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Oregon Main Street adds two new Transforming Level communities

Feb. 4, 2016

Oregon Main Street has accepted the Beaverton Downtown Association and the Pendleton 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(R) as a model for their downtown revitalization effort.

The Main Street Approach(R) 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.

When hearing the news, Fred Bradbury, president of the Pendleton Downtown Association, stated, "The PDA Board and our members are excited about the opportunity to partner with Oregon Main Street and their staff. This nationally recognized program will provide tremendous support for downtown Pendleton as we go forward in implementing our strategic plans."

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. Between 2010 and 2014, communities participating at the Performing Main Street and Transforming Downtown levels -- the two highest levels in the OMS Network -- saw an increase of 295 net new businesses, 1,995 net new jobs, 719 private sector building improvement projects representing $53.9 million of private sector reinvestment.

"The Beaverton Downtown Association is very proud to have been accepted at the Transforming Downtown Level to the Oregon Main Street Program," said Paul Cohen, chair of the BDA. "We have worked hard over the last five years to take an aging downtown, in an Urban Renewal District, and transform it into a jewel of Beaverton, with new unique restaurants, an art gallery featuring all local artists, and multiple vintage shops all helping to attracting people downtown. All of this would not have been possible without the support of the City of Beaverton, the Oregon Main Street Program and our hard working volunteers."

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 Affiliate. While not a prerequisite for acceptance at the Transforming Downtown level, both of the newly designated communities were participating in the Oregon Main Street Network.

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(R) town.