Ashland businesses “rooting for OSF” amid restructuring

ASHLAND, Ore.– The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is restructuring, laying people off, furloughing others and much more.

It’s executive director has also resigned.

Many businesses around Ashland rely on summer tourism and the people OSF brings in to stay afloat.

But many Ashlanders said they’re rooting for OSF.

Marie Uhtoff from the Northwest Nature Store said OSF is a huge draw for the community.

The actors themselves are also loyal customers, she said.

She estimates that 30 to 40% of her summer customers are there for OSF.

“As a business we are 100% supportive of OSF. We want it to be a success and we personally go see all of the plays.” Uhtoff said, “we want to support them as much as they support us.”

Uhtoff said although business has been getting better, they’re still recovering from the pandemic as is OSF.

She said she’s thankful for the loyal customer base she has in the community, partially due to OSF’s influence.

OSF told NBC5 Tuesday that Artistic Director Nataki Garrett will take over as interim executive director.

18 staff members were either fired or furloughed and there is also a hiring freeze for 20 other positions.

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NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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