Beaverton, Pendleton downtowns show strength with new Main Street designations
By Sheri Stuart
Oregon Main Street just 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® as a model for their downtown revitalization effort. The Main Street Approach® is a comprehensive 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.
Both communities are a perfect fit for the Oregon Main Street Network. The Beaverton Downtown Association has worked hard over the last five years to take an aging downtown and transform it into a jewel of Beaverton. Old Town Beaverton now has new unique restaurants, an art gallery featuring local artists, and multiple vintage shops which help to attract people to the downtown core.
According to Paul Cohen, chair of the BDA, “None of this would have been possible without the support of the City of Beaverton, the Oregon Main Street Program, and our hard working volunteers.”
While newer to using the Main Street program, downtown Pendleton has an amazing collection of historic buildings mostly built between 1880 and 1920, a solid mix of downtown business, and is home to the city’s civic functions. Significant public and private sector investment has already been made to improve the look, feel, and function of the district. Participating in the program will help the Pendleton Downtown Association leverage its tremendous assets to strengthen the local economy while preserving their identity.
“The PDA Board and its members are excited about the opportunity to partner with the Oregon Main Street Program and their staff,” said Fred Bradbury, PDA board president. “This nationally recognized program will provide tremendous support for the Pendleton Downtown District 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 across the state. 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.
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 selection process included submitting an application that describes their community, downtown area, historical identity, goals, readiness, support, and funding commitments.
Sheri Stuart is the manager of the Oregon Main Street Program, which is part of the Oregon Heritage division of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.