The Astoria Downtown Historic District Association (ADHDA) welcomed its new coordinator, Rebecca Frick, earlier this month. Like her predecessor, Blaire Buergler, Frick is a RARE volunteer. RARE (Resource Assistance for Rural Environments) is a program administered by the University of Oregon that places participants in communities for an 11-month period. The primary goal of the program is to build capacity within rural communities.
“The RARE program has been great for us,” said Dulcye Taylor, president of ADHDA. “By demonstrating the additional value we can provide by having someone dedicated to the effort on a fulltime basis, we believe we’ll eventually have the financial support to transition to a permanent staffing situation,” Taylor explained. This is the third year ADHDA has applied to and been accepted in the program.
ADHDA’s board recognized early on that the organization’s impact would forever be limited by relying solely on volunteer effort. That notion was validated when the group was without a coordinator for the month of August following Buergler’s departure. “We didn’t drop any balls,” Taylor said, “but it was taxing on all of us to try to keep things moving in the interim. A 100% volunteer effort is not a model that can sustainably support our level of activity for the long-term,” she added.
Frick is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon where she studied planning and public policy. She has a solid understanding of the Main Street Program that ADHDA utilizes as a guide for its work. She is originally from Portland, where her family currently lives.
“I am very excited to be in Astoria and to work with the ADHDA,” Frick said. “I could feel the energy in Astoria when I came to interview for this position and hope that I can help the organization continue the good work they have been doing for downtown and perhaps bring some fresh ideas to the table.”
Rebecca’s arrival comes as the organization is wrapping up its annual membership drive, with the goal of raising $15,000. “That represents about one third of our annual budget,” Taylor said. The balance comes from the group’s own special events, work-for-hire projects, and other major contributors.
“The City of Astoria and the Astoria Sunday Market have been big supporters, and we’ve developed some really strong partnerships with them over the last three years,” she added. “Those partnerships, along with a strong base of business and individual supporters, are key to the success of any downtown program.”