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Salem, OR—SALEM, Oregon – The Oregon Heritage Commission released the Economic Impacts and Value of Oregon’s Heritage Organizations and Events report (https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/OH/pages/tools.aspx#economicimpact) that speaks to the impact that heritage organizations and Heritage Tradition events have on Oregon’s economy.

This report evaluated economic activity in heritage collecting organizations (“heritage organizations” e.g., libraries, museums, historical sites) and tradition events (“heritage traditions” are designated by the Oregon Heritage Commission and are events that have been happening 50 years or longer and meet certain criteria). The information in this report was evaluated using 2019 data due to anomalies in 2020 from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key takeaways of the report include:
• Heritage Organizations support Economic Activity throughout Oregon - Heritage organizations supported $196.3 million in total economic activity through labor income and business support through purchases of local goods and services and employee spending.
• Heritage activities support tourism - Heritage organizations and Heritage Tradition Events drew 3 million visitors during the year. All nine regions drew at least 50,000 visitors (to organizations and events), and six drew more than 175,000 each.
• Heritage tourism is an important contributor for local economic development - Heritage tourism supported a total of 1,325 jobs and $55 million in labor income resulting in $147 million in total economic activity in Oregon.
• Heritage activities are valuable community assets - Heritage organizations and events have social and cultural capital that make them invaluable to their communities.

“The report demonstrates significant economic impact statewide. Those that work in heritage preservation or partner with heritage organizations and events know and feel the intrinsic value these activities have to our communities and to our state,” says Oregon Heritage Commission Coordinator Katie Henry. “This report documents the economic impact they have and provides another tool to demonstrate their value.”

The communication tool that accompanies the report offers templates and methods for heritage organizations to incorporate data about their economic impact into their impact stories. These stories help them talk to state and local decision makers, partners, members, and other stakeholder groups about the importance of their work.

This report and communications guide is the latest addition to the Sharing the Value of Heritage Toolkit, an ongoing effort of the Oregon Heritage Commission to compile data, resources, and guidance to help heritage groups recognize and communicate the value of their work. This tool joins the Value of Heritage Message Platform, Cultural Value of Heritage messaging tool, Cultural Value of Heritage through Volunteers study and messaging, and the Value of Heritage in Disaster Resilience Messaging Guide.

This Economic Impacts and Value of Oregon's Heritage Organizations and Events Report is one of three reports released by Oregon Heritage in the last two months. The other two include the Impact of Oregon’s Main Street Report which shares the story of how the Oregon Main Street Network strengthens community networks, bolsters the economy, generates state and local tax revenue, and fosters social connections across the state, and the What's Up Downtown? A Playbook for Activating Oregon's Upper Stories which inventories the status of core buildings in some 33 Main Street communities across Oregon--specifically, their upper floors—identifies reasons for their disuse, and outlines potential ways to rejuvenate the spaces.

The Economic Impacts and Value of Oregon’s Heritage Organizations and Events study was commissioned by the Oregon Heritage Commission using funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. The study was carried out by ECONorthwest.

The Heritage Commission’s nine members represent a diversity of cultural, geographic, and institutional interests. The Commission is the primary agency for coordination of heritage activities in the state. This includes carrying out the Oregon Heritage Plan, increasing efficiency and avoiding duplication among interest groups, developing plans for coordination among agencies and organizations, encouraging tourism related to heritage resources, and coordinating statewide anniversary celebrations.

More information about the Oregon Heritage Commission and the Sharing the Value of Heritage Toolkit is available online at www.oregonheritage.org or by contacting Katie Henry at 503-877-8834 or katie.henry@oprd.oregon.gov.

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