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Rose Festival Announces Staffing Changes

On Wednesday, the Portland Rose Festival announced staff furloughs and salary reductions to help mitigate the financial challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis. Effective July 6, 50% of the festival’s regular staff will be furloughed for 14 weeks, while senior management will take a 20% reduction in pay and work hours.

“We are creating a financial plan to sustain Rose Festival though the latter part of 2020,” said Jeff Curtis, Chief Executive Officer. “That plan emphasizes cost controls and overhead adjustments, including the painful decision to furlough members of our talented team.”

Rose Festival received a PPP loan that covered the cost of staffing through early July, which enabled the festival to produce virtual events and programming in May and June, such as the Virtual Opening Night and popular Parading in Place events, the Porch Parade presented by Pacific Power and the Grand Petite Parade — creative events being emulated by many other festivals across the country. “I am truly inspired by the great work of our staff during the past three months,” Curtis continued. “We were able to evolve our celebration to continue to inspire the community while conforming to health constraints.”

The Rose Festival will continue to develop its traditions in the coming weeks. The Rose Festival Court presented by Unitus Community Credit Union may be able to convene in person in July, when a Rose Festival Queen will be selected. An event honoring mentorship and women empowering women, Rose Festival Honors presented by Wells Fargo, will take place virtually on August 11. Plans are coming together for the Festival’s ultimate social distancing event: The Rose Festival Treasure Hunt.

“Like thousands of nonprofits and small businesses around the world, the Rose Festival faces significant financial challenges in the coming months,” Curtis said. “The generosity of our sponsors and supporters will be essential to allow us to continue to celebrate this community and contribute to its healing.” The festival’s primary annual fundraising dinner and auction is scheduled for October 16.

Based on the data collected by the International Festival and Events Association, in a normal year the Portland Rose Festival generates an annual economic impact of more than $60 million for the local economy.