Views from a Mile High

With the Democratic National Convention a month away, we checked in with Denver leaders and asked them what their city was like when it hosted in 2008


Kristy Bassuener, Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Denver Art Museum

“The city’s convention and visitors bureau, Visit Denver, did an incredible job of maximizing the publicity potential of the convention for Denver. Political figures, from Hillary Clinton to Al Sharpton, came to the museum for press events or parties. Families of politicians, most notably Sasha and Malia Obama, came to experience the many family-friendly creative experiences the museum is known for. Celebrities also were on site—Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway, and several other household names.”


Phillip Washington, General Manager, Regional Transportation District

Denver’s transit system is composed of more than 140 bus routes and five light rail lines.
“We had experience in putting on large events. We had the G8 summit here some years before, the Pope’s visit before that, and three years prior to the DNC we had the NBA All-Star Game here. Now this was a lot bigger in a lot of ways. We did the best we could to determine the best routes for various motorcades and dignitaries, and the street closures that were going to be set up. Because of the great work by our traffic operations, there was very little impact on our normal bus routes, to our daily riders. We did close one light rail stop, and that was right at the convention site, the Pepsi Center. That week, we worked around the clock—lots of work and a lot of concentration on keeping our daily riders informed if a route had to be detoured or moved. Don’t neglect your everyday riders.”


Brian Siffermann, Managing Partner, Corridor 44, champagne bar

“The scale of the DNC was massive. It just took over the city. It was great; you could see the foot traffic everywhere downtown, hotels and people’s apartments rented out, with the media and politicians as well. It was just such a good vibe for Denver because you could see what the potential for this city could be. We were at full capacity every night. Our private rooms were rented out and we were open to the public. You have to be staffed and ready because they don’t make reservations.”


Tamara Door, President and CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership

“From the very beginning when we were awarded the bid, the questions began: will the city shut down? How will retailers fare, and will people stay away from downtown? What if the employees don’t come to work? We addressed it extremely quickly to send a strong message that it was going to be a vital and vibrant experience. When that convention kicked off, there was no place anyone would’ve rather been than right in the middle of all of it. There were some businesses that thought they would be doing their employees a favor by giving them the option to work from home. And in the majority of those cases, their employees ended up down here anyway. And it’s because they didn’t want to miss it.”

Categories: Buzz > Business, Feature, News Features Archive > DNC, The Buzz