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Oregon Main Street welcomes new transforming downtown level community

May 9, 2018

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Main Street has accepted the Dallas Downtown Association at the Transforming Downtown level of Oregon Main Street. Communities participating at this level have a high degree of commitment to using the Main Street Approach® as a model for their downtown revitalization effort.
The Main Street Approach® is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program that uses historic preservation as one of its most important tools. It is a practical program that helps a community build on their district’s unique assets.

“The Dallas Downtown Association is excited to move into the Transforming Downtown Level of Oregon Main Street,” said Norah Owings, Program Manager, Dallas Downtown Association. “Although we are a young organization, we have already cemented our place in the community with fun events such as our Downtown Murder Mystery, Holiday Bazaar, and Art & Wine Walk. By becoming a Transforming Downtown Main Street, we will have the opportunity to expand our programs and events to make Downtown Dallas a destination.”

Over the past few years, Oregon Main Street has seen an increased interest in building a comprehensive downtown revitalization effort using the Main Street model and a renewed awareness of the link between local heritage and sustainable economic development across the state. Between 2010 and 2017, communities participating at the Performing Main Street and Transforming Downtown levels – the two highest levels in the OMS Network – saw an increase of 647 net new businesses, 3,367 net new jobs, and 1,258 private sector building improvement projects representing $97.2 million of private sector reinvestment.

“We are pleased to welcome the Dallas Downtown Association at the Transforming Downtown level of the Oregon Main Street Network,” stated Sheri Stuart, Coordinator, Oregon Main Street. “We have been working with them to build their organizational capacity for a few years at the Exploring Downtown level. They have a dedicated core of volunteers working to revitalize downtown Dallas. We are especially happy with their efforts to build partnerships with the City of Dallas and community organizations.”

Communities participating at the Transforming Downtown level must have a cohesive core of historic or older commercial and mixed-use buildings that represent the community’s architectural heritage and may include compatible in-fill. They must also have a sufficient mass of businesses, buildings, and density to be effective, as well as be a compact and pedestrian-oriented district.

The primary emphasis of the Transforming Downtown level is to provide technical assistance to program’s in their formative years.  Acceptance into this level allows communities to participate in training, community assessments, technical assistance, the Oregon Main Street network, and receive local capacity building support. There isn’t a fee to participate in the Oregon Main Street network.
The selection process included submitting an application that describes their community, downtown area, historical identity, goals, readiness, support, and funding commitments.

Currently, there are 82 communities in Oregon participating in one of the four levels of the Oregon Main Street Network: Performing Main Street, Transforming Downtown, Exploring Main Street, and Associate.  While not a pre-requisite for acceptance at the Transforming Downtown level, the Dallas Downtown Association was already participating in the Oregon Main Street Network at the Exploring Downtown level.

Oregon Main Street is part of Heritage Programs in Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and is a designated coordinating program member of the National Main Street Center. Oregon Main Street provides assistance to all communities whether they are just beginning to explore options for their downtown or are seeking recognition as an accredited Main Street® town.