After 36 years without a chamber of commerce, Riverside will once again have an organization to represent business interests in the city.
“It’s been a while since we have had an active chamber of commerce,” City Clerk Becky LaRoche said.
Former Riverside City Manager Rusty Rogerson is spearheading the effort. He met with the City Council on Nov. 18 and laid out plans for the new group starting with a Christmas Tree Walk the weekends of Dec. 14-15 and 21-22.
The tree walk will be held at Copper Ridge Creek, a new venue for wedding receptions and other events. It will run from 4-8 p.m. each weekend day. Copper Ridge is located at 1182 Commercial Dr.
Rogerson said he has had a “tremendous response” with 60 local businesses expressing interest.
“It’s exciting the number of businesses that are moving this way,” he said.
The chamber will “assist the city in the recruitment and retention of businesses in the Riverside area.”
In a letter to Riverside businesses, Rogerson wrote: “We do not expect a lot of meetings at first and more than likely quarterly after that or as necessary.”
He received support from the City Council, which voted for the city to provide support for the fledgling organization.
When the chamber disbanded 36 years ago, the Riverside Area Community Club was created. That organization has staged events in the city each year, with the biggest being Trekfest in June. It will continue in that role.
Rogerson said the Riverside chamber may lead to a countywide chamber. Michelle Redlinger, executive director of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, worked with Rogerson in setting up the Riverside chamber. He said she talked about establishing a countywide chamber in late summer of 2020 or early fall.
“The discussion is to have a countywide chamber with all of the cities participating,” he said.