Editor’s Note: This story was updated after a previous version incorrectly identified Damian Lillard’s NBA tenure. We regret the error.
OGDEN – Booze, brothels and rails helped shape Ogden’s colorful and diverse history. And over the decades, many a wayfarer landed in town in search of a fresh start.
Now Ogden is undergoing its own renaissance, and on Friday, Roger Brooks, president of Roger Brooks International, unveiled the city’s new tagline: Still untamed.
“While we replaced bootlegging, prostitution and gambling with skiing, kayaking and mountain biking, Ogden’s soul will always remain untamed,” Brooks told the crowd gathered in City Council chambers.
Brooks specializes in community branding and marketing, and since January, he and his team have delved into what makes Ogden tick. Feedback from 1,721 residents helped convey why people say “I freakin’ love it here!”
Brooks brought an inch-thick spiral-bound book full of anecdotal descriptions of Ogden’s attractively independent vibe. He related one such account: “During the prohibition era, Al Capone could go anywhere and do anything. But he avoided the speakeasies and brothels of Ogden, Utah, telling his cronies ’It’s a bit too rowdy for my tastes.’ While no one messed with Al Capone, Al Capone was smart enough not to mess with Ogden.”
“You can have fun with this. Tell these stories,” Brooks said, urging residents to not only embrace the city’s roots but to also tout its hometown notables such as firearms manufacturer John Browning, teen songwriter Sammy Brue and NBA star Damian Lillard.
He projected a photo of a man wearing a white shirt, tie, shorts and flip-flops. The caption? “Conference attire, Ogden-style.”
“If you want homogenized, we’re probably not for you,” Brooks grinned. “We don’t live within boxes.”
Brooks summarized Ogden as ”an unconditionally welcoming and fiercely independent community of people that love the mix of mountain and metro. We’re not judgmental as a people and we love this mountain setting. That’s the way this place was founded, so really in essence, it’s the people here.”
Brooks also urged city leaders to capitalize on Union Station, a building he described as awesome but underutilized. Brooks suggested repurposing the structure to host a year-round public market. He also recommended improved “wayfinding” in the form of signs and banners that direct visitors to highlights within the city, in particular its downtown that includes Historic 25th Street.
Jenny Scothern, executive director of the GOAL (Get Out And Live!) Foundation, applauded the city’s new brand.
“I freakin’ love it,” Scothern said. “It truly embodies what we all have been trying to say we are. It brings it all together.”
Ogden City Councilman Luis Lopez agreed:
“I think they’re right on with the things that are happening in Ogden and with the spirit of the people that live here. I’m getting the chills as I’m talking about it,” Lopez said. “We have a lot of work to do, but I love what I saw today.”
Oscar Mata, a Weber State University student and executive director of the Weber County Democrats, also applauded the new slogan and believes building around it can bring new foot traffic to Ogden.
“My family, personally, always laughs when I talk about how great Ogden is. But I think this is the first step to making people like my family realize just how great Ogden is and how I’m the lucky one to be living in such a great place.”
The city contracted with Roger Brooks International for $131,000.