Oregon Main Street announced its 2019 “Excellence in Downtown Revitalization” award winners Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the awards event in Tillamook. A total of twenty businesses, projects, and people were recognized. Three of those recognized were from Astoria and Warrenton. This awards event kicked off the Oregon Main Street Conference that took place in Tillamook Oct. 2-4.
Astoria Downtown Historic District Association’s Executive Director, Sarah Lu Heath, won the award for Main Street Manager of the Year. In the three years Sarah Lu has served as executive director of the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association, she has had a palpable impact on ADHDA and downtown Astoria. Her achievements include Bringing a developer in to rehab a derelict and long abandoned hotel into much needed workforce housing, tackling parking management, partnering with property owners to make much needed building improvements and helping them find funding, creation of the Love Your Streets clean-up program, and spearheading the 13th Street Alley clean-up and mural project.
Astoria’s M&N Building won the award for Best Historic Preservation Project. Marcus and Michelle Liotta purchased the M&N building in 2016 after the building sat vacant for over 20 years. Setting stabilized the building over 20 galvanized steel anchors, some requiring depths of over 60 feet. The original brick veneer was removed and restored and when reapplied camouflaged a lot of the settling but some remain as a reminder of the history this building has endured. This project is an example of thoughtful preservation and problem-solving engineering and has given this building new life.
Downtown Warrenton Revitalization was recognized as the Won to Watch. Since embarking on their downtown revitalization efforts in 2018 they have cleaned up ten downtown properties, cleaned up weeds and added planters and flowers downtown, increased participation in 4th of July activities, created a successful Thursday Farmers Market, created a new dog park, and have conducted outreach to property owners resulting in three new businesses and increased foot traffic.
Nine other towns in Oregon were honored with awards.
“The award winners serve as inspiration to communities across our Network and reflect some of the highest level of revitalization success,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator, Oregon Main Street, in a press release. “We are so inspired to see how our historic downtowns across Oregon are coming to life through the creativity, passion, and plain hard work of community members.”
The wide range of awards is reflective of the comprehensive Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization developed by the National Main Street Center. The communities participating in the three-tier Main Street Track of Oregon Main Street Network use this model. From 2010 to 2018, communities participating in the Performing Main Street and Transforming Downtown levels – the top two tiers – have seen $97,901,913 in private building improvement projects, $104,225,575 in public projects, 1,106 private rehab projects, 650 net new businesses, and 3,226 net new jobs.