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Travel Southern Oregon – 23/24 Strategic Partnership Fund Program

An annual Strategic Partnership Fund has been created to provide timely support for high-value destination development or marketing projects to make positive short-term impacts in Southern Oregon as a destination. For the 23/24 cycle, investments that focus on visitor-facing outdoor recreation work; diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that will make Southern Oregon a more welcoming destination; capacity and event support for new or impactful culinary and cultural experiences; and niche marketing will be seen as strategic priorities. Any proposals that meet program guidelines are welcome.

Stakeholders are encouraged to review TSO Strategic Partnership Fund Guidelines to determine if your business or organization is eligible to submit a proposal.

After reviewing this year’s guidelines, stakeholders may submit appropriate projects with the Strategic Partnership Submission Form.

Travel Southern Oregon is pleased to have invested $75,000 in FY23/24 to provide timely support for high-value destination development or marketing projects to make positive short-term impacts in Southern Oregon as a destination. Here is a summary of projects and partners that have been funded in FY23/24:

A Greater Applegate – Place-Inspired Place Workshops


A Greater Applegate is requested  funding from Travel Southern Oregon to host two Open House events —one in Spring 2024 and another in Fall 2024 – for a “Place-Inspired Space” initiative that supports the regenerative tourism idea discussed at the Travel Southern Oregon workshop held at SOU last spring: How can tourists not simply ‘leave no trace,’ but actually leave our valley a better, more flourishing place?

This project would be carried out in collaboration with the Destination Applegate Working Group, a team of over 25 community members. This group is tasked with carrying out the directives outlined in the Applegate Valley Vision document, which support developing “a low-impact, conscious, community-based tourism that strengthens the rural economy.” The Destination Applegate working group will design the Open House events and brainstorm more  incentives to inspire our vacation rental owners to support our local businesses. The funds would also go toward a developing and executing a training where we share strategies for encouraging tourists toward all our valley has to offer. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival – ASL+ Weekend Support


The Oregon Shakespeare Festival funds were used to increase opportunities for people who need American Sign Language (ASL), Captioning, Audio Description and other accommodation services for those who are deaf, blind, hard of hearing, low-vision, etc.  OSF has launched a schedule of planned ASL + Days throughout the season. These ASL+ Days where “+” means all shows will include ASL interpreters and audio describers in addition to the captioning services and audio augmentation services.  This is a marked difference in the field as traditionally in the theater usually one date, if any, would be designated during the run of an entire production for patrons who required accommodations services. Having monthly ASL+ days establishes a calendar of planned performances that do not require patrons to notify OSF in advance to request accommodation services. The intended result is improved customer service, and broader inclusion to invite patrons to experience the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Ashland.

Lakeview Community Partnership – Cowboy Poetry Gathering


The Annual Lakeview Cowboy Poetry Gathering will take place on October 13-15, 2023. We are moving into the final stages of the marketing push with radio and print marketing/advertising in Lakeview, Paisley, Alturas, and Klamath Falls. It is a regional event, that has the potential of a broader reach as the event continues to grow. The funds will be used primarily for radio/print media and promotional materials at the event for patrons. Development of brochures for the events and local businesses and restaurants.  This weekend event coincides with the solar eclipse on October 14th at 9 a.m. There are events planned that morning that will enhance the promotion of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering as well.  The Lake County Chamber of Commerce and Lakeview Community Partnership are working together for both events success.

Jackson County Historical Society – Collateral Updates & Distribution


This project proposal to edit and re-print our Jackson County Historical Society brochure advances niche heritage tourism in Southern Oregon by improving tourist awareness of Southern Oregon heritage destinations, organizations which have been significantly impacted by Covid and recent megafires.  JCHA has a membership brochure of sorts, but it is out-of-date and English only, despite the high percentage of Spanish speakers in Southern Oregon. Because the brochure is prohibitively expensive to print commercially, it is distributed as a low quality photocopy. Revamping the brochure as a tourist-focused heritage map will address a new audience and have the location, hours and contact information for museums and markers to find historic cemeteries. A Spanish language version of the brochure will expand awareness of and access to heritage destinations for those who speak and read that language.   

Talent Business Alliance – Mexican Independence Day


Talent Business Alliance used a $5,000 investment in the Mexican Independence Day celebration to support a $10,000 entertainment budget. This request represents 40% of the overall budget for the event in 2024 is $25,000 for the day festivities and marketing. In this year we will again bring a West Coast name in LatinX music but also, hire a local opening act. Our marketing spend will increase and we will again participate financially in the vendor market.

John Pugh Ashland Mural Project – Marketing Video Support


John Pugh is a local muralist who has painted over 250 murals in the US and overseas. He has designed a trompe l’oeuil mural for the west wall of the Ashland Elks building that has been approved by the Ashland City Council, Historic Commission, and Public Arts Advisory Committee, and we are in the process of raising funds for its creation. To that end, we have hired Jared Hail to produce a 3 minute short-doc of John and his work, along with 2 30-second spots and a 15-second teaser to be distributed on social media platforms and used in our fundraising efforts. The cost of producing these videos is $12,000, we already have $2,000 in seed money and are looking for additional funding. The videos will be timeless pieces showcasing the breadth of his murals to date, the scale of his murals and his love of Ashland. John is a tourist draw. People travel around the country to see his works, and in fact he fields calls and emails all the time asking him where his next installation is going to be. 

Lake County Tour de Outback – Marketing & Event Support


The Lake County Tour de Outback is an annual cycling event held for both road bike and gravel biking. It is held in June of each year. Currently we have just gone live with our online registration process for 2024 and are continuing to build both community support as well as organizing the event itself and all that goes with it. Because we try to give back to the community as much as possible (a good deal of our registration fees are donated to a chosen Lake County organization), we simply need sponsorships to hold this event.  We have also reached out to local businesses for sponsorship as well as local and statewide grants.  While the entire Tour de Outback Board is a volunteer board, we do need funds for rentals (port-a-potties, venue, etc), safety (SAG wagons, Search & Rescue rest stops, Search & Rescue onsite personnel, signage, etc) , food (all rest stops, snacks/meals for morning & afternoon riders, etc), entertainment (music, games, sound systems, local speakers, etc) and marketing (socials, website, printing, etc) purposes. 

Siskiyou Mountain Club – Documentary Film Road Show


The Siskiyou Mountain Club seeks funding to support a road show of a new documentary, “A Long Way to Nowhere,” a film that showcases and promotes outdoor opportunities in southwest Oregon. The film premieres on April 4, 2024 here in Ashland, OR., and thereafter, we are taking it on a screening tour in Northern California.schedule and venues to screen. It was made by a recent SMC intern who was compelled to create this film for the experience he shared with his other fellow interns out in the wilderness. Funds would be used to support expenses associated with the screening tour. Travel Southern Oregon, REI Santa Rosa, REI Oakland, Point Reyes Library, San Francisco Public Library, 7 Devils Brewery are all sponsors of this publicity project. 

In A Landscape – On-SIte Concert & Marketing Support


Founded in 2016 by classical pianist Hunter Noack, IN A LANDSCAPE: Classical Music in the Wild™ is an outdoor concert series where America’s most stunning landscapes replace the traditional concert hall.  A 9-foot Steinway grand piano travels on a flatbed trailer to State and National Parks, urban greenspaces, working ranches, farms, and historical sites for classical music concerts that connect people with each landscape. Wireless headphones give the audience freedom to wander through each landscape with live music as a soundtrack to their outdoor experience. For this project, we are seeking funds to bring IN A LANDSCAPE to Southern Oregon by producing concerts at the following sites during our 2024 summer season:  Playa Summer Lake, Fort Rock State Park, Fort Umpqua, and a site in the Greater Applegate area.

All Across Oregon – Regional & National Distribution Support


Host, chef and TV personality Vinny DiConstanza takes his show on the road across Southern Oregon and other parts of Oregon to feature fun highlights of family-run businesses and unique regional attractions. Funding from TSO supported national syndication costs for All Across Oregon to lay the groundwork to reach a much larger national audience as it enters its fourth season.