/Mark Oyaas

About Mark Oyaas

Mark J. Oyaas is a principal in Neerland & Oyaas, Inc., a public affairs consulting company. His work includes advising clients on business opportunities in the public and nonprofit sectors. In addition to coordinating government relations projects, Mr. Oyaas heads up the firm's communications services under the "germ of an idea" banner.

Vol. 22, #02 – 05/19/15


Sustainable Democracy

In the rarified air of Wonkville, Minnesota, there is considerable buzz regarding a conference to discuss worldwide efforts to build partnerships among organizations, universities, businesses and others committed to finding sustainable solutions to the social, economic and environmental problems outlined in the World Business Council for Sustainable Developments Vision 2050. Partnership for Change (PFC), an NGO founded in Norway, is a key collaborator and has pledged support for the holistic approach of Vision 2050 by identifying major milestones in fulfilling this agenda. Minnesota 2015: Democracy in a Sustainable Future, is the first such milestone in the journey.

Okay, we know, we are so busted. Your editors would so rather be watching Blaine Boyer maintain his scoreless May streak than sustain a five minute conversation about the world in 2050. The “but” here is a big one: our fine friends and clients at HGA are hosting a prequel event this coming Wednesday, May 20 (as in tomorrow), in their beautiful reception/conference area in the Ford Center (450 Fifth Street North, 55401). Persons who are Vision 2050 curious or more to the point interested in learning how you or your company can support the conference are cordially invited to attend. […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00May 19th, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|10 Comments

Vol. 22, #01 – 04/06/15


The Big IDEA

With rumors of Hennepin County considering using some of the surplus from the Target Field sales tax to assist with the proposed new Soccer Park on Royalston near the Minneapolis Farmers Market, perhaps it is time to peel back the curtain and shed light on stadium funding and management generally. Like the rest of the interested public we presume no deal is announced because no deal has been arranged. We know there is land to be assembled and infrastructure to be, well, structured to connect the soccer facility to the street grid, LRT and hopefully the HERC (aka Old Smokey, the happy garbage burner). It is public policy to connect the many underused public assets to potential development, ideally bringing the energy from the North Loop across / along Glenwood Avenue and into near North Minneapolis.

Coincidentally, across the street from the Government Center, leaders in Minneapolis City Hall are moving towards putting another, much-needed $24 million into the Target Center renovation. Wouldn’t it be nice if the City and the County could press pause and figure out how to manage these two efforts together? The City turns over title to Target Center, along with […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00April 6th, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|9 Comments

Vol. 21, #01 – 12/31/14

Heavens to Gilson (inside joke) we are going to resume regular publishing of Neerland & Oyaas Online beginning the week of January 12 on a more or less bi-weekly schedule. Oh gosh there’s so much to tell you! The Firecracker Committee caught up with us around Thanksgiving so the first issue will be an executive summary of their selection of the 2014 Firecracker of the Year award winner.

Since we last dropped an issue of Online on your virtual doorstep more than a year ago, much has happened. Most importantly we have moved. After more than twenty years patrolling the skyways of the Minneapolis downtown core we have relocated to the North Loop of the Warehouse District. Our new world headquarters is the Union Plaza Building, 333 North Washington, Suite 107. Our emails and phone numbers remain the same. It was very hard to say goodbye to our many friends in the venerable Young Quinlan Building, beginning with the ownership/management group led by Bob and Sue Greenberg. They run an operation that is at once professional and elegant with a family feel. The faces of the family are, of course, Darlene and David, the elevator operators, along with the united […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00December 31st, 2014|Categories: Newsletter|9 Comments

Vol. 20, #09 – 12/19/13

WINDOWS ON…Shopping Local

From Peggy Lucas:

Let me recommend Regala de Oro, a great fair trade gallery at 28th and Lyndale! They have a wide variety of the work of local artists and are very active with the nonprofit community. Do good and shop local at the same time!

From Ginny Craig:

Local D’Lish at 212 North First Street. Great food gifts! [Ed. Note: We might add, they offer great cooking classes, too!]

From Dave Albersman:

My first stop for Christmas Shopping is always Ax Man in Minnetonka.

From Ann Bodensteiner:

I have two favorite small shops, run by local independents, really fine shop owners. I’m happy to recommend them to you.

  1. Gather, a small gift shop across from Salut on France Avenue, near the corner of 51st and France. This sweet little place, owned by Mike Hagie, offers an assortment of gifts ranging from fine European imports to fun/funky inexpensive trinkets. Michael lives in the neighborhood and is a good guy—he gives you just the right amount of personal attention. This hidden gem is always a fun stop when you need a gift but have no idea what to buy.
  2. Vinaigrette, on 50th Street and Xerxes Avenue. This locally-owned shop has wonderful vinegars to sample, the owners always […]
By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00December 19th, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 20, #08 – 11/26/13


Spokes for Folks

As we begin our holiday journey walking in other people’s shoes, we’ll clamp on a pair of silver Shimanos and reach out to our brothers and sisters of bicycle advocacy to salute a tremendous grassroots effort, Spokes: Bike Walk Connect. This program, a child of the Seward Neighborhood Group, is dedicated to promoting biking and walking for transit, recreation and exercise. Located on 19th Avenue and East 22nd Street, just south of East Franklin and Minnehaha, many of the neighbors Spokes serves are new Americans, largely from East Africa. The organization offers learn-to-ride programs, basic bike repair workshops, and earn-a-bike programs for those willing to spend extra time at Spokes. The group’s executive director, Sheldon Mains, can regale visitors for hours with scores of stories of timid souls who access the program full of trepidation and leave empowered with both new transportation and confidence. Spokes is always in need of used bikes, tools, parts and of course cash. So come on, bikers, put some of that inventory stacked in your garage back into good use. FFI

Growing Clean and Green

Next we pull on a pair of Wellingtons to bring you on a very modern farm tour. […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00November 26th, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 20, #07 – 10/31/13

Careful readers of Online have noticed a dip in our frequency. We were proud pioneers of micro publishing when we began publishing via the fax machine in 1994, but the internet and social media have crowded the space we operate in. Our mission hasn’t changed: to inform our networks of clients, potential clients and friends on matters where politics, civic affairs, and commerce converge. Infomarketing, to coin a phrase. Social media has opened an “open mic” night, creating a din difficult to penetrate useful information through.

We’re not conceding just yet, however. Given the region’s main print news has completely eschewed its fourth estate responsibility in favor of schilling for real estate sales that benefit the owners—certainly not the public—and that MinnPost, the internet counterpart, is woefully wonkish and undersourced, we think there is value in what we provide. This January we are launching Online 2.0 in a new format. Punchy, pithier, and a guaranteed asset in your civic road map.

Your editors have been immersed in projects largely political and theatrical and not generally useful, but permit us to scare the establishment this Halloween with some observations along the way.

  • Congratulations to Carmichael Lynch Spong. The firm was recently awarded a […]
By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00October 31st, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|1 Comment

Vol. 20, #06 – 8/29/13


Cameras, Lights, Action

School officials at Minneapolis Southwest High began the journey to light its athletic field, located in the already well-lit Pershing Park, in 1955. Back in those days funding was the issue; in more recent years neighbor opposition kept the home field a day game only proposition. A serious effort began anew three years ago and thanks to the support of Principal Bill Smith, the tenacity of Athletic Director Ryan Lamberty and the generous matching donation from Class of ’61 alum Harvey Feldman, tonight [Thursday, August 29] the purple and white will play under the lights. A celebration of this accomplishment begins at 6:00. Comedian Liz Winstead, SWHS Class of 1979, will entertain the crowd, expected to be large, sharing some humorous memories including a heretofore unrevealed secret regarding her classmate Chuck Simpkins, he of Hubert W. White fame. Dorothy Benham, former Miss American and SW alumnus, will sing the national anthem. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. FFI

Help Out the Little Rug-er, Will Ya?

Another Southwest graduate made good looks to be headed towards greatness. Nate Augspurger, Class of 2008, is training in southern California with others hopeful of making the U.S. Olympic […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00August 29th, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 20, #05 – 7/02/13

Annual Firecracker of the Year Issue!

It was a beautiful sunny Monday afternoon. We should have been golfing. The phone rang on the main line here at World Headquarters in the Young Quinlan Building. Caller ID said it was the Minneapolis Club. “Hey, do you guys know anything about a Firecracker of the Year Award banquet that was supposed to be held today? We had a room reserved for 20 persons under the name of Ann Barkelew and the event listed as Firecracker of the Year banquet. When our servers went in to start beverage requests, there wasn’t a soul to be found. We waited more than a half hour, went back to the room, and all that was there was a tattered Red Owl grocery bag and what appears to be a rusted Arco coffee tin inside. We’re calling because you guys were listed as the contacts on the reservation.”

We drove over to the Minneapolis Club to fetch the bag and its contents. (We know, it’s only two blocks, but we love to pull in to the parking ramp at the Minneapolis Club and sign Walter Mondale’s name on the parking chit.) We brought the bag back to World […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00July 2nd, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 20, #04 – 6/07/13


Political Change in the City of Lakes

The first important chapter in the tale of the Minneapolis mayoral race will be written next Saturday (June 15). More than 1600 DFL delegates will choose, or decide not to choose, to endorse a party standard bearer. In what looks to be a crowded field which will gallop all the way to November, thanks to ranked choice voting, the DFL endorsement offers several important advantages. The obvious benefit is the unification of the network of DFL-endorsed candidates for City Council, Park Board and Board of Estimate and their respective campaigns. Without a candidate at the top of the ticket, the impact of their endorsement dwindles considerably. No doubt council candidates Hofstede, Lilligren and Tuthill are all hoping for a no-decision. The most practical advantage for mayoral candidates comes in the fundraising department. The universe of donors interested in the outcome of the mayor’s race is limited, and all of the campaigns are reporting that this universe is close to tapped out. If there is an endorsement the DFL will immediately become the most powerful force as far as third party expenditures go. The lucky endorsement winner can turn to donors already at […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00June 7th, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments

Vol. 20, #03 – 4/30/13


MinnRoast Not Yet Completely Cooked

Your editors are both loyal readers and big fans of the work produced by MinnPost, the pioneering electronic newspaper. Unlike our modest effort, MinnPost is published and staffed by some of the region’s most talented and accomplished journalists. MinnRoast, the wildly popular annual fundraiser – “a gentle skewering of journalists and politicians” – is in the rearview mirror but some of the special events which are sold as part of the party are still available. Among the events are “A Midnight Party at the Walker,” a curator-guided tour of the exhibit with the same name, that includes a pre-tour wine and cheese reception. We were surprised to see that “MinnPost Cooks,” a gourmet experience provided by legendary chefs like Joel Kramer and Lee Lynch at a White Bear Lake home, did not completely sell out. We can attest that Lee can tend bar as well as he smiths words; besides, Uncle Al Sicherman is bringing dessert. That has to be worth the price of admission. FFI log onto MinnPost.

Power Up

The Minneapolis City Council has directed City Coordinator Paul Aasen to initiate an Energy Pathways Study in advance of the city’s franchise negotiations […]

By |2016-10-21T00:42:41-05:00April 30th, 2013|Categories: Newsletter|0 Comments