Oregon Main Street Highlight – West Linn
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 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!