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With his calm demeanor and friendly aptitude for both communication and mediation honed from years of practicing law, Dan Cederberg was an invaluable voice on the Missoula Downtown Association’s Board of Directors for the past 31 years. Cederberg joined the organization that advocates for Missoula’s urban core and its businesses in 1986, when the opening of Southgate Mall was drawing commerce and shoppers away from the city’s historic heart.

But over the past three decades, Cederberg and many others worked tirelessly to transform downtown into an area booming with unprecedented development and economic activity.

On Wednesday night at the MDA’s annual awards banquet, Cederberg was presented with the Downtowner of the Year award for his service as he retired officially from the board. The award will henceforth be known as the Dan Cederberg Downtowner of the Year Award.

“His service has been remarkable, his contributions have been extraordinary,” said MDA executive director Linda McCarthy. “His dedication, leadership and ability to see things from start to finish have been dependable and successful.”

Cederberg, who grew up in Havre and earned a law degree from the University of Montana, owns a law office that was until recently located downtown. He and his wife Forey, a teacher, raised two sons and two daughters here and played a role in many important business developments over the years.

In addition to serving as legal counsel for the MDA, Cederberg helped create the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) in 2005 and the creation of the Downtown Master Plan in 2008.

As Cederberg looks around downtown, he is excited about all the new projects coming to fruition, including a five-story hotel, a 488-bed student housing project, a library, a brewery, a Stockman Bank and perhaps a conference center and hotel at the Riverfront Triangle/Hotel Fox site.

“These are all big projects coming online,” he said. “In many ways we are now seeing the macro investments. We did not see the macro investments for many years. But in the last few years, maybe even going back 10 years with the First Interstate Bank building, we are now seeing the bigger money. I don’t know what it’s going to look like in the future, but if the Fox site can go, it’s going to be exciting.”

Downtown Missoula Gift Card sales, which allow carriers to spend at nearly 200 local shops, hit an all-time high at $287,691 in 2017, a 15 percent increase from 2016, and the 6,492 cards purchased were worth an average of $44.31. When some of the new projects are finished, there will be nearly 1,000 more people staying downtown every night.

McCarthy said Cederberg has been well-respected and inspirational.

“Dan has been a tremendous leader and advocate for Downtown Missoula, and his tenure of service has been incredible,” she said. “He has made significant contributions in the development of Caras Park, the creation of the Downtown BID and the Downtown Foundation, and implementation of the Downtown Master Plan. All Missoulians have benefited from his three decades of service to our community.”


Cederberg said he was recruited to the MDA board by Scott Sproul, Lori Caras DeMarois and John Roemer. He said all those years of hard work are finally paying off and he felt it was a good time to go out on top.

“It really was a 30-year process,” he said. “What we see now is amazing as far as what’s going on building-wise. There’s just been a lot of good people that I’ve worked with over the years.”

Several other awards were handed out on Wednesday night:

  • Amy Doty, owner of Frame of Mind, was awarded the Committee Member of the Year for her service to the Parade of Lights Committee.
  • Heidi Starrett, account executive at Missoula Broadcasting Co., was awarded the MDA Board Member of the Year for her service to multiple committees and community events.
  • Farran Realty Partners, represented by Jim McLeod and Pat Corrick, won the Downtown Business of the Year Award for its creation of ROAM student housing, redevelopment of the DoubleTree Hotel, and upcoming development of the Riverfront Triangle.
  • Sarah Eastlund, retail manager at Opportunity Bank of Montana, won the Downtown Volunteer of the Year honor for her service as hospitality manager at River City Roots Fest for the last 10 years.
  • The Downtown Employee of the Year was awarded to two people: Sara Murray, administrative assistant at First Interstate Bank, and Becky Smith, owner of Missoula Broadcasting Co. Both were cited for exceptional service to the downtown community through the businesses they represent.

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