Oregon Main Street Program
The Main Street Approach is a proven comprehensive approach to historic commercial district revitalization. This approach has been implemented in over 2,200 cities and towns in 40 states across the nation with the help of the National Main Street Center and statewide downtown revitalization programs. The success of the Main Street Approach® is based on its comprehensive nature. By fully integrating four points into a practical downtown management strategy, a local program will produce fundamental changes in a community’s economic base.
Organization: Involves building a Main Street® framework that is well represented by business and property owners, bankers, citizens, public officials, chambers of commerce, and other local economic development organizations. Everyone must work together to renew downtown. A strong organization provides the stability to build and sustain a long-term effort.
Promotion: Creates excitement downtown. Street festivals, parades, retail events, and image development campaigns are some of the ways Main Street® encourages customer traffic. Promotion involves marketing and enticing image to shoppers, investors, and visitors.
Design: Enhances the attractiveness of the business district. Historic building rehabilitation, street and alley clean-up, colorful banners, landscaping, and lighting all improve the physical image of the downtown as a quality place to shop, work, walk, invest in, and live. Design improvements result in a reinvestment of public and private dollars to downtown.
Economic Restructuring: involves analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. Recruiting new businesses, creatively converting unused space for new uses, and sharpening the competitiveness of Main Street’s traditional merchants are examples of economic restructuring activities.
Principles of Main Street
The National Trust Main Street Center’s experience in helping communities bring their commercial corridors back to life has shown time and time again that the Main Street Four-Point Approach succeeds. That success is guided by the following eight principles which set the Main Street methodology apart from other redevelopment strategies:
Comprehensive: A single project cannot revitalize a downtown. An ongoing series of initiatives is vital to build community support and create lasting progress.
- Incremental: Small projects make a big difference. They demonstrate that “things are happening” on Main Street and hone the skills and confidence the program will need to tackle more complex problems.
- Self-help: Although Oregon Main Street can provide valuable direction and technical assistance, only local leadership can initiate long-term success through community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.
- Public/private partnership: Successful downtown revitalization organizations must have the support and expertise of both the public and private sectors.
- Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets: local assets provide the solid foundation for a successful, unique downtown revitalization initiative.
- Quality: From storefront design and promotion campaigns to special events, quality must be the main goal.
- Change: Changing community attitudes and habits is essential. A carefully planned downtown program will help shift public perceptions and practices to support and sustain the revitalization process.
- Action-oriented: Successful downtown revitalization programs are pro-active. They plan for the future.