NEW! Full program now available to view
Wednesday October, 4
Optional Preconference | Main Street 101 | 9AM - Noon
As a comprehensive economic development tool, the Main Street Four-Point Approach is the foundation for local communities to enhance and sustain their historic downtowns by leveraging their local assets – from cultural and architectural heritage to local entrepreneurs and community pride. The four points of Main Street work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort. Spend the morning with a national expert and gain in-depth understanding of the program. You will leave energized and ready to revitalize YOUR Main Street! (snacks provided and participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch).
Speaker: Kathy LaPlante, Senior Director of Coordinating Programs, National Main Street Center
Kathy La Plante is a Senior Program Officer and Director of Coordinating Program Services at Main Street America (MSA) with expertise in building organizational capacity and developing promotional programming. She has worked in the Main Street field for nearly 25 years. She joined the MSA staff in May 2007. She works throughout the U.S. providing training for cities of all sizes using the Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization. Prior to this position, she was hired as the first Director of the New Hampshire Main Street Center, serving in that role for over ten years. Kathy began her Main Street career in 1989 as the Executive Director of the Chippewa Falls Main Street Program. Seven years later, Chippewa Falls was a recipient of the Great American Main Street Award. Prior to working in downtown revitalization, Kathy spent 12 years in retail management.
Opening Keynote | Power of Story in Main Street's Rebirth | 3pm
It's been said that before there was the Main Street Approach, the accepted story about downtown was “Leave. It's dead." Then, Mary Means came along and proved that it wasn't. Through her inspired leadership and vision, a new narrative was created. The power of story is quite relevant today as our nation seems to become more polarized every day. In this keynote, Mary will talk about what we need Main Street to be as we face unprecedented challenges. Can it become greater than the sum of its parts? And, can Main Street be a catalyst for resilience? Hear Mary's thoughts on the evolving role Main Streets play.
Mary Means is best known for leading the team that created
the National Main Street Center. More than 1,600 towns and historic
neighborhood corridors in 40+ states have successfully used the Main Street
Approach to bring people back to their historic cores. Mary was a Loeb Fellow
at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her small but mighty planning firm has
helped communities and other public interest organizations with strategic plans
that achieve strong public support. Her work has been honored by the American
Planning Association with its 2018 Planning Pioneer Award, and by the National
Trust for Historic Preservation with the 2020 Crowninshield Award, the highest
honor in historic preservation. Learn more at Means' website www.marymeans.com. Mary is the author of Main Street's Comeback and How
It Can Come Back Again, published in 2020.
Excellence on Main Awards | Follows Keynote
Join us as we celebrate the people, projects, and
activities that represent the great achievements in downtown revitalization
efforts throughout Oregon
Opening Reception | Follows Excellence on Main Awards
Hosted by Independence Downtown Association and the City of Independence at the upper park plaza.
Thursday, October 5
Crash Courses | 8:30 - 9:15
Best Promotions Ideas from Around the Country
Promotions should drive people to your downtown – and get them to spend money – and come back again. This session will share some of the best promotional activities from across the country including marketing initiatives (what you do to promote downtown 365 days a year), special events and festivals (the big events that attract people from a wide area) and business promotions (those events that get people through the doors of your businesses and spending money).
Speaker: Kathy La Plante, Senior Director of Coordinating Programs, National Main Street Center
Walk, Talk, and Chalk: Creative Strategies for Community Engagement
Outreach is an essential activity for Main Street organizations to mobilize community, reach businesses, and build partnerships. But how is it done? Come to this interactive session about creative ways to reach your constituents! Learn about real life examples and come up with your own.
Speakers: Cayla Catino, RDI; Kevin Teater, Streetview Planning; Main Street; Rosa Solano, Director Reedsport Main Street and Maryelizabeth Garcia, Milton-Freewater Chamber Downtown Alliance
Simple Strategies to Grow and Sustain Strong Small Businesses on Your Main Street
In this session learn how three communities are developing strategies to retain existing businesses and foster opportunities for entrepreneurship growth. Included are tools and tips for creating a small business technical assistance program to provide one on one support to local businesses, building a relationship with entrepreneurs to fill the room at trainings, tailoring one on one outreach, engaging business owners with small niche training and support services that are the right fit for their needs, and a providing mini-grants to support local business' events.
Speakers: Suzanne Dufner, City of Monmouth; Timothy Bishop, City of La Grande; and Courtney Williams, City of Independence
Breakout Sessions | 9:30 - 10:30
Small Town Successes
“We're just a small town, what can we do?" Is that refrain a little too common in your community? In many cases, small towns are at the forefront of crafting creative strategies to address issues facing their communities. In this session participants will hear how the three programs in Oregon are using the Main Street Approach® to build a successful, comprehensive revitalization strategy. Examples will include everything from building improvement projects to volunteer development activities, business development to promotional strategies, as well as info about our unique pilot Rural Regional Main Street effort.
Panelists: K'Lynn Lane, Executive Director, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce; Susan Russell, President, Port Orford Main Street; and Rosa Solano, Director, Reedsport Main Street
Getting Strategic on Main Street
Feeling a little overwhelmed with so many projects and expectations facing your main street organization? Learn how a community-based strategic planning process can help focus your energy. This session will include how three Oregon Main Street communities worked with a consultant as a guide on their strategic planning process to set clearer goals for their organization and a road map on how to achieve those goals using the new workbook developed by Oregon Main Street. The process included a mixture of stakeholder involvement, reviewing market data, and looking at previous, relevant planning studies and reports. Through the strategic planning process, communities were encouraged to identify two to three overarching strategies the program will focus on and to use the Main Street Four Points in a more collaborative way to achieve the community's vision for the downtown or traditional commercial district.
Moderator: Mary Bosch, Marketek Inc.
Panelists: Joe Bachmeier, President, Pendleton Downtown Association; Hannah Darling, Vice President, Albany Downtown Association; Stephanie Gutierrez, Former Albany Downtown Association Board Member & Volunteer, and Rebecca Hollenbeck, Executive Director, Historic Willamette Main Street
Bikes Mean Business: How Two-Wheeled Tourism is Fueling Downtowns
Whether it be bike-in only campgrounds, gravel routes starting from main street, mountain bike parks or fun bike events for the whole family, there's no shortage of great cycling experiences in Oregon. But that doesn't mean there can't be more of a good thing. Economic development agencies, destination management organizations and cities across Oregon are investing in cycling because bikes mean business – especially for downtowns! Join this panel to hear from local, county and state organizations on what creative cycling product they're cooking up and how bikes are boosting their main streets.
Moderator: Nastassja Olson, Destination Stewardship Manager, Travel Oregon
Panelists: Shawn Irvine, Economic Development Director, City of Independence; Jeff Knapp, President/CEO, Visit McMinnville; Ramon Martinez, Coordinator, Bike Indy Oregon
Main Idea Session | Leadership & the Art & Practice of Developing People | 11 to Noon
Right at the heart of what it means to be a leader is to develop people. Developing people is every leader's greatest privilege, most profound joy, and most sober responsibility. But with all the stresses of leadership, amidst all the interruptions, duties, and the cacophony of demands in leadership, how does a leader find the time and space to develop people? How does a leader get things done while developing people? This is not easy. It doesn't just happen. Developing people often gets buried by the urgent and relegated to the optional. This plenary will show you how to re-center developing people as a core focus in your leadership.
Speaker: Steve Patty, Ph.D.
Deep Dives | 1:45 - 3:15
Getting to What Matters: How to Evaluate and Communicate Your Impact
All of us who work with people need a way both to prove and to improve our impact. We need data to demonstrate what we are doing is making a difference. We also need data to show us how to get better at making a difference. Too often we use anecdotes or satisfaction rates or superficial metrics that miss the deeper, more durable, more meaningful aspects of human and societal progress and development. We need better ways to evaluate what really matters. And we need better ways to communicate the difference we are making to others. This presentation will show us how. Based on the work of over a decade of capacity-building with more than 500 agencies throughout North America, Steve Patty Ph.D. will bring to us innovative thinking and proven techniques to help us prove and improve our impact.
Speaker: Steve Patty, Ph.D.
The Future Is Now: Main Street Development Strategies
Many Main Street programs struggle to fill vacant commercial spaces with quality businesses that enhance the region. To generate growth in your district, learn how leading Main Street programs utilize advanced tools like incubation spaces, fabrication labs, entrepreneurial training classes, adult pitch funding activities, investment groups, and alternative finance enhancements. This session will also discuss the development, funding, and outcomes of newer downtown growth strategies.
Moderator: Erik Andersson, SEDCOR
Panelists: Kate Schwarzler, Indy Commons; Dwight Unti, Tokola Properties; and Charles Weathers, W3RE, LLC;
Embracing Difference as a Gift
In the summer of 2021, Newberg, Oregon made national news when the community clashed over the local school board`s decision to ban all BLM (Black Lives Matter) and Pride Flags from its buildings. Whipped up by the national political climate and inflamed by local social media trolling, the noise and fear threatened to sever local business network connections and split civic organizations. But some people, drawn from different political and social connections, took a different approach. They created United as Neighbors. Over these last two years, the group has created a civility pledge and an ongoing, monthly community conversations group in addition to many other activities to build community. In this session you will learn about the history of United as Neighbors and the activities they currently host as well as a chance to practice civil conversations, talking about difficult issues facing your communities with people who have different opinions than yourself. You will also be prompted to think about the resources in your own community for diminishing the fear of difference and amplifying curiosity, considering how your own organization can be a catalyst for turning difference into a gift.
Speakers: Ron Mock is Professor of Emeritus of Politics and Peace Studies, and Director of the Civility Project, George Fox University; and Polly Peterson, former Executive Director of the Newberg.
Walking Tours | 3:45 - 5:15
Riverfront Revitalization Tour: Can recreation create economic opportunity? In Independence it has! Take a walk along the Willamette River and see how Independence has leveraged recreational amenities to bring people downtown, creating vibrancy and a customer base for local businesses. We'll talk about the Riverview Park Amphitheater, new City Hall and Event Center, the riverfront trail system, the Independence Landing development, and more!
Downtown Building Rehabilitation Tour: Independence has been fortunate to receive 3 OMS grants to renovate downtown buildings. One project is complete, one in progress, and one just getting started. We'll tour each building and discuss the project with the owners. Along the way, you'll get a look at other buildings that have been improved using a City facade improvement grant program!
MI Trolley & Monmouth Tour: Did you know Independence and Monmouth have a trolley connecting their downtowns? Hop on our new historic-style rubber wheel trolley to learn how this exciting transit project happened. At the end of the line you'll take a short walking tour of downtown Monmouth and hear about the work their doing - including an OMS grant-funded building rehabilitation!
Mini Ghost Walk: Experience an Independence tradition and get a preview of the full event that will be happening Friday and Saturday after the OMS conference! You'll stroll through downtown Independence with your Ghost Host, learning about the historic - and haunted - stories associated with the buildings. You'll even get to go into the Masonic Lodge, which is not normally open to the public. Along the way, you'll hear how this 20+ year old event came to be and learn how it evolved a companion event (history and mystery) in Monmouth!
Urban Renewal Tour: Many of the projects that helped revitalize downtown Independence were supported by funding from the City's Urban Renewal District. On this tour, you'll visit many of the projects, including the movie theater, City Hall, Independence Landing, downtown streetscape, and more, learning how the district made them possible, and how they worked individually and collectively to revitalize downtown Independence.
Social Mixer | 5:15 - 6:15
Join fellow conference goers for an evening social event to connect and find out what's going on around the state.
Friday, October 6
Crash Courses | 8:30 to 9:15
Is Your Main Street Ready for Electric Vehicle Charging?
As sales of electric vehicles (EV) continue to rise and auto manufacturers add dozens of new models, is your Main Street EV friendly? EV owners seek out communities with available charging stations and use a variety of mobile apps to find them. If you don't think this is a big deal–think again! This session explores how communities in Oregon are working on charging their main streets, lessons learned, and available incentives from PGE and Pacific Power to help you take action and plan ahead for this accelerating trend.
Moderator: Kate Hawley, Pacific Power
Panelists: Alison Robertson, Lincoln City; Eva DeCesaro; and Alison Dunlap, Pacific Power
Dark Sky Preservation on Your Main Street
The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light — known as light pollution — can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Unlike other forms of pollution, light pollution is a problem with solutions that are easy to implement with immediate and lasting results. In this session, learn about how this impacts downtowns and some of the principles for responsible outdoor lighting that can be encouraged in your community.
Presenter: Dr. Bill Kowalik, Chair, DarkSky Oregon
The Heart of the Community: Partnering with Libraries to Revitalize Downtown Spaces
When you want to know more about what's going on in any given community, a good place to start is the local library. While known for their books and resources, libraries are also increasingly involved in the health and well-being of their local communities. Staff from the State Library of Oregon will talk about the expanding role of libraries as community centers and suggest ways to successfully partner with them to create programs, win grants, and bring about positive impact.
Presenters: Arlene Weible and Tamara Ottum, State Library of Oregon
Crash Courses | 9:30 - 10:15
Parking Management Strategies to Increase Downtown Vitality
Cities are covered in parking spaces -- imposing significant costs to business, the public, and the environment. Managing parking smartly can boost economic performance, cut housing costs, and improve traffic flow. This session looks at how downtowns are managing existing parking while building walkable, beautiful places. Discover why parking management is directly linked to the success of your downtown. Learn how to review existing parking challenges, and how maximize the value of your parking, including on-street and off-street.
Speaker: Laura Buhl AICP, Department of Land Conservation and Development; Evan Manvel, Department of Land Conservation and Development
Livable Community Resources
AARP's series of toolkits on everything from housing and transportation to community engagement are resources that can help cities and towns of any size. Attendees at this session will see examples of the resources in action, gain tips on how to apply for Community Challenge Grants, and get answers to questions about what it means to join the Network of Age-Friendly Communities. A list of resources and copies of materials will be made available to session participants.
Speaker: Carmel Snyder, AARP
No Silver Bullet – The Many Elements Necessary for a Vital Downtown
Over the last two decades Sherwood, Independence, and Hood River have seen a transformation of their downtowns. This session will explore some of the common elements including ongoing, focused effort, the wise use of available space, and the importance of great design.
Speakers: Fred Evander, City Planner, City of Independence; Erika Palmer, Planning Manager, City of Sherwood; Dustin Nilsen, Planning Director, City of Hood River
Closing Plenary | Open Door Panel & Pitch Contest | 10:45 - 12:15
Our Oregon Main Street Network organizations work to create inclusive and welcoming downtowns that make all feel that they belong. We will conclude the 2023 Main Street Conference with the Oregon Main Street “Open Door" Panel discussion facilitated Helena Kesch, OPRD's ADA Coordinator and Tribal Relations Coordinator. In this thought-provoking panel, hear different perspectives barriers you may have in your downtown and ideas to be more welcoming to all. This will be followed by the Open Door Pitch Contest. Come hear about projects or ideas that selected communities have on their work plans that meet their goals to make their organization or downtown more welcoming to all. You can help us select the organizations who will walk away with one of two available grants to make their dream idea a reality. We are grateful to our expert panelists for sharing their insights.
Co-Sponsored by AARP Oregon