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May 29, 2019


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I don't know why this post got me worked up enough to respond, but here I am!

Salem Main Street Assoc was not incorrectly incorporated as a c3. It isn't a membership-based organization and it is funded by public money and donations. As part of the Main Street model (Oregon Main Street being the coordinating org in Oregon and run by State of Oregon Parks & Recreation Dept.) they follow an organizational template that is used throughout the US. The IRS has signed off on Main Street modeled org's as complying with 501(c)(3), and have issued tax letters to every Main Street organization that has applied and met the criteria. The argument they are inappropriately organized is 100% false.

To say it "in no way represents downtown business and property owners" is ridiculous on its face if you read who is on the board. All individuals who are deeply involved in downtown. However, if I can infer, I think your argument is that you don't like who is on the board. Fine. If a legitimate or real downtown organization requires everyone to approve of everyone, we'll never have a legitimate or real downtown organization. If the issue is with how the initial board was selected, also fine. But that's how most non-profits get started up; by a group of like-minded people banding together and making something happen. If you read the bylaws of SMSA the directors are term limited, so anyone who qualifies to run for a seat is free to do so. The composition and outlook of the board is intended to, and will, change over time. But kudos to them for starting something.

I am not involved with SMSA, but I am familiar with the results of the work they are doing. As a frequent visitor to downtown for dining, and working downtown, I appreciate the efforts to increase the visibility, "enjoyability", and variety of our events and promotions. Does every downtown resident, property owner, business person agree with me? Nope, but that doesn't delegitimize it.

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