Port Angeles Downtown Association’s vote on PA United merger effort due by July 10

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Downtown Association’s approximately 170 members will vote by July 10 on merging with two other business groups or continuing to go it alone, as recommended by the association’s board of directors.

The vote “needs to be done,” board president Bob Lumens said Tuesday.

“We need to get on with life and need to get on with doing business, which we haven’t done for six months.”

Lumens, owner of Northwest Fudge & Confections on First Street, was among the downtown association board members who voted 7-1, with one abstention, on June 23 to withdraw from ongoing merger efforts taking place under the PA United umbrella.

Representatives of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Business Association have continued meeting weekly, and were planning to do so Tuesday in preparation for a 6 p.m. July 10 joint meeting of the boards of those groups at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles.

The next step would be a vote of the full memberships.

Merger proponents, who have been meeting since January, say consolidation would end duplicative staffing and other expenses and would present a more powerful, united front by a single, larger group to foster business development and represent Port Angeles entrepreneurs.

Lumens has said consolidation would dilute existing efforts by the association, from maintaining parking lots to creating business promotions and running the Main Street downtown program.

On Tuesday, a week after Lumens explained his position to about 30 association members at a June 24 membership meeting, he was not about to change his mind.

“I don’t think anything has changed that would make me do that, honestly,” Lumens said Tuesday.

“I still don’t think it’s right for downtown.”

The downtown association members who attended the June 24 meeting appeared to be evenly split on merging.

Downtown association board members will have to rethink their lack of participation if the membership votes to consolidate, he added.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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