Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »


Apply and learn more!

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


2024 Oregon Heritage Excellence Awards:

Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center for exceptional work in preserving the Maxville townsite, a multi-racial logging community established in Wallowa County in the 1920s.The multi-phased approach included acquisition of the land, project of the last remaining building, archaeological research, and listing the site on the National Register of Historic Places. View Video.

Oscar Hult for his service and dedication to preserving and promoting Albany’s heritage. View Video.

Talent Historical Society’s Documenting the Almeda Fire project, for a comprehensive documentation project following the 2020 Almeda Fire that had a devastating impact on communities in Southern Oregon. View Video.

US Army Corps of Engineers for the Willamette Valley Project Section 106 Programmatic Agreement resulting in a groundbreaking approach to consultation and setting a new standard for collaborative decision-making in historic preservation efforts. View Video.

Peggy Sigler for over three decades of impact in preserving Oregon’s heritage, promoting its value, and heritage advocacy efforts. View Video.

City of Salem’s Historic Landmarks Commission and its innovative approach in protecting cultural and archaeological resources that serves as a model locally and nationally. View Video.

Kelly Cannon-Miller for her dedication, strategic vision, and collaborative spirit in Deschutes County heritage preservation efforts and beyond. View Video.

Kimberly Moreland for her dedication to and service in documenting, preserving, and championing Oregon's heritage with a focus on Oregon’s African American history. View Video.

The Liberty Theatre, Home of the Little Theatre on the Bay in North Bend, for their extensive renovation effort preserving the theatre's 1924 architecture while modernizing its amenities and accessibility. View Video.

Mark Beach for his 30 years of service in researching and sharing Oregon’s North Coast history. View Video.

Mary Jo Morelli for her dedicated advocacy for historical preservation and education in Forest Grove for close to five decades. View Video.

The 2024 Sally Donovan Award for Historic Cemetery Preservation goes to Cricket Soules for nearly two decades of work transforming the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery from a neglected site into a vibrant community space and educational resource. View Video.

Standout Heritage Volunteers:

  • James Walker Wilson III with the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Since 2018 James Wilson has volunteered hundreds of hours each year at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park near Astoria. He contributes immeasurably to park visitors’ and staff members’ experiences.
  • Maureen Smith with the Jackson County Heritage Association. Maureen has been actively engaged in heritage preservation and advocacy in Southern Oregon since 1979. Her work and dedication continues as she convenes the Jackson County Heritage Association while also engaged with other nonprofits.
  • Layne Sawyer with the Oregon State Archives. Layne has given countless hours to the Oregon State Archives to help clean up historic metadata in the Oregon Historical Records Index and the Early Oregonian databases. She continues to be a font of knowledge for Archives staff and researchers alike.
  • Carol Phillips with Baker City Downtown. Carol is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the heritage of historic Baker City downtown through heritage projects, beautification initiatives, art installations, and supporting in any way she can. She is reliable, dependable, and a hard worker for any and all of these efforts.
  • Dawn Eleen with Canby Historical Society. Dawn tackled various challenges including website updates, new fundraising methods, enhancing community engagement via social media, and service as board treasurer. She facilitated the transfer of historical archives and improved museum security.
  • Jack Carroll with Travel Information Council, Oregon Historical Marker Committee. Jack serves as the dedicated foreman of the Salemtowne Historical Marker Volunteer Crew, overseeing maintenance of Oregon's 100 historical markers. He led repairs on over 30 markers, traveling 800 miles last year. His role involves planning, coordination, supply management, and communication, vital for the program's success.
  • Alice Mullaly with Southern Oregon Historical Society. Alice’s 40 years as a volunteer have had a meaningful impact on numerous aspects of the work at Southern Oregon Historical Society, including the Research Library and Archives, the Windows in Time program with JCLS, care and interpretation of Hanley House, and planning and execution of multiple public event programs at Hanley Farm.
  • Katie Williams with Oregon Museums Association. Katie served as a board member for 6 years during a pivotal period of growth and change at the Oregon Museums Association. As the Programs Committee chair, she led the charge on OMA's conversion to remote programming and webinars, coordinating heritage programs to support Oregon museum professionals statewide.
  • JoAnn Wittenberg with Friends of Cascade Locks Historical Museum & Museums of the Gorge. JoAnn was central to founding the 501c3 Friends of the Cascade Locks Historical Museum to continue operations. She is a stalwart voice of calm leadership that uses historical insight to encourage change and new ideas. Joann also founded the bi-state Museums of the Gorge networking group.
  • Jenna Fribley with Springfield History Museum. Jenna is an active member of the Museum Committee has enthusiastically invested her time in helping with museum visioning, events and projects,  a time intensive but significant documentation project, and charing the Springfield Heritage Awards Committee.
  • Adele “Del” Smith with Coos Art Museum. Del has managed the Coos Art Museum Permanent Collection for more than 30 years. As Permanent Collection Curator, she plays a crucial role in caring for the Museum’s artworks, growing the collection, and ensuring that art is attainable for all on the southern Oregon Coast.
  • Mark Brown with Oswego Heritage Council. Since 2016 Mark has contributed thousands of hours of volunteer work inventorying, cataloging, preserving and archiving multiple historical collections at organizations across Lake Oswego.
  • Jeanne Woods with Liberty Theatre, Home of the Little Theatre on the Bay. Jeanne dedicated over 15 years and countless hours to the restoration of the historic Liberty Theatre to make it an accessible cultural center for the community.
  • Chelsea Rose, Matias Trejo De Dios, and Laura Ferguson with Oregon Heritage Commission. Chelsea, Matias, and Laura volunteered 8 years of service coordinating heritage preservation activities across the state and developing partnerships and solutions to help heritage organizations move work forward.
  • Charlotte Lehan with Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries. Charlotte served on the commission for two terms and acted act chair and vice-chair during that time. She brought invaluable experience and knowledge in genealogy, mapping, cemetery operation to the commission
  • Stephen Dow Beckham and Mart Tveskov with State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation. Stephen and Mark served for over 8 years providing expertise and recommendations during reviews for nominations for the National Register of Historic Places.  
View video of the 2024 Standout Heritage Volunteers.

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

Previous Awardees (2007-2021)

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