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Recognize great heritage work, learn more at conferences and trainings, and get funding to research Oregon history.

Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards recognize individuals, organizations, and projects for outstanding heritage efforts. The nomination process is an opportunity to honor work that goes above and beyond expectations, serves as a model for future work, and inspires others. Special consideration is given to the development of new ideas, approaches, and innovations.

The Sally Donovan Award for Historic Cemetery Preservation is a special category that recognizes outstanding contributions in the preservation of Oregon Historic Cemeteries.

In 2022, a new non-competitive category was added for Standout Heritage Volunteers. Heritage organization have the opportunity to recognize volunteers at the statewide level who have greatly contributed to their organization.

Deadline: Nominations are closed for 2024. The 2026 Heritage Excellence Awards will be open for nominations in fall of 2025.

Timeline: The excellence awards have transitioned to a once a biennium celebration in coordination with our in person conference during even years. The nomination period opens in early November and closes in mid-January. The contact identified in the application will be notified of the review committee’s decision in February. Award winners are publicly recognized at Oregon Heritage’s Conference gathering in April of even years.

Application Process

Recognition: Awards will be presented at the 2024 Oregon Heritage Conference. The awards event is included in full registration or you can register for the awards only on the conference webpage.

2022 Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards:

Awards presentation was held on April 28 during the 2022 Virtual Oregon Heritage Conference.

- Jefferson Public Radio’s Jefferson Exchange Underground History Program, Ashland. A monthly radio segment that spotlights little-known aspects of Oregon’s history through the lens of archeology. View Video.
- Capitol History Gateway Project, Salem. A multi-year project that resulted in exhibits, events, tours, and a digital welcome center at the Oregon State Capitol building. View Video.
- It Did Happen Here Podcast, Portland. The It Did Happen Here Podcast honors the memory of Mulugeta Seraw and records the movement that disrupted White Nationalist organizing in Oregon in the late 1980s and 1990s. View Video.

This year there is a new award category for standout heritage volunteers and recognizing their critical contributions to heritage preservation efforts in Oregon. View Video.

The 2022 Standout Heritage Volunteers are:

  • Robert Zimmerling, Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
  • MaryPat "Patti" Ball, Jefferson Historical Society and Museum
  • Kristine Deacon, Oregon State Archives
  • Willie B. Richardson, Oregon Black Pioneers
  • Robert Butler, Malheur Country Historical Society
  • Larry Landis, Benton County Historic Resources Commission
  • Cory Mesloh Hamann, Big Butte  Historical Society
  • Barbara Trout, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and Kilchis Point Reserve
  • Bruce Carey, Friends of Kam Wah Chung & Co Museum, Oregon State Parks
  • Carol Knapp, SOULA: Eagle Brewery Project
  • Oregon Post Commander David Solomon, American Legion Post 19, Albany
  • Doug Reynolds, USFS Malheur National Forest Passport in Time program
  • Eric Williams, Astoria Public Library
  • Gayle Lewis, Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project (OCDP)
  • Oregon State Capitol Volunteer Team, Oregon State Capitol and Capitol History Gateway
  • Steve Hussey, Archaeological Society of Central Oregon
  • William "Bill" Sparks III, Grand Lodge of Oregon Cemetery Committee
  • Carla Wright, Prairie City Historic Cemetery District

2021 Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards:

Award presentation recording
- Bobbie Dolp, Salem, for her dedicated work in establishing the Lord & Schryver Conservancy and preserving the legacy of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver who established the first women-owned landscape architecture firm in the Northwest. Enjoy a video!

- Caples House Museum Restoration Project, Columbia City, for extraordinary fundraising efforts resulting in the restoration of the National Register listed Caples House Museum preserving not only the structure, but also the museum collection inside of it. Enjoy a video!

- University of Oregon's Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project, Eugene, for documenting and preserving the contributions of the Eugene lesbian community to Oregon’s enduring cultural, political, and social innovations. Enjoy a video!

- Johnny Edwards, Yamhill County, for his holistic and passionate approach to the preservation of the historic Lafayette and McMinnville Masonic Cemeteries. This is the Sally Donovan Historic Cemetery Preservation Award. Enjoy a video!

- Steven Greif, Coos Bay, for his dedicated volunteer service that has contributed to the growth and community impact of the Coos History Museum. Enjoy a video!

- The Darcelle Project, Portland, a multi-dimensional project that preserves and honors the story of Walter Cole, also known as Darcelle, and his achievements as an entrepreneur, performer, Portland icon, and activist for the LGBTQ community. The work included National Register nominations. Enjoy a video!

- University of Oregon's Institute for Policy Research and Engagement, Eugene, for their contributions in supporting community heritage preservation efforts through research, the RARE Americorps program, and disaster resilience planning. Enjoy a video!

Previous Awardees (2007-2020)

The Excellence on Main Awards recognize projects and people benefitting downtowns in communities participating in the Oregon Main Street Network.

Participating Oregon Main Street Network organizations are eligible to apply. Nominations are announced through the network.


The nine individuals, projects, activities, and businesses honored are:

  • Business of the Year: Sybaris Bistro, Albany View Video
  • Bricks and Mortar Award: The Woodburn Museum and Bungalow Theater, Woodburn View Video
  • Resiliency Award: Buoy Beer, Astoria View Video
  • Leadership on Main Award: Stephanie Gutierrez, Albany View Video
  • Economic Vitality: Mr. Ed’s, Port Orford View Video
  • Open Door Award: Kit’s Apothecary, Astoria View Video
  • Outstanding Promotion: Boba Dash, Beaverton View Video
  • Outstanding Special Project: Reedsport Main Street Open House, Reedsport View Video
  • Main Street Executive Director of the Year: Harv Schubothe, Bandon View Video

In addition, four individuals were acknowledged with a Standout Volunteers recognition certificate for their above and beyond contributions to their communities. These individuals are (View Video):

  • Tommy Wood, Downtown Estacada Commission
  • Josh Johnson, Beaverton Downtown Association
  • Richard Barney, Medford Downtown Association
  • Nicole Felty, La Grande Main Street Downtown

2022 Awards

  • Bricks & Mortar Rehabilitation - The Natty Dresser, Albany  View Video
  • Leadership on Main - Mary Ann Miesner, La Grande View Video
  • Business of the Year - Live Edge, Oregon City View Video
  • Best Mixed Use Building - Heritage Properties, Estacada View Video
  • Best Adaptive Reuse - The Local, La Grande View Video
  • Volunteer of the Year - Hannah Darling, Albany View Video
  • Board Member of the Year- Heather Miller, McMinnville View Video
  • Creative Placemaking Project - AntFarm and Harmony Garden, Estacada View Video
  • Open Door- Family Pride Day, Lebanon View Video
  • Outstanding Promotion - Virtual Oregon Trail Run, Oregon City View Video 
  • Outstanding Special Project - Brickyard Lanes, La Grande View Video
  • Main Street Executive Director of the Year - Rebecca Hollenbeck, West Linn View Video

2021 Awards

Oregon Main Street announced its 2021 Excellence on Main Awards at the 2021 Virtual Oregon Main Street Conference Oct. 6-8.

The fifteen partners, projects, activities, and businesses honored are:

  • Outstanding New Building: First Federal Headquarters, McMinnville. View Video
  • Creative Placemaking: McMinnville Dine Out(Side), McMinnville. View Video
  • Outstanding Civic Project: Corvallis Museum, Corvallis. View Video
  • Outstanding Adaptive Reuse: 999 N. Front Street, Coos Bay. View Video
  • Outstanding Downtown Housing Project: Merwyn Apartments, Astoria. View Video
  • Outstanding Mixed Use Project: Gray-Belle Building, Salem. View Video
  • Business Heroes: Lionheart Coffee, Beaverton, & Homegrown Oregon Foods, Albany.  View Video
  • Outstanding Public-Private Partnership: City of Independence & Independence Downtown Association, and City of Beaverton and Beaverton Downtown Association. View Video
  • Executive Director of the Year: Darin Rutledge, Klamath Falls Downtown Association. View Video
  • Outstanding Partnership: Gold Beach Small Town Christmas, Gold Beach. View Video
  • Outstanding Promotion: Baker City Gingerbread House Tour, Baker City. View Video
  • Outstanding Special Project: Building Our New Landscape, Tigard, and Literary Pollinator Garden, Hillsboro. View Video

In addition, six individuals were acknowledged with a Volunteers on Main award for their above and beyond contributions to their communities. These individuals are:

  • Tim O'Dwyer, Gold Beach Main Street
  • Patsy Oser, Astoria Downtown Historic District Association
  • Tom Novak, Baker City Downtown
  • Kipperlyn Sinclair, Hillsboro Downtown Partnership
  • Kate Schwarzler, Independence Downtown Association
  • Matt Wadlington, Albany Downtown Association

View Video

The Elisabeth Walton Potter Oregon Heritage Preservation Scholarship provides financial assistance for Oregon residents to attend a preservation-related (preservation, museum, archives, Main Street, etc.) conference, workshop, or training in the United States. Eligible travel expenses include registration fees, transportation, and lodging. Scholarships are offered to those actively involved in local preservation efforts and who demonstrate how attendance at a preservation-related conference, workshop, or training will help meet the preservation needs of their local community. Scholarships are non-competitive and offered twice per year.

Application dealine: December 1, 2023 (11:59 pm)
On-line Grant System Application Instructions
Online Grant System

Kuri Gill, or 503-986-0685

Oregon Heritage Fellowships are available every other year through a competitive process to Oregon students who are researching a topic related to history, geography, archaeology, cultural heritage, historic preservation, or other related topic. Enrolled undergraduate and graduate students of an Oregon university or college are encouraged to apply. Fellowship recipients will present their research process and findings at the bi-annual Oregon Heritage Conference in the spring of even years.

Application Deadline: Nov. 2, 2023

How to Apply:


  • Hannah Mellor, University of Oregon graduate student in Historic Preservation: current and historic demolition rates in the city of Portland, Oregon with a particular focus on the Albina District.

2020 Fellows

2019 Fellows:

Previous Fellows

Remember to leverage any awards to should the value of heritage resources and projects in your organization and community. Learn more about how to do this with our heritage engagement tools.


Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards, Scholarships & Fellowships

Katie Henry
(503) 877-8834

Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Awards

Sheri Stuart
(503) 986-0679