Civility Series Forum: Downtown Boise's Renaissance
Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 11;45 am - 1:15 pm
The Grove Hotel
Ryan Armbruster I Governor Dirk Kempthorne I Skip Oppenheimer I Dr. Konya Cipul Weber

Downtown Boise wasn’t always what it is today. In fact, it almost wasn’t a traditional Downtown at all. In the 1970s, one faction wanted Downtown to become a regional mall; another faction wanted the mall in the suburbs. Boise’s redevelopment agency prepared for a mall by tearing blocks of historic buildings. A 1974 Harper’s Magazine summed it up this way: “Tearing Down Boise.”

But this City Club forum explores the role of civil discourse and collaboration in guiding wise business decisions, and that’s what prevailed in Boise. Then-Mayor Dirk Kempthorne appointed two leaders from opposing mall camps, and the redevelopment agency commissioned a study. Its recommendations became a road map to recovery. The first: Create a public gathering place. The popular and enduring Grove Plaza was the result. Then followed the convention center, the redesign of 8th Street as a pedestrian corridor, a business improvement district and new and better sidewalks. The mall, when it was built, was 4 1/2 miles from Downtown.

And the renaissance of Downtown Boise continued. It wasn’t always a success – the 21-year blight at Main and 8th streets being the most notable failure. But in 2014, the tallest building in Idaho rose at that corner, and the new Idaho headquarters of Zions Bank is now a Downtown success story. In fact, in 2016, Downtown Boise has more than $500 million worth of construction under way, with $100 million planned or approved and $600 million more in the works.

This City Club Civility Project forum will highlight community cooperation, public and private leadership, thoughtful planning and an attractive regulatory climate. We’ll explore the approach that turned a Downtown deserted in the 1970s into a frequent star on U.S. Top 10 lists, including’s Top Downtowns. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About the Speakers

Ryan Armbruster

Mr. Armbruster joined the law firm of Elam & Burke in 1979. After graduating from University of Denver Law School, he worked for three years in the office of the Boise City Attorney and acted as Deputy City Attorney.

Mr. Armbruster’s major practice areas involve municipal law, redevelopment work on behalf of urban renewal agencies, and municipal financing. He is responsible for providing legal services to Capital City Development Corporation, Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, Jerome Urban Renewal Agency, Garden City Urban Renewal Agency, Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency, and Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency, among others. He has been instrumental in the implementation of Idaho’s Urban Renewal Law and Economic Development Act. As legal counsel to the various urban renewal agencies, Mr. Armbruster guides each agency through plan implementation, plan amendments, statutory compliance, financing, property acquisition, and property development.

Governor Dirk Kempthorne

Governor Kempthorne was born in San Diego, California, but has called Idaho his home state for most of his life. He graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Governor Kempthorne was elected as Mayor of Boise in 1985, to the United States Senate in 1992 and was elected Governor of Idaho in 1998. He and re-elected as Governor in 2002. In 2006, Governor Kempthorne was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as the 49th Secretary of the Interior, charged with resurrecting the Department’s tradition of responsible stewardship of public lands. Governor Kempthorne has also served as Chairman of the National Governors Association and the Western Governors Association, and was President of the Council of State Governments.

He was appointed president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) in November 2010. As president and CEO of ACLI, Governor Kempthorne is the chief representative and spokesman for the life insurance industry before Congress, the administration and in all state capitals. In October 2014, Governor Kempthorne was elected chairman of the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) for a two-year term. GFIA represents 41 insurance trade associations from around the world on a broad range of issues affecting the international insurance industry.

Arthur “Skip” Oppenheimer

Skip Oppenheimer is currently Chairman/CEO of Oppenheimer Companies, Inc., President of Oppenheimer Development Corporation and Chairman of several affiliated corporations. Mr. Oppenheimer graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration with an MBA in 1972; the University of Idaho with a BA in history in 1968; and received a Degree Elementaire and a Certificat De Langue Francaise – Niveau Elementaire in 1967 from the Sorbonne, University of Paris, France.

Skip serves on the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco, Salt Lake City Branch. Skip was the initial Chair of the Board for St. Luke’s Health System in 2006 and served again as Board Chair from 2014-2016. He is the founding Chair of Idaho Business for Education. He also serves as a Board and Executive Committee member of University of Washington Medicine and Chairs the Strategy Committee. He is a member of the Boy Scouts of America National Board, Executive Committee and National VP/HR. He was Co-Chair of the Community College “Yes” campaign which led to the formation of College of Western Idaho. He has chaired numerous other organizations including the Governor’s Behavioral Health Transformation Workgroup, the Idaho Governor’s Council on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Co-Chaired the Governor’s Coordinating Council for Families and Children. Skip served as the Chair of the Boise Metro Area Chamber of Commerce in 1993-1994. The Chamber Leadership Conference was started during his tenure. Skip has received numerous awards including: Ralph J. Comstock Jr., Light of Philanthropy Award by St. Lukes Foundation, the Boy Scouts Silver Antelope and Silver Buffalo Awards, Idaho Hospital Association Trustee of the Year, Idaho Voices for Children’s Champion Award, Rotary Ethics in Business Honoree and March of Dimes Real Estate Award for Community Service.

Dr. Konya Cipul Weber

Dr. Weber is a Professor of Marketing/MIS, and Chair for the Department of Business & Economics in the School of Business at Northwest Nazarene University. Her degrees include a PhD in Business Administration from Touro University International with a specialization in Management Information Systems, an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University with a specialization in Marketing, a BA in Business Administration and a BA in Psychology from Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Prior to teaching, Dr. Weber held corporate marketing management positions at architectural and engineering firms in the Philadelphia area and worked with various companies such as IBM, Merck, AT&T, DuPont, Delta Airlines and other Fortune 500 companies. Her responsibilities involved department management, technical selling, advertising, technical writing, proposal writing, and public relations events. Upon moving to Idaho, she changed her focus to software-training and consulted with various businesses such as HP, Washington Group International, Department of Education, College of Idaho, and State Farm.

Chair: Karen Sander
Moderator: Dr. BIll Russell