What’s Up with Downtown
By Lloyd Purdy
Last Friday, October 12th, Oregon City’s 166-year-old downtown marketplace began a three-day celebration commemorating the restoration and reopening of the historic Oregon City Arch Bridge (a National Register-listed structure designed by Oregon Department of Transportation Engineer Conde McCulloch). Downtown visitors who hadn’t ventured across the Willamette River in 22 months saw a downtown marketplace that was markedly different from the one they remember.
Through the leadership of Main Street Oregon City Inc. (following the National Trust 4-Point model for community revitalization) one of Oregon’s oldest downtown’s has seen:
Forty-five new business open in the downtown marketplace. (Two new business have openeddowntown for every business that has completed its lifecycle – yes there is a lifecycle to every business.)
- The addition of more than $80,000 in public art and three new cultural events downtown. Downtown Oregon City’s Streetscape is activated by people as well as compelling and interesting artwork.
The implementation of a recruitment campaign focused on entrepreneurs and creative professionals. Visit www.bluecollarcreative.orgto get a feel forthe energy and excitement building up in Downtown Oregon City.
- The scoping, design, funding and completion of a $2.5 million streetscape enhancement project. This included a return to a two-way retail friendly streetscape as well as pedestrian enhancements that give pedestrians priority in downtown Oregon City.
On average $1million annually in private property investment and adaptive reuse.That is transforming and saving our buildings, structures and historic spaces.
- A $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to artistically light theMunicipal Elevator in Downtown Oregon City. Oregon City shares Willamette Falls with the rest of the country and the Arch Bridge with our sister City West Linn. But Oregon City’s Municipal Elevator is a local icon. This quarter-million dollar project will focus attention on this structure and the identity of this community.
In 2012 the non-profit Main Street Oregon City Inc. and its partner organizations received four “Excellence in Downtown Revitalization” awards from Oregon Main Street. Awards included: Best Partnership, Best Public Infrastructure Project, Best Business Success Story and Downtown Manager of the Year.
So if you haven’t been to downtown Oregon City lately, make plans to visit us soon!
Lloyd Purdy is the Executive Director of Main Street Oregon City Inc.