A View of Main and Fifth

A glimpse through the nearly 100-year-old windows of the Elks Building in downtown Ellensburg. Leadership change is in store for the Ellensburg Downtown Association as it searches for a new director.

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Ellensburg Downtown Association interim director Tripp Muldrow leaned back in his chair Tuesday afternoon. His plaid shirt seemed more indicative of his personality than the upcoming Plaid Friday scheduled next week after Thanksgiving.

His focus was centered around the laptop in front of him, but he easily switched gears to the computer in the corner of his desk. The consultant from Greenville, S.C., has been serving in a temporary role as the Ellensburg Downtown Association interim director since Oct. 27.

EDA NARROWING SEARCH

His name won’t come up as an applicant for the director’s job, which went live on Monday. He’s a temp and right now, with cancellations because of COVID-19 restrictions and the holidays rapidly approaching, it feels like he’s drinking from a fire hydrant.

He smiled at the sound of the Pacific Northwest steady drizzle of rain on the window.

“I’m used to the rain, but I’m used to warmer weather,” he said, referring to his South Carolina roots.

SELECTION COMMITTEE

The plan is for the selection committee consisting of EDA board president Megan West, past president Linda Schantz, business owner Blake Collins, Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce CEO Amy McGuffin and CPA Scott Pernaa to go over the list of applicants with hopes of having the position filled after the first of the year.

“The job description was posted Monday and we’ve already had interest from all over the region and a handful from the East Coast,” Muldrow said.

With the unusual pandemic year and the recent resignation of former director Molly Jones, Muldow has been brought in as a consultant to see that the transition goes smoothly. He is with the creative planning firm Arnett/Muldrow & Associates and has had a successful history with the Ellensburg Downtown Association.

JOB TASKS

“My job tasks have changed dramatically this week (with the COVID-19 restrictions coming out of the governor’s office),” he said. “No. 1, I am working with out selection committee in hiring a full-time director. I’m also working on our holiday events.

“I love Ellensburg and that’s part of why I’m here. I love the state and this community. Our company believes in this community. The contract is with the company, but personally believe there’s something very special going on here. In the past, I’ve worked very closely with (former director) Carolyn Honeycutt and we hope to get somebody in here very soon.”

Because of the pandemic, he’s had to deal with canceled events like Dancing in the State Farm Windows, Teddy Bear’s First Christmas, and Streets of Bethlehem. It’s looking like the cookie scavenger hunt will be the next cancellation.

PLAN IS HIRE BY JANUARY

“We just didn’t feel right about having our little ones going around from business to business during the pandemic,” Muldrow said.

The EDA does plan to have its Plaid Friday event on Nov. 27 to help support local business all over town and not just downtown.

Shoppers are encouraged to don the plaid and shop locally on both Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday the following day. Shoppers can enjoy various sales, discounts, and giveaways hosted by participating businesses.

“We’re re-evaluating our events to make sure they comply to the governor’s orders,” he said. “We’re working closely with our restaurants to make sure that customers are supporting our shops and restaurants during this time, and making sure they know what businesses are open.”

AWARD-WINNING ORGANIZATION

The Ellensburg Downtown Association has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center, according to a news release from the association.

The Ellensburg Downtown Association’s performance is annually evaluated by Washington Main Street, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

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