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Council gives 'Live Rogue' another shot

The controversial tagline "Live Rogue" has resurfaced as the proposed brand for Grants Pass.

During a workshop Monday, members of the city's branding committee and the City Council expressed support for the return of "Live Rogue," which was shelved after public outcry last year.

Now, the branding committee has come back with a comprehensive brand guide that includes a manifesto, a color palette, a target audience, print and digital tourism advertisements, typography, tone of voice, icons and brand elements, letterhead and directional signs — and "Live Rogue."

"It encompasses the best of what we have to offer in terms of our spirit and being inspired by our beautiful surroundings," said Jon Bowen, the city's branding and tourism consultant. "We're trying to evoke emotion and attachment to the Rogue River, attachment to our history and attachment to our strong heritage."

The council's liaison to the branding committee, Roy Lindsay, said the committee voted unanimously to bring back "Live Rogue" after an intense discussion last week.

"The idea of 'Live Rogue' in the logo is to look forward — this logo and the tagline are really forward thinking," Lindsay said.

"It fits in with so many things we see in ads today that are fresh and vibrant, and that's what we want — an atmosphere of vibrancy, an atmosphere of adventure, an atmosphere of doing things that are exciting."

Councilor Valerie Lovelace, while hesitant due to last year's feedback, is now on board, too.

"I recognize people were unhappy with Live Rogue, but I became part of the process and was probably one of the last holdouts at the end," Lovelace said. "I felt it was important to hold on to what the people said, but the more I look at the change in the actual logo itself … right now we need to jump on it and go with it and bring people to the adventure that is our town, and Live Rogue really fits that."

Councilor Dennis Roler was still hesitant and isn't completely sold. He remembers former taglines proposed in recent months, including "Home of the Rogue" and "Heart of the Rogue," and doesn't think "Live Rogue" is good enough to be worth the $80,000 it will cost the city to change the stationery and logos around town.

"Whereas I favor 'heart' and possibly 'home,' we need to tell them — the exterior audience — where we are, and I think this just doesn't do it," Roler said. "I think we're halfway back to where we were before."

Council President Dan DeYoung said he supports "Live Rogue" and thinks the key to sparking interest in Grants Pass is the Rogue River.

Said DeYoung: "How do you attract young people to Grants Pass, Oregon? How do you attract a professional workforce? You have to do that in today's age by giving them something exciting to do in their time off, and this is going to show all that."

The council is scheduled to further deliberate and make a decision April 6, in time to set up the new branding for the tourism season.

Several members of the council — Rick Ricker, Jim Goodwin and Shonna Bouteller — were absent Monday, as was Mayor Darin Fowler.

Reach reporter Jules Rogers at 541-474-3813 or jrogers@thedailycourier.com