In terms of viewership, OPB already has a well-established presence in Southwest Washington. The organization’s television, radio and online services reach around 150,000 residents each week in Clark County, representing 13 percent of OPB’s total audience. Of its 119,000 contributing members, approximately 10 percent reside in Washington.
“I think it (a Clark County bureau) is going to be an important addition to our services for Southwest Washington,” said Cheryl Ikemiya, OPB’s director of leadership giving.
Increasingly, OPB is reporting on topics that have relevance on both sides of the river, such as transportation, environmental issues and politics. Holm said that it’s not enough to just tell a story from the Portland perspective.
“You really have to understand both sides and I see this [bureau] as a good opportunity to really build that knowledge in a significant way,” he said.
“So many of the things that face our region really unite these two parts of these two states together,” Ikemiya added. “I think this is a great opportunity to add to the discussion and to elevate issues and broaden conversation among our community.”
OPB has launched a fundraiser to support the bureau’s first three years of operations, lead by a gift from the Firstenburg Family Foundation. Building on that contribution, Paul and Debbie Speer, Jan and Steve Oliva, and The Wollenberg Foundation committed $150,000 in matching funds to encourage community participation.
At press time, OPB was within approximately $40,000 of its $150,000 goal.
“We wanted to get several years of funding in the bank so we could really get the bureau up and running and make it successful without having to worry from year to year about the expenses,” said Holm. “Our hope is that over time we’ll see a greater response from the community there that has already been very supportive of OPB.”
For more information on OPB’s initiative and fundraiser, visit www.opb.org/support/strategic-initiatives/swwa.