In November 2012, I shook off the chains of major corporate America and relocated to Bend, the town I had fallen head-over-heels in love with. By Jan. 1, I was the unpaid co-chair of the Chamber Marketing Committee and by February, I had hatched a plan to shout my love from the mountain tops through a viral video called “Beer, Rec and Tech.”
However, in the span of one week my honeymoon with the city has lost its luster.
Without talking to me about altering the content of my project, the city publicly rejected my efforts and stated it would not give me an endorsement that I had never sought in the first place. All I had been seeking was its guidance and information.
Then an editorial appeared that cautioned people against me and closed with the statement “No Public Money!” It was at that moment that I realized the misinformation machine had taken over and this is the last chance.
I have to make a few things clear.
• My project is open to receive funding solely through IndieGoGo.com, a crowd funding website. My meetings with various city groups were always informational. And so was the request for guidance.
While I would have loved the city to get behind this project, as a fiscal conservative and a realist, I never expected its financial support or endorsement.
• Apparently, before I arrived there was a city-funded video that many thought went over the top, and I’ve lived in its shadow this entire time. This is not that project, and I had nothing to do with its production.
• Economic Development for Central Oregon at no time made any implied endorsement to me. As an entity tasked with economic development, it simply nurtured my enthusiasm and gave me guidance. I never believed I had an official endorsement. And in my short time here, I have scarcely met another soul with as much passion for developing Central Oregon business as Nate LiaBraaten.
Will my video be loved by everyone? No.
Will it reflect everyone’s “brand”? There is no way it can.
What it will be is an expression of my love, with the absolute intention of bringing nothing but benefit to the area. Period.
No lack of sponsors or endorsements is going to change that. I didn’t fall in love with the government or the businesses; I fell in love with cross-country ski trails at Swampy Lakes, doing endos on my mountain bike at Phil’s and drinking the finest craft brews in the world on every street corner.
If you can’t endorse me, it doesn’t change my love. If you can’t contribute, it doesn’t change my love. But if you appreciate an independent spirit who is trying to do the right thing, and you can afford to do so, I encourage your support. I was raised by parents who encouraged giving back. This project is my way of giving back.
It is my love letter to, well, all of you.