Skip to content

Oregon Main Street Highlight: Hillsboro

August 16, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Hillsboro are being carried out by the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Out with the Vacant, In with New Business!

Us Main Street folks too often hear complaints from community members about vacant businesses and lack of desired merchandise in our Downtown districts. Because of this, The Hillsboro Downtown Partnership (HDP) partnered with the City of Hillsboro to take action by filling vacancies in the Downtown business district and diversifying the business mix. The City conducted a Retail Market Analysis for the district, with the goal in mind to pass recommendations to HDP’s Business Development Committee to implement. And the process is already working.

Initial findings from the market analysis show gaps in supply and demand and help us understand perceptions from different sectors of the community. Among the findings, bakeries, clothing stores, breakfast and brunch restaurants, home furnishings and anything related to natural and healthy products made the top of the list of community desired businesses.

PropertySellSheets_July2017_Page_01.jpgActions the Business Development committee is undertaking fall under the umbrella of helping existing businesses succeed, focusing on the top 3 to 5 retail ready vacancies and filling them, and finally organizing and implementing a target business sales campaign. Specific projects include workshops for business and property owners, developing a restaurant “boot camp” and restaurant week promotion, creating Downtown marketing packages for potential investors, and filling vacancies through aggressive marketing to successful existing businesses looking to expand and open in new locations.

We are just in the beginning stages of implementation; yet, we are already seeing success. Sharing market analysis findings with property owners has helped them


Decadent Creations, a new bakery in Downtown Hillsboro.

identify better fit tenants to bring into their buildings. We have since had a new bakery called Decadent Creations, and a home furnishings store called The Sofa Studio open. Furthermore, D’Anu Wine Bar and a clothing shop, Nan’s Glad Rags, are opening in the month of August. The clothing shop is the first women’s clothing shop to open in Downtown in decades, and they were recruited by our own Business Development committee member, EJ Payne, who used market analysis findings to recruit the new business.

We are excited to see where this project leads us in the next year and beyond in our efforts to fill vacancies and diversify Downtown’s business mix.

Oregon Main Street Highlight: Port Orford

July 6, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Port Orford are being carried out by the Port Orford Main Street Revitalization Association and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Port Orford has one gallery for every 100 people. Capitalizing on art, our Main Street organization uses public art to help the revitalization effort of down town and brand Port Orford as a designated Art District. Movable murals help to solve problem buildings in distress until the problem is resolved. Other murals depict history or are just fun – giant flowers on fences, story book characters on murals at library and much more. Art walks improve pedestrian traffic and show off the galleries.

Public art in Port Orford expanded from murals and a mosaic to whimsical fire hydrants. Our most recent art addition turns rusting fire hydrants along Main Street into pieces of art. Residents and visitors can obtain a map at the visitor center and other places in order to find all of the art enhanced hydrants: Oregon Duck, Starry Night, Minion, Dotty, Quilt, Dalmatian, and many more. Artists did their thing to refurbish rusting hydrants to the delight of the fire department. School children submitted designs so that more will be done with their designs with hydrants close to Main Street. The fun hydrants add to the character of the community with its painters, poets, musicians, and many galleries.

Port Orford is now a designated Art District. Both the Main Street organization and the Art Council promote art with Art Walks, First Fridays and special exhibits.Be sure to stop by next time you are driving up or down the Coast and see what art treasures await in Port Orford!

Oregon Main Street Highlight: Canby

June 14, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Canby are being carried out by the City of Canby and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Canby Main Street – a program of the City of Canby – serves as the liaison to the city’s Historic Review Board. As the staff liaison, the Main Street program leverages its funding to complete programs and projects that are unique to Canby’s history.

On May 5, 2017, the City of Canby’s Historic Review Board hosted “Re-discovering Canby’s Roots: Baker Prairie Cemetery”. The re-dedication event celebrated the completion of Phase One of the repair and cleaning of Baker Prairie Cemetery, and to kick-off Phase Two. It was held in conjunction with Canby Main Street’s May First Friday event.

BPC Program_Page_1In April 2016 the City of Canby’s Historic Review Board applied for and received a $6,200 grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries (OCHC) to pay for Phase One of the Baker Prairie Cemetery Rehabilitation Project. The catalyst for the project was a phone call from Jeanine Kersey, the great-great granddaughter of Philander Lee, who is buried in Baker Prairie Cemetery. In addition to regularly visiting her ancestors, she has participated in efforts to maintain the grounds and the markers since 1949.

In October that work was completed. Twenty-six broken or tilted markers were repaired and/or reset. Another 30 markers were cleaned using products and tools that remove moss and dirt but do not harm the stones or the environment. Volunteers from local non-profits, engaged citizens, descendants of those buried at Baker Prairie Cemetery, and Historic Review Board members came together to learn the proper techniques for cleaning the headstones.

Baker Prairie Cemetery has been featured as one of ten sites listed in the City of Canby’s first heritage trail, “Exploring Community Connections: The Downtown Canby Heritage Trail,” a self-guided walking tour. Baker Prairie Cemetery was established in 1863 after J. Wesley Joslyn sold one-acre of his 1852 Donation Land Claim to the community for $1.00. Out of 131 gravesites, 86 individuals died before 1900. Members of many of the first families who settled in and around Canby are buried in Baker Prairie including Lees, Knights, Macks, Waits, Parrotts, Mays, and Joslyns.

The Historic Review Board invited descendants of those buried at Baker Prairie. Per Jamie Stickel, the Canby Main Street Manager and staff liaison to the Historic Review Board, “as Canby continues to grow, it’s important for us to look back and honor Canby’s unique history and the people who created this town. I look forward to continuing the work we have started.”

PSU’s Archaeology Roadshow Hits the Road!

May 25, 2017

ARS 17 Simpler Revised photo header 2

A challenge exists in the field of archaeology with finding effective ways to connect the public with archaeology and heritage. This is the central goal of Portland State University’s Public Archaeology class. In 2012 students in this class researched ways to engage the public and decided to host an event with artifact identification, demonstrations, and hands-on activities created by students and community partners from the Portland area. Thus, the Archaeology Roadshow was born!

Since 2012 the event has increased in size and has attracted more partner organizations to help connect the public to Oregon’s heritage through archaeology. The show expands even more this year by adding an additional show in Harney County (Burns/Hines). Funding was received from the Oregon Heritage Commission with the goals of developing a prototype “satellite” Roadshow in a different region of the state in addition to the usual Portland Roadshow. The idea is to celebrate and showcase the archaeology and heritage of more than one community. Hopefully this can be replicated in other communities in the future.

So what will folks see at this year’s Archaeology Roadshows?

  • roadshow2Hands-on archaeology for kids of all ages
  • Exhibits about local archaeology and history projects (including third graders from Portland’s SW Charter School whose exhibit was a smashing success last year!)
  • Tool-making demonstrations
  • A panel of experts to identify your personal artifacts
  • Samples of historic beer!

A main goal of the Archaeology Roadshow is to educate the public on the importance of stewardship and why archaeology and heritage matter. This event also gives archaeology students and professionals practice communicating to the public their research and why it matters and strengthening ties among professional and avocational archaeologists and other community partners.

We hope to see you June 3 in Portland or June 10 in Burns!roadshow3

June 3, 10am-3pm
Portland State University Hoffman Hall NEXT to the Farmers Market
1833 SW 11th Ave, Portland

June 10, 10am-3pm
Hines City Park
SW Cir Dr & W Barnes Ave, Burns

Check out the Roadshow’s of Facebook for photos, videos, and other Pacific NW archaeology related information.

Redmond’s Successful Rehabilitation of a Local Historic Landmark

May 22, 2017


By Scott Woodford

In February, the City of Redmond moved into its new (old) City Hall digs in the fabulously remodeled 1922 Redmond Union High School. From all initial reviews, it is a great place to work, a source of pride for the Redmond community and a model, adaptive reuse project, as the State recently recognized with a 2017 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award.

The new city hall is housed on the 1.24-acre school campus in downtown Redmond and consists of the 35,000-square foot, two-story, masonry school, built in the Renaissance Revival architectural style, and a separate 1944 gymnasium. The school is designated as a Local Historic Landmark and the gymnasium is National Register eligible.

After using it for over 80 years, the buildings were vacated by the school district in 2010 and the City purchased it a year later. In turn, the City marketed it to commercial developers to convert it into a revenue producing use through adaptive re-use. McMenamin’s was contacted to see about their interest. Others looked at it, but the cost that it would entail to bring it up to current building code (seismic and asbestos) were ultimately deterrents.

Around the same time, the City was outgrowing its existing City Hall and began investigating building a new facility. It soon dawned on officials, though, that it would cost about the same to build a new building as it would to remodel the old high school (around $12 million). So, in 2014, the Council gave its support to the remodel project, thus sparing it from neglect or, worse, demolition.

Preserving the historic integrity of the building, while remodeling it into a modern and technologically innovative public facility was the primary goal. One of the most important early decisions was to hire firms very experienced in remodeling historic properties – FFA Architecture and Interiors and Skanska Construction. The final product is a beautifully preserved and rehabilitated exterior.

The completely remodeled interior preserves many of the school’s unique features, such as the windows, interior doors, chalkboards, stair railing, and exposed brick. Large collages of old yearbook photos grace the large hallways outside of the Council Chambers and each office space is recognized with a plaque and pictures denoting which classroom originally occupied the space.

This will be a building that will continue to serve the community for another 100 years.

Heritage Tourism Success One Year Later

May 19, 2017

By Sarah LeCompte

Heritage tourism workshops held in eastern Oregon in spring of 2016 paved the way for a stellar year of visitation, with many heritage and cultural sites reporting visitation increases up to 15-20%.

Some of our staff at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center joined a work shop in John Day. If nothing else had happened, meeting staff and volunteers from other sites started a networking and awareness effort that is key to success in developing regional heritage tourism. What is going on, what does each site have to offer, and who to contact for more information provides the nuts and bolts that help answer visitors questions and interest them in staying in the region and visiting other sites. Participants worked together on developing itineraries, and figuring out travel times, visit times, visitor interests and budgets to attract visitors to try something new and different. Looking for opportunities to collaborate and cross market to build new audiences, they learned about the need to start connecting heritage attractions with other activities that might not seem compatible at first glance. Museum and brew pub? Historic sites and street fairs and bicycle rentals? Art gallery to museum to fishing spot?   It’s easy to get focused on promoting our own area of interest, and forgetting that most humans generally have more than one favorite past-time, and want a travel and vacation experience to match their unique set of interests. Workshop participants learned to think beyond traditional marketing profiles of “heritage” tourists, and realize that anyone of any age, economic bracket, and cultural background is probably a heritage tourist in waiting. Experience is a common word in tourism today. And authenticity. Both concepts that fit well with heritage attractions, and workshop participants considered the idea of marketing an experience rather than a tangible “thing”. And, perhaps particular to the slower pace and friendly attitude of eastern Oregon, that a personal first-person approach can have a huge impact. Word of mouth from an authentic “local” expert is almost always the most effective way to help a tourist feel comfortable finding that great cultural treasure down the street or in the next town down the road.

Our staff came back inspired with new ideas, and lots of information to share with visitors over the information desk throughout the summer. If a Heritage Tourism Workshop comes to your area this spring, it is time well spent to meet your tourism neighbors and start knitting together the great experiences for heritage tourists coming your way.

Spring 2017 Heritage Tourism Workshops
Succeeding with Heritage Tourism: Market Information, resources, and Ideas for Attracting More Visitors through Creative Collaboration

Ontario – June 7, 8:30-12:30, Four Rivers Cultural Center
Roseburg – June 15, 8:30-12:30, Jasmine’s Events Center
Preliminary Agenda


Oregon Main Street Highlight – Astoria

May 11, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in Astoria are being carried out by Astoria Downtown Historic District Association and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

Collaboration and Craft Brewing Enliven a Once Abandoned Streetscape

Astoria has been rebuilding since the great fire of 1922. In our lifetimes, the transformation began in the late 90’s and took off in earnest about 2010.

Commercial Street and Marine Drive, long the major thoroughfares, are bustling centers of activities in good weather. Now, the work on the Duane Street corridor is being undertaken by enterprising individuals and non-profits alike.

The catalyst for the redevelopment of Duane Street is Astoria Station, the dream of the late Warren Williams Warren, owner of the Astoria Station building sitting at the unconventional intersection of 13th Street, between Duane and Exchange. It should be noted that 13th Street doesn’t exist on our main streets, but appears off the thoroughfare, due to a dispute amongst our earliest city planners.

Originally an auto-repair shop and later an illegal marijuana operation, a new vision was needed for this site and Warren knew just the thing for Astoria’s new economy. Mr. Williams dreamt of a multi-use space promoting craft brewing, local food, and areas for Astorians to come together to enjoy it all.

Now, after years of planning, Astoria Station is the proud home of Reach Break Brewing, Sasquatch Sausage, and The Hot Box BBQ. A micro-cidery, additional food cart, and barbershop are also in the works. Today, wine barrels for drinks and custom picnic tables for food and gathering are loosely pulled together with nautical ropes. On sunny days the garage doors at Reach Break roll up and folks spill into the light, meeting friends and neighbors. On a recent Saturday I spied a historic home rehab specialist, a local café owner, our community college president, and several Thai exchange students all gathered together enjoying artisan sausage, craft brewed beer, and our notoriously fickle sun on a Saturday afternoon.

Come see what’s new in Astoria!

Astoria recently received two grants for Main Street improvement projects. To learn more about the Main Street Revitalization Grant and those that received awards, visit here.

An Example of Usefulness of Digital Condition Reports

May 8, 2017

By Heidi Dawn, 2016 recipient of the Elisabeth Walton Potter Oregon Heritage Preservation Training Scholarship to participate in a summer internship in the Conservation Department at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Condition reports usually consist of text documents describing the general condition of an item held in a collection, and contain a diagram, drawing, or photograph of the piece with marks that highlight any damage or wear. They are essential for pieces that are part of a traveling exhibit, and they become part of the record and history of a piece. Using digital condition reports is an easy way to improve the accuracy and visual quality of condition reports. As software becomes more intuitive and accessible, creating and updating digital condition reports becomes the best choice for record keeping. Digital records can also be shared with many people simultaneously, directors, curators, registrars, and conservators at the same time without loss of image quality.

The Conservation Department at the Fowler Museum at UCLA has developed a simple and effective work flow for newly accessioned pieces that includes digital condition reports efficiently created from templates. The templates were created in Word and Photoshop. After templates are made, the process is simple. Images are set into the template and then brightly colored lines can be digitally drawn onto the image to note damage, imperfections, or wear. These lines can easily be hidden within the application to see the unmarked image of the object, in excellent quality, for close digital inspection. The accompanying image shows a digital condition report with imperfections noted.

Heidi Dawn internship

Yao basket, held in the Fowler collections.

The Fowler’s Conservation Department work flow is a checklist dictating a smooth process from creating a digital folder, moving to photographing the object, then completing the text condition report, and finally popping photographs of the object into the image templates. If no conservation treatments are needed, the digital record is complete.

This smooth process was shown to me during an internship in the Conservation Department at the Fowler Museum under conservator Christian de Brer. I entered the internship with a goal of learning efficient documentation of ethnographic objects. I am grateful for the excellent training by Mr. de Brer, in condition reporting and photographing ethnographic objects. My internship was supported by a generous Elisabeth Walton Potter Oregon Heritage Preservation Scholarship. The ability to travel to experts in the field of conservation for training in skills that I will implement in my work with Oregon’s cultural heritage is invaluable to me as a student of conservation.

The deadline for the next round of the EWP Oregon Heritage Preservation Training Scholarship is June 2, 2017. Be sure to submit an application if you would like to attend a workshop, training, or conference that would help you better preserve your community’s heritage.

Summit on Funding Call to Action

May 1, 2017

The first-ever Oregon Heritage Summit brought together over one hundred people representing museums, Main Street organizations, preservation groups, and a variety of other areas to discuss funding solutions for heritage work.

Pages from Funding ReportThe event kicked off with a presentation of the National Survey of Heritage Funding and Incentive Programs: Opportunities for Oregon. This study, commissioned by the Oregon Heritage Commission, was designed to explore methods of funding and encourage heritage organizations to work together for shared funding. One highlight from the study was the Oregon Cultural Trust, a unique model in the country and something already in place to fund heritage, humanities, and the arts. Presentations about tourism tax, levy, tax credit funding, along with the Oregon Cultural Trust provided a deeper look at these funding mechanisms.

Discussion following the presentations was designed to encourage people to step back from the focus on their organization and explore solutions to funding all heritage work on a regional or statewide basis. Participants selected the most likely methods of funding to work toward to establish stronger funding for heritage projects. The top two methods that were discussed were the Oregon Cultural Trust and heritage districts.

Next steps to enhance heritage funding with the Oregon Cultural Trust.

  • Increase funding to the Oregon Cultural Trust. Nearly half of the cultural nonprofits registered with the Trust are heritage related. If each of those over 700 nonprofits got 10 of their $100 donors to match that donation to the Trust (and get that back as a tax credit), it would match the amount available for the County and Tribal Coalition Grants last year! That is double the potential funding for heritage work at the local level.
  • Apply for grants. Only about 20% of statewide and coalition grants were awarded to heritage projects. The coalition grants are a great way to start grant funding for organizations that have never tried.
  • Support the continuation of the Oregon Cultural Trust. The tax credit program will be up for renewal with the legislature in 2019. Be sure to let your members, the community and elected officials when you are supported by the Trust.
  • Get involved. Attend an Oregon Cultural Trust board meeting and ask to be on the agenda to share your work. Serve on the County and Tribal Coalition boards. Help local people doing heritage work access these local funds.

Next steps to explore heritage districts.

  • Connect with other heritage organizations in your area. Start building relationships with those organizations that could benefit from a district. Strong, trusting relationships are a must!
  • Start building public will. Work must start now to help the public appreciate the value of heritage and what the organizations offer.
  • Communicate with elected officials. A heritage district needs the support of elected officials at the local, county and state levels. Always invite them to events and include them on your newsletter lists.

Other topics discussed included tourism tax and marijuana tax funds among others. Two crucial points arose from the discussion of the day.

  • Partnerships are vital to the success of heritage organizations. We should be collaborating with each other and other community organizations for the benefit of our communities and organizations.
  • Communication should be a priority. In order for people to understand the value of your work, they need to know about it. Be creative and broad in your communication.

Quick, run to your social media tool, email list, or newsletter and share a recent success with your followers!

This valuable discussion will continue with the Oregon Heritage Commission and through the 2018 Oregon Heritage Conference. We hope you will carry on the conversation and take action in your area too!

Oregon Main Street Highlight – West Linn

April 14, 2017

This post is part of a series celebrating Oregon Main Street’s ten years of downtown revitalization. Throughout the year we will be highlighting some of our Main Street network communities and the great work they are doing. You can learn more about Oregon Main Street here. Main Street efforts in West Linn are being carried out by Historic Willamette and here is a snapshot into the work they are doing.

historic willametteHistoric Willamette Main Street’s mission is to celebrate and preserve the rich history and natural beauty of the area, invest in the heart of our downtown, and create a community where local residents and visitors can dine, shop, and connect with others. Our most recent rebranding efforts really get to the heart of West Linn’s Main Street: “Where Rivers and People Meet”.

A project that our Design Committee has been hard at work on is the Master Plan for our streetscape along Willamette falls Drive. We have strong partnerships with City Staff, the local neighborhood association, Council, and Mt. Hood Territories as we work together towards an overall plan developing the waterfront from the Arch Bridge to our Historic District. We are not only preparing for the future growth of the area, but addressing our current needs; from additional parking, cycle tracks, increased seating, and much needed ADA compliance.

We have also been strategizing on ways to fill empty storefronts and have found success with the pop-up store strategy. We had one of our last, long-standing retail shops close its doors and it left our Main Street with quite a large vacancy that was in need of some maintenance. The holiday season was upon us and we kept asking ourselves “How do we keep these folks in our neighborhood and support local shops and restaurants with very little in the way of holiday gift shopping options?” We had discussed the idea of pop-ups previously, and realized this was a great opportunity. With the partnership of the property owner, we reached out to our farmer’s market vendors and nearby vintage shop to fill the space for an entire weekend, relying heavily of foot traffic from an annual holiday parade, social media, and posters throughout the town. One of our vendors did so well she considered quitting her day job! Within a week we had a call from someone who had been through the pop-up looking for space in the Portland area. She, in turn, did her own pop-up for a month to see if she could manage both her Washington and Oregon shops. Meanwhile, more interested shop keepers visited this latest pop-up venture and were ready to make the commitment. They are currently negotiating with the landlord for improvements. Success!  And the gal who hosted her own pop-up venture? She is looking in the area as she stocks up for her future location with us.

2017 has been an amazing year for Historic Willamette Main Street in West Linn and we are proud to say, with the continued support of our volunteers and community, it is really happening in Historic Willamette. Come visit us on Wednesdays starting May 31st for Wednesday’s in Willamette Summer Market!