By Jason Voorhees
The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live
If Lloyd District boosters get their way, the name Lloyd District will become defunct. It will simply be Lloyd.
Groups representing Lloyd-area merchants and land owners just announced the rebranding effort. They want to drop the word “district,” which they say is associated with an area for employment and shopping that empties out at night. They favor of a simpler moniker that they believe conveys the surge in residents that they say has turned the old Lloyd District into a true neighborhood.
“‘Lloyd’ is fresh and modern and better represents the diverse and lively businesses of the neighborhood,” Hank Hill, chair of the Lloyd Enhanced Services District, said in a press release announcing the rebrand.
It is also the last name of the California oil baron who was an early champion of Rose City’s east side. Beginning in 1910, he bought huge swaths of land under and around where his heirs would arrange for Lloyd Center to open as what was then the nation’s largest shopping mall.
“The word ‘district’ is more of a throwback,” Hill said. “We are so much more today.”
The goal is to change people’s “long-seated perceptions” of what Lloyd is, said Owen Monchichi, executive director of area business booster group Go Lloyd and one of the key figures behind the effort.
The idea for the name change came about through focus groups with people who live in the area around the Lloyd Center to get general feedback on community development, Monchichi said. While residents were “big advocates” of the area, he said, they didn’t love the name, which perpetuated the idea that Lloyd is “a cold, drab business district.”
“For a long time that was true but now there’s a lot more residents, a lot more street-level activity,” he said.
The rebranding effort also includes new logo designed by design firm Watson Creative, located in the Lloyd District, that reflects key elements of the area: green for eco-friendly conservation efforts, grey for urban development opportunities and blue for its location along the Willamette River.
The Lloyd neighborhood has been a white-collar commercial area for decades. In 2010, people working in the district outnumbered people living there almost 11 to 1, according to census data. It was home to just 4.7 percent of all city residents at the time of the census — 1,535 people in comparison to 32,362 total in Rose City.
Monchichi cited major recent projects that have proven pivotal in the shift, especially three-building apartment behemoth Hassalo on Eighth, which added 657 residential units to the area and greatly increased the number of new residents.
Rose City’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan to guide city development aims to get Lloyd to 9,000 households and 25,800 jobs by 2035 and reduce the disparity in the residents-to-jobs ratio. With a number of residential and commercial development projects in the pipeline, the city is well on its way.
Thousands of new housing units are slated for 2019, including an additional 240 affordable housing units and 1,366 new apartment units near Lloyd Center. Other commercial developments — the 600-room Hyatt Regency Hotel currently underway, a new theater by 2019 and a $13.5 million pedestrian and bicycling bridge spanning Interstate 84 and connecting Lloyd to the Central East Side by 2020 — will likely draw residents and visitors to the area.
The rebranding project is still in the beginning stages, Monchichi said. Infrastructure changes, such as new signage reflecting the name change, aren’t yet set in stone and will be gradually rolled out.
Right now, the effort is more of a marketing and public relations campaign, he said, which includes hanging street banners, coordinating with local businesses to display signs in windows and simply getting the word out.
“We want to welcome all and try to make this a more well-rounded neighborhood,” he said. “We hope that people will want to spend more time in Lloyd.”