Darin Rutledge of the Klamath Falls Downtown Association received the 2021 Executive Director of the Year award from Oregon Main Street.
“Main Street executive directors are dedicated professionals who care deeply about their communities and work countless hours attracting the people and financial resources necessary to make them more livable and vital,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator for Oregon Main Street. “Darin Rutledge with the Klamath Falls Downtown Association is the embodiment of this professionalism and commitment.”
Joining KFDA in 2018, Rutledge helped the board broaden their reach by creating a structure to include key partners. These partnerships have helped keep KFDA at the forefront of many revitalization efforts, according to the organization.
Rutledge also helped restructure the membership base growing it by 67% just before COVID-19 struck. He also initiated swift and effective COVID response, according to the organization. His “Main Street Resiliency” page was a welcome site for the vulnerable business community and an early model for other communities in Oregon.
KFDA also partnered with the city in developing and executing several COVID relief programs, such as a restaurant relief gift certificate program, on street short term restaurant take-out parking, business grant programs, and distribution of PPE.
Rutledge also helped KFDA develop and implement activities to take the place of cancelled community events, including a modified fall festival, a virtual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and a fun virtual annual meeting and membership drive. He has actively participated in advocacy efforts for the National Main Street Center, helped developed a tri-state recovery action plan template, and is a respected member of the Oregon Main Street Network.
“I so appreciate and am humbled by this award,” said Rutledge. “I couldn’t do what I do without the support of our community partners, our non-profit partners, our government and small business partners. Thank you to all of you I want to acknowledge my colleagues across the state, any of which are equally deserving of this award. Thank you for the learning and sharing opportunities. You really are making a difference.”