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Oregon Main Street

Downtowns are traditionally the heart of a community – the social, economic, and civic center. Many of our downtowns in Oregon are “diamonds in the rough" that need a little polishing to sparkle once again. Others are vibrant and want to maintain their competitive advantage. Oregon Main Street is here to help communities wherever they are in their downtown revitalization efforts. We provide support to organizations who are ready to roll-up their sleeves; develop a vision for how they want their downtown to look, feel, and function; and then attract the people and financial resources to bring about the change they want to see happen. We accomplish this by providing training and technical assistance to communities participating in the Main Street Track of the Oregon Main Street Network, and by access to the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant which funds building improvement projects that spur economic development for all Network communities (available once per biennium in odd years).

Oregon Main Street is a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program.

Main Street America™ has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Oregon Main Street is a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program. We help communities participating in our Network to make use of the time-tested Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization developed by Main Street America™ which includes:

  • Sustainable Organization
  • Effective Promotion
  • Quality Design
  • Economic Vitality
This Approach is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to enhance downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets. It is a comprehensive, incremental strategy that addresses the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts. Oregon Main Street helps communities thrive by connecting them to this customizable framework to focus local efforts, energy, and resources to create a more vibrant downtown. 

​There are two tracks to participate in the Oregon Main Street Network.

The Main Street Track is for communities who wish to use the Main Street Approach® as the framework for their efforts to maintain and enhance downtown vitality.

There are three tiers in the Main Street Track:

  • Performing Main Street
  • Transforming Downtown
  • Exploring Downtown

It is the intent for communities participating in the Main Street track to advance through the levels at their own pace to reach the Performing Main Street level.

The other track is the Associate level for communities who are interested in their downtowns but aren't ready, or aren't a good fit, for the Main Street® methodology.

There are benefits and requirements associated with each level of the Oregon Main Street Network. See the Oregon Main Street Handbook for more information about the benefits and requirements.

​For communities participating in the Main Street Track, the boundaries or primary focus area of the organization must be that of a traditional downtown or neighborhood commercial district.  A “traditional downtown" or “traditional neighborhood commercial district" is defined as a grouping of 20 or more contiguous commercial parcels containing buildings of historical or architectural significance. The area must have been zoned, planned, built, or used for commercial purposes for more than 50 years. This area must be:

  • A traditional central business district and center for socio-economic interaction.
  • Characterized by a cohesive core of historic or older commercial and mixed-use buildings that represent the community's architectural heritage.  It may also include compatible in-fill development.
  • Have a sufficient mass of businesses, buildings, and density to be effective.
  • Typically arranged with most of the buildings side-by-side and fronting the sidewalk along a main street with intersecting side streets.
  • Compact, easily walkable, and pedestrian-oriented. 

In general, districts containing newer low-density automobile-oriented commercial development (e.g., sprawl), strip malls, and enclosed shopping/entertainment centers will not qualify for designation unless they are fully integrated into the fabric of a traditional “Main Street district."

​​There is an application process for communities who want to join the Oregon Main Street Network.

Who Applies

For the Main Street Track, the applicant is typically an independent nonprofit organization that is focused on downtown.

Local government is commonly the applicant at the Associate level, but it can also be and existing nonprofit organization.

OMS staff is available to help a community decide where to house their local main street effort.

Application Process

  • Performing Main Street And Transforming Downtown levels are open once per year - typically in January.
  • Application for the Exploring Downtown and Associate levels are open year round.

​Oregon Main Street has collected data from our top two tiers of the Main Street Network since 2010.

You can see the most recent statstics and other highlights from 2019 by viewing our 2019 OMS Annual Report

Visit our COVID-19 Resource page for Main Street and non-profit related resources.


Sheri Stuart
(503) 986-0679

Beth Dehn
(971) 720-8998


Oregon Main Street News:

  • 2021 Excellence on Main Awards Announced. View award winner videos here.
  • 2021 Virtual Oregon Main Street Conference, Oct. 6-8. More Info.
  • 2020 Oregon Main Street Annual Report release. View here.

Oregon Main Street Resources

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