelly Avenues near the Gresham Arts Plaza.

- Best viewing by the media will take place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., while drawing is still in progress but after some of the outlines are already down on pavement.
- Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, who has championed the Chalk of Fame project after it was suggested by the City Youth Advisory Committee, will be available for interviews on site at 10 a.m. Friday, July 17, for reporters who want to do an advance story on the Chalk of Fame world-record bid and the Arts Festival.
- All of the drawings have been produced by Gresham artist Guy Edwards, who based his sketches on ideas submitted by the community. The dizzying array honors local favorites including the Gresham lilac; mariachi dancers; the City's official tree, the Hogan Cedar; Mount Hood; and teddy bears from the much-beloved Teddy Bear Parade. While Edwards cannot be on site Friday, another lead artist will be available for media interviews.

In the days leading up to the event, all 350 squares have been reserved by individuals and groups in the community who plan to color them in on Saturday, July 18 - in fact, there's been so much interest, an overflow area was created to accommodate extra drawings.

Saturday, July 18, Media Opportunity:
The Chalk of Fame is a one-time special event at the Gresham Arts Festival on Saturday, July 18. The media will have an opportunity to capture the public coloring in the artist- sketched pavement designs throughout the day of the festival, culminating at 4 p.m. when Mayor Bemis walks through the 8,750-square-foot pavement gallery and counts all of the colored-in drawings as part of a verification process that will be submitted to the Guinness organization for the official record.

A celebration will take place on site immediately following the 4 p.m. count, although it could take up to eight weeks for the win to be verified and made official by the Guinness organization after it receives the City's evidence. The record sought is for the most individual pieces of chalk-pavement art displayed simultaneously at a single venue. The current record of 308 chalk drawings was set by Uozu, Japan, in October 2014.

The City of Gresham's evidence portfolio will include a videotape of the official count and statements of verification by two independent witnesses.

A copy of the City's full press release on the Chalk of Fame event, and the Gresham Arts Festival, is available online
and the festival's main information page is at

A short Chalk of Fame video clip:

A video clip from Friday's media event with the artists will also be made available to news outlets that request it.

Background on artist Guy Edwards:
Guy Edwards owns Brainjar Media, a digital marketing agency in downtown Gresham. His first love has always been drawing and he still finds time to do commercial illustration. His work has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and on the cover of four best-selling books. When he's not building websites and doing commercial illustration, he finds inspiration in the woods looking for Bigfoot.

For information Friday or Saturday, members of the media can contact Robin Franzen Parker, Public Affairs Director for the City of Gresham, at 503-793-5157 (cell).

Subaru of America selects Gresham for new master distribution center: 600,000-square-foot development is first big project at Port of Portland's Gresham Vista Business Park - 07/07/15
GRESHAM, Ore. - Subaru of America Inc. has selected Gresham for its new 600,000-square-foot master distribution center, which it is relocating from Japan to the United States.

The new distribution center will be the anchor tenant and the most significant development to date at the Port of Portland's Gresham Vista Business Park, which the Port has jointly marketed with the City of Gresham since acquiring it in 2011.

"We are thrilled to see Subaru call Gresham home," Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis said of the development. "This is a very important win for Gresham, and a great win for the entire state and region. We have worked tremendously hard for years to improve Gresham's competitiveness, and Subaru's decision validates our efforts and aggressiveness in this arena. Longtime Gresham residents will immediately understand the significance of seeing a huge new industrial development on the Gresham Vista site, bringing jobs and vital economic investment to town."

Trammell Crow Company is building the master distribution center in a joint venture with Clarion Partners and plans to break ground in August 2015. Subaru will lease the space, with occupancy anticipated by October 2016. The master distribution center for auto parts - serving regional parts facilities - will sit on 40 acres, allowing for expansion of up to another 235,000 square feet in the future.

The 221-acre Gresham Vista Business Park - bounded by Northeast Glisan Street, Southeast Stark Street, Northeast 223rd Avenue and Northeast 242nd Avenue in Gresham - is less than a mile from Interstate 84 and located within Gresham's Enterprise Zone.

The Port Commission is expected to approve the land sale to Trammell Crow Portland Development Inc. on Wednesday. This project is being carried out under the City's recently enacted 66-day timeframe for industrial development projects, which provides faster approval and more certainty for companies.

Subaru of America operates another 413,900-square-foot facility at the Port's Rivergate Industrial Park that serves a different function within its network. That operation will not be impacted by the new facility in Gresham, which is projected to bring as many as 50 new jobs to the area.

Founded in 1968, Subaru of America Inc. is the U.S. sales and marketing subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries of Japan. It is responsible for the distribution, marketing, sales and service of Subaru vehicles in the United States. Subaru operates six warehouses throughout the United States supporting Subaru retailer parts and accessories needs in the United States and Canada, including one in Portland.

The Gresham Vista Business Park property's large size, shovel-ready status, favorable soils, and other attributes made it a logical choice for the partnership project between the Port, the City of Gresham, Trammell Crow, Clarion and Subaru.

Gresham Arts Festival aims for Guinness World Record on July 18 : Biggest event in 14 years features the Chalk of Fame and more than 150 artisans (Photo) - 07/06/15
GRESHAM, Ore. - Celebrate creativity and community all day long - and help break a Guinness World Record - on Saturday, July 18, as the City of Gresham and more than two dozen local sponsors bring the historic downtown to life with treasures from top artists, live music and children's activities.

The 14th annual Gresham Arts Festival is the city's most popular annual event, drawing thousands from around the region each year to its charming downtown streets to meet with - and shop from - a carefully selected crop of Northwest artists and artisans: painters, potters, sculptors, glassblowers, jewelers, woodworkers, photographers, and more.

Festival visitors are invited to help break a Guinness World Record at the Chalk of Fame, a one-time addition to the festival bringing families, friends, businesses and community groups together to color in 350 5-by-5-foot Gresham-themed chalk drawings - the most ever put to pavement - on Third Street next to the Arts Plaza, 401 N.E. Second St. Everyone can be a #GreshamChalkStar and color a spot on the Chalk of Fame. It's free and open to all. Drop in between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to color or reserve squares online at Service organizations and business groups are encouraged to partner with the City to reserve and complete 10 or more squares; Powell Valley Assisted Living and Memory Care Community and Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE) are participating in the Chalk of Fame. Call 503-618-2584.

"I'm happy to see the Arts Festival each summer and this year is no exception," Mayor Shane Bemis said. "Not only will the festival be bigger and better than ever, we'll be breaking a Guinness World Record at the Chalk of Fame event that day, too. I am excited to see the Gresham community come together as it always does for the Arts Festival and am especially looking forward to the City Youth Advisory Committee's World Record idea coming to fruition."

The public is invited to join Chalk of Fame official Guinness witnesses Laural Porter, news anchor, KGW News; and Gresham watercolor artist Mike Hill for the Guinness Count and Record Celebration starting at 4 p.m.

During the Gresham Arts Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than150 artists will fill the streets along with 12 musical acts and a "Kids' Village" sponsored by Greater Gresham Baptist Church that encourages kids to unleash their inner artist by participating in free and fanciful craft projects and cooling off in the Children's Fountain; the Kids' Village is located right in downtown on the Arts Plaza.

Visitors can browse and dine at more than 100 shops and eateries, and find fresh produce at the Gresham Farmers' Market.

This family event is free, as is a new Valet Bicycle Parking area provided by the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce at Fifth Street and Miller Avenue. There is plenty of space to park bicycles while enjoying the event; bring a lock and the rest is provided.

Parking is available at nine City-owned lots in and around downtown. Public transportation is recommended, and visitors can take TriMet's MAX Blue Line to Gresham Central Transit Center or bike the Springwater Trail Corridor to Main City Park and into historic downtown.

Patron sponsors include The Outlook/Pamplin Media Group, 101.9 KINK, Gresham Ford and MetroEast Community Media.

For more information, including directions, a list of participating artists, a full sponsor list, and the entertainment lineup, visit View a colorful promotional video of the event at

For information the day of the event, members of the media should contact Robin Franzen Parker, Public Affairs Director for the City of Gresham, at 503-793-5157.