Eureka Visitors Center in the Clarke Museum. File photo.




Yesterday we wrote that the Eureka Visitors Center, a project of the nonprofit organization Humboldt Made, was one of two finalists for a $370,000 per year contract to market the city of Eureka. 

The Visitors Center, which already receives $110,000 per year in city funding, is headed by Alanna Powell, who — as we wrote yesterday — has a close relationship with city development services director Rob Holmlund, and knew that the current marketing services contract would be put out for bid months before the general public did.

This afternoon, the city has published the staff’s recommendation that the City Council award the contract to the the Visitors Center/Humboldt Made, over its principal competition — Eddy Alexander, a professional marketing firm out of Roanoke, Virginia.

Read the staff report here.

In the staff report, Holmlund Holmlund’s deputy, Lane Millar, outlines the official process employed to determine that the bid should be awarded to Powell’s organization. It relies heavily on the work of the 10-person panel that the city convened to review the marketing proposals that various firms had submitted. At the end of the first round of interviews, Millar writes, the panel decided that although Humboldt Made was the top scorer out of three finalists, it would, after the third candidate was eliminated, lean toward Eddy Alexander.

At the end of three interviews, the panel unanimously agreed that the interviews felt too rush and that two of the three firms warranted further consideration. The firm MC2 was eliminated from further consideration. In addition, if the panel was forced to choose on the spot, the panel would recommend Eddy Alexander, but the panel found it difficult to come to a consensus regarding the top two firms.

It was decided that a second round of interviews would be held a week later, and after that second round, with a new set of questions and a new scoring metric, Humboldt Made edged out Eddy Alexander.

The Eureka City Council will make the final decision. It meets in regular session on Tuesday, May 21 at 6 p.m., at Eureka City Hall — 531 K Street, Eureka.